If I asked you to close your eyes and conjure up an image of the word “hustle,” what comes to mind? Maybe you see the grind: the long hours and sacrifices, the peaks and the valleys of building a business. At one point in time, hustle was used to describe attempts to make money by fraud or deception. So maybe you imagined the swindlers and finessers of the world. If you grew up during the 70s, you may have even pictured the Shiggy dance of the disco era.
What may have been hard to envision is hustle as a mindset. Hustle culture is a mindset that fuels individual and collective efforts for enterprise, social justice, and evolution. Hustle culture exists on a spectrum. For some the hustle can look like non-existent self care practices, sleep deprivation, forgone relationships, etc. This brand of hustling sometimes creeps up when you’ve forgotten how to move in love, of yourself and others.
Hustling is, after all, an act of love. It is a state of flow, that requires systems to keep it running and space to innovate. It calls on us to pour into ourselves so that we can pour into our passions and communities. At the other end of the hustle spectrum, there exists a brand of hustling that prioritizes efficiency and mindfulness of the present moment. The process of working to build a business or lead a movement requires that we move with clear minds, so we can respond appropriately to demands on our attention (and patience, let’s be real).
Sure, we can believe that hustle culture represents grind and total sacrifice. Or we can redefine it for ourselves. In navigating the challenges of pursuing a goal, we can choose to prioritize wellness in a way that will enable us to work multiple jobs, maintain relationships, build new ones, and feel good while doing it. You manifest and control the hustle.