I started writing this article Monday evening. Tuesday afternoon I opened up Jon Acuff's newest book, Finish. Most of us are great at starting something, but not so great at finishing. In his book, he asks why. The simple answer? Perfectionism. We dive into a project or a goal and perfectionism shows up in all its glory. One of the ways it shows up is through the hustle.
Jon says, "More than likely, you've spent most of your life choosing to do more than is possible and beating yourself up for not being able to keep up... Our attempts to do too much feel noble and honorable. Look at us, tirelessly working toward burnout, reducing the quality of everything because we insisted we can do everything. We can share that approach with honor on Instagram. That's the grind. That's the hustle."
The hustle is a worthy endeavor, and often necessary in today's culture. But we need to keep it in check. I'm not advocating for less hustle. In fact, I love the hustle. Who doesn't? Hard work pays off. It feels good to dedicate our lives to something we love, and it feels even better when it finally pays off. But what I am advocating for is more rest.
Hustle, in some ways, has become a crutch; a cop out. It's no longer only about putting your head down and doing great work. It's taken on a new meaning; of busyness, of burnout, of an unhealthy body and heart. We run ourselves into the ground and we allow our friendships to suffer, all in the name of hustle.
This doesn't mean we should sacrifice our career, but it does mean we should never sacrifice our personal life or wellbeing for our job. I would argue that a great personal life and healthy mind is essential to productive working hours. According to the New York Times, sleep deprivation is one of the best predictors of burn-out and costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.
The hustle isn't about wearing ourselves thin, making ourselves sick. It's about being prosperous and productive. It's about killing it, not ourselves.
In order to create your best work, you need to be your best self. You need to rest and sleep. You need to drink water. You need deep, meaningful relationships. By all means, hustle. Create. Do amazing work. But an amazing career means nothing without people to share it with and without the ability to slow down and appreciate the work you've done.
So, I'm not advocating for less hustle. I'm advocating for more rest. And better, bigger, richer lives.
Work hard. Play hard. Rest well.