The Dangers of Hustle Culture: Why I Don’t Subscribe

hustle and bustle of New York City

Photo Credit: Yuting Gao/Pexels

Ever left an Instagram scroll spurt feeling … inadequate? Like what you’re doing in life isn’t enough? This is one of the profound effects of social media. It has the power to not only impact your mood, but how you view and value yourself.

Today, I want to talk about a very specific aspect of social media that’s been trending for some time: hustle culture.

What Is Hustle Culture?

If there's a one-word definition of hustle culture, it would be "nonstop." Think of it as people celebrating the fact that they're working super hard, achieving goals, accomplishing life, and “winning” the game, so to speak.

The Danger Zone

While going after your dreams and achieving is definitely not a bad thing, there’s a healthy balance to everything. And hustle culture implies a dangerous cycle: the more you work, the more celebrated you are.

This can eventually lead to working beyond your means, resulting in burnout, excess stress, harming close relationships, missing meals, neglecting sleep, and more. Of course, there’s always some sort of sacrifice to success. It’s not easy! And you do have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

But hustle culture can take it to an unhealthy level. Where’s the line? How far do you go? When do you stop?

And unfortunately, social media encourages sacrificing yourself for success. It’s become a rite of passage, even though you end up losing yourself in the process. As a result, social media is overloaded with “don’t stop working” messages that make us feel like we can’t rest; otherwise, we’re failing. Couple that with comparison-itis, in which we’re constantly comparing our financial and relationship situation to others, and we never feel enough.

Changing My Game

When I became a business owner, those feelings of inadequacy became so paralyzingly strong that I started questioning my every move, ignoring my intuition, and just following what everyone else was doing.

Every time I logged on to Instagram, my stress response kicked into gear because I knew what was coming: self-doubt, pressure, and a whole lot of overwhelm.

This is what too much hustle culture consumption does. In an attempt to motivate you, it turns you into a pile of fear and exhaustion, which is not great for productivity.

How You Can Avoid the Danger Zone

So how can you log on to Instagram without consuming too much hustle culture? Here are a few things that have helped me feel at ease.

  • Follow audit. First, go through your follow list and remove anyone who makes you feel like you need to be someone else or work 24/7. This way, you’ll be consuming less of it overall.
  • Know your limits. Understanding yourself is key to avoiding the hustle-culture trap. Follow your goals, but when your body tells you to slow down, learn to listen, so that it doesn’t affect you to a harmful extent. This may take a couple of times before you realize your “too much” signals. But that’s okay!
  • The “Rest is productive” mindset. Ultimately, we’ve been taught that hard work is the key to success. But I challenge you to a different approach: Rest is productive. When we rest, we are way more productive, happy, energized, and ready to take on challenges. In fact, rest is the other piece to success!

The Hustle Isn’t Bad. But Rest Isn’t Either.

I definitely don’t want to demonize working hard, because we need that, too. But I want to encourage the hustlers of the world to remember that we’re shooting ourselves in the foot when we don’t stop and take care of ourselves.

When health and hard work are aligned, nothing can stop you.


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