Do you Hustle?

Maybe you remember the Rick Ross hit “Everyday I’m Hustlin’”? This catchy song should be your new mantra. Why? Because hustling will give you an edge and help you break away from the boring, mundane work life that’s dragging you down.

To hustle is to make the small tweaks that will propel you into a new and better life. In the book, Hustle, authors Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler share more about what we can do to think like a hustler and discover actionable tips on how to get where you want to be in life.

Are you one of those people who considers her job to be perfect and wouldn’t change a thing about it? Well, the majority of folks don’t fit that description. In fact, many people feel that their daily working life amounts to no less than a daunting, repetitive slog.

Just take a Gallup poll which found that around 90 percent of the world’s workers don’t feel emotionally connected to their jobs.

While the majority of people want to move away from this lifestyle, doing so is nearly impossible because of the way society is structured. After all, people end up in these jobs by following a very specific and common path. They go to college, maybe even graduate school, because they are told that’s the only way to land the kind of career they are expected to want.

But education is expensive. Outstanding student loans in America rose to a staggering $516 billion in 2007. By 2015, that number had climbed to $1.2 trillion!

This travesty means that the average college graduate owes over $30,000 in student loans. For graduate students, that number easily climbs to six figures. For most people, going to college means loading up on debt.

Simultaneously, salaries have dropped and technology, paired with globalization, has meant an overall decline within the number of jobs. And who knows when those who are lucky enough to possess jobs are hit by the following major crisis and put out of work?

In this frightening climate, people take jobs to pay off their debt and canopy their bills instead of fulfill their dreams. Just take a 2015 study, during which researchers asked 18- to 29-year-olds if they thought the American Dream was dead or alive. While 49 percent answered “alive,” 48 percent said “dead.”

But what other option is there aside from doing these unfulfilling jobs? By now it’s probably clear that plenty of people are unfulfilled in their work lives and don’t see any thanks to flee of the pattern they’re in. However, there’s an escape route: hustling. Hustling is an approach to life that’s designed to induce you money, meaning and momentum.

While some people might assume this means taking advantage of others, that’s absolutely not the case. Contrary to popular belief, hustling is not about stepping on the toes of other people, stealing, conning, or anything like that. It’s about forging ahead despite obstacles and difficulties. In other words, to hustle is to pursue your dreams.

But if you’re an artist, do you really even need money?

Well, historically, some artists haven’t. These creative practitioners claim to do their work solely for the sake of art, and, for a few, money is even repellent. Just take the copywriter and cartoonist, Hugh MacLeod. He says that artists inevitably compromise their art when they’re offered money for it.

That being said, you need money to sustain your hustle, and if you can’t sustain your hustle, you can’t make your art. After all, if you don’t have the money to pursue your dreams, you won’t find meaning in your work or build the momentum to sustain your passion.

The truth is, lots of artists were only able to pursue their work, and thereby create meaning and momentum, by turning a profit. Picasso is a great example. If it wasn’t for his financial success, he would have stopped making the paintings that both fulfilled him and captivated audiences for generations to come.

Picasso even said that an artist must succeed enough to sustain his art. Money, whether people like it or not, is key.

Do you own your dream?

It may seem like an odd question, but most people are merely renting theirs. In other words, they’re playing by the rules of the rigged system and closing their eyes to what truly brings them joy. Such an outlook means accepting the dreams doled out by the system and never having ownership over your own. It means doing the job you don’t like and telling yourself it’s a great opportunity.

So how are you going to achieve your dreams?

To reach your goals, you need to hustle, even if it means taking a gamble. Hustling is all about risk-taking; it’s about setting out on a journey that might afford you new opportunities, change and even the fulfillment of your dreams.

Just take the electrical engineer Ernesto and his wife, a nurse named Luci. In their native Cuba, businesses are burdened by an overbearing government bureaucracy that siphons away people’s hard-earned money. Ernesto often thought of starting a business but wanted to do it beyond the reach of the government, which would mean serious risks, even jail time, if he were caught.

While it was a tough decision, he finally decided to start off doing small projects for friends and acquaintances, which slowly grew into a bigger business.

By the end of his career he’d earned a handsome chunk of money and, while the hazards were real, it was all worth it in the end. His family had enough to take care of their basic needs and even afford a nice car.

Breaking out of the convenience of a sheltered life – even one that’s monotonous and unfulfilling – can be tough. But to snag your dream while you still can and make truly life-altering changes, you’ll need to push yourself into territory that’s somewhat painful and uncomfortable. However, you only need to takes small steps at a time.

What if you dream of being a star public speaker but you’re terrified of appearing in front of crowds. Instead of talking to a massive crowd straightaway, start giving short speeches every night at the dinner table. Doing so might be uncomfortable, but this discomfort is actually good.

It’s a small dose of discomfort that you can overcome, improving in the process. Then, when your dinnertime speeches are a piece of cake, make them longer, or speak to more people. Slowly but surely you can broaden your experience until you’re living your dream.

And remember, such momentum can bring luck. When you push through and persevere, luck becomes more likely. So, while you might feel like giving up, whether on a job, a book, or a personal project you’re invested in, persisting will pay off in the end.

When famous director Francis Ford Coppola was filming Apocalypse Now, practically everything went wrong. There was bad weather on the set, the schedule kept getting pushed back and the costs were getting out of hand. Not just that, but Coppola was in constant conflict with his actors, who were regularly drunk or stoned.

He wanted nothing more than to quit, but he didn’t. He persevered instead and, all of a sudden, luck started to come his way. The weather cleared up, the actors gave powerful performances and, by the end of it, they had produced a film that won multiple Academy Awards. That’s perseverance for you. 

Check out my related post: How to get started on your side hustle?

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