By Christopher Lochhead
Hustle, hustle, hustle.
This is arguably the top piece of success advice you hear today.
Entrepreneurial porn stars like Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez and Gary Vaynerchuk, love to pontificate at the church of hustle.
Vaynerchuk says hustle is “the most important word ever”.
Cardone sells a “hustle muscle” lime green wrist band on his website.
I wish I was making this up!
And Tai Lopez says, “hustle until the haters ask if you are hiring”.
I call bullshit. Here are 7 reasons why:
1) Hustle is a “no shit Sherlock”.
Success requires working hard.
Telling people they are going to have to work hard to be a success is like telling people who want to lose weight, they are going to have to eat less.
You know it. I know it.
We all read Malcolm Gladwell when he told us it takes 10,000 hours to master something.
Everyone already knows it.
Success takes hard work.
Sure there are trustafarians whose parents give them a ton of money and therefore they don’t have to work hard.
And some people win the lottery.
But, the vast majority of people who achieve any kind of success had to earn it.
2) Hamsters hustle
People confuse activity and results.
And they never get anywhere.
The seminal question is, does the work I do produce meaningful results that create value or am I spinning my wheel?
3) Work smart, not hard
My friend, Pat Hiban, host of The Real Estate Rockstars podcast makes the distinction between “horizontal” and “vertical” income.
This is something most of us didn’t learn in school.
Vertical income is money you have to do something for.
Sell car, make commission.
Punch clock, collect paycheck.
The vast majority of us get trained in this. We trade labor for pay.
The hustle pushers think the pathway to success is more work.
Horizontal income is money you make from investments.
You make one smart investment, and it pays you over and over again. I like to say it’s horizontal because you can get paid lying down!
On my podcast, Pat makes the argument that true financial freedom comes when you can pay your living expenses with horizontal income [SM1].
Thus, you don’t have to do any labor to pay for your lifestyle.
The hustle pushers often forget to mention that smart investments can get you out of the “hard work” rat race.
4) Don’t Hustle, Niche Down
In the movie “There’s Something About Mary”, there is a scene where the Ben Stiller character picks up a crazed hitchhiker — played by the legendary comedian Harland Williams.
As the vignette plays out, Williams’ a would-be entrepreneur who enthusiastically pitches his captive audience the can’t-miss business idea: a “7-Minute Abs” video that he is convinced will outsell the popular “8-Minute Abs” workout.
A no-brainer, right? Right?
A skeptical Stiller responds with: “That’s good — unless, of course, somebody comes up with ‘6-Minute Abs.’
Then you’re in trouble, huh?”
At which point, the hitchhiker and would-be entrepreneur starts convulsing in the passenger seat.
Most people and most businesses have a 7-Minute Abs strategy. They think they can win by playing a comparison game.
And the hustle hucksters tell you, you just need to compete harder. Win at all costs. Do what your competition won’t to win the business/deal/job.
The most successful people differentiate themselves.
They proactively position themselves in a niche they can dominate.
They don’t compete in any traditional sense. They work smart to become known for a niche they can own.
5) There is a “burnout crisis”
According to Gallup, 44 percent of people reported feeling burned out sometimes and 23 percent reported feeling burned out very often or always.
And employee burnout costs US corporations up to $190 Billion in healthcare spending, according to the Harvard Business Review.
6) The entrepreneur mental health crisis [SM2]
It turns out that entrepreneurs are:
- 2X more likely to suffer from depression
- 6X more likely to have ADHD
- 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
- 10X more likely to experience bipolar disorder
- 2X more likely to have a psychiatric hospitalization
- 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts
Given this reality, telling entrepreneurial people to “hustle” more seems downright reckless.
7) Workaholics are not heroes
More than half of American office workers (58 percent) say they check their work email while still in bed after waking up and 48 percent consider themselves workaholics.
When did this become a badge of honor?
And making matters worse, Americans only use about half of their vacation time.
Only 23 percent of employees take off all of the time they’ve earned, and nearly 10 percent take no paid time off at all, according to Glassdoor.com.
We’ve become a live-to-work society.
We’ve gotten life backward.
How often do you hear, “I’ll relax when I retire”?
I have to admit. I used to fall into this trap all the time.
What did I learn?
When you’re working 60-80 hours a week and 51.5 weeks a year, you cannot be good at your job.
Because you’re fried.
And you’re probably not exercising enough.
And you’re probably not eating well.
And there is no way you can be caring for the people and relationships you value in your life.
It’s time to fuck hustle.
It’s time to start thinking about how to design a life that works.
A 360-degree life.
With the right cocktail mix of work, relationships, experiences, and wellbeing.
Christopher Lochhead is the host of the top 30 Business Podcast, Legends & Losers and coauthor with Heather Clancy of #1 Amazon Bestseller “Niche Down: How to become legendary by being different.”
Heather Clancy is an award-winning journalist, coauthor with Christopher Lochhead of “Niche Down: How to become legendary by being different.” She is also editorial director for GreenBiz.com.