Hustle culture is a giant pain in the ass.
I see it all the time on LinkedIn. Normal people turn into crazies who spend every waking hour in or around a business. They can’t even go to a football game without wearing their employer’s polo shirt.
Then you’ve got the Youtube and Instagram grinders. These guys want you to hard-work-all-over-yourself until you enter an early grave.
No one knows who invented this … but the new trend is slow hustle. Let me run you through the fundamentals so you can take advantage of it.
Working hard isn’t sustainable
Humans are smart.
When something doesn’t work we find another way. Hustle culture seemed smart to begin with. My grandpa always said “work hard little man and all your dreams will come true.”
In his day maybe that was true.
Not anymore. I recently wrote about how I’ve done a short stint doing 16-hour days because I’m about to be a dad (this was also my way to experiment with hustle culture).
The truth: long hours make you stupid.
I feel as if my IQ has dropped. Everything quickly starts to feel same-same. And on the days when you’re real tired, you start saying dumb stuff to others because tiredness removes your speech filter.
I’m not alone.
A Deloitte survey found 83% of people who burn out from hard work find it blows up their relationships. We can maybe do short periods of hard work, but it’s not a long-term life strategy that’ll make you rich, hence slow hustle.
Hustle is often a disguise for a deeper problem
Hustling like an energizer bunny is often a way to cover up another problem. When I see it, I think to myself, what are you trying to escape?
For me, I’m trying to escape the fear first-time dads experience. For others, it might be a broken marriage, crappy parents, or a terrible boss. Hustling means we don’t have to 100% feel anything.
We can numb pain with work.
But like an anesthetic, the numbness doesn’t last forever. Eventually we will feel pain again — often ten times more.
How the slow hustle trend works (that can lead to financial freedom)
Slow hustle is where you do the opposite of work hard.
The goal is to work the least amount of hours possible so the mind can expand, relax, and join the dots needed for true creativity. Do this…
1. Slow down to speed up
Navy seals have a motto “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” This is the basis of the slow hustle trend. When we slow down our work gets better.
- We’re more mindful.
- Deep thinking has time to occur.
- We think about broader impacts.
- We show our co-collaborators more empathy.
2. Optimize for time
Hustle culture people brag about how much work they do. They’re in favor of tracking hours as a way to flex their work biceps.
Slow hustle flips this narrative. It’s about optimizing to do work in less time. Time is more important than money or status.
3. Understand 4-hour workdays (that piss people off)
You may have seen me or others write about the power of 4-hour flow states also known as deep work.
A few dummies confuse this narrative with a lifestyle flex. “Oh you only work 4 hours a day … aren’t you a hero!”
They misunderstand. There’s busy work, which most of us do, and there’s deep work or work done in a flow state. This is at the center of the slow hustle movement.
Work done in a flow state is easier. It requires a ritual without any distractions (particularly dumb phones). When you’re in a flow state the concept of time transforms. The way the mind operates changes.
Once you become a master of flow states, as much as it sounds like clickbait, 4 hours of deep work a day can be enough for most people to finish all their work.
If you take nothing else away from this article, then let it be that.
4. A big business is a nightmare
A lot of the hustle culture movement comes from entrepreneurs.
They believe business makes them cool. They want to create startups that have hundreds and even thousands of employees.
The slow hustle movement thinks having hundreds of employees (adult babies to babysit) is a nightmare. The entrepreneurs in this movement, like me, believe if you’re going to start a business, then a one-person business is the best option. This is a shift in thinking from conventional wisdom.
No employees, less headaches = better thinking + more freedom
5. A radically new definition of work
Why we do our work matters a lot.
Hustle culture worships the amount of work, whereas the slow hustle movement is about doing work that contributes to your goals.
If you’re doing donkey work for a boss you dislike then it doesn’t matter how hard you work. You’re always going to hate it, and that has an impact on your quality of life.
Bringing it all together
Slow hustle isn’t about finding a passion or purpose.
It’s about finding an obsession. Something you can do for the rest of your life that doesn’t feel like work anymore, so the concept of time and the need to take holidays from your work or one day retire is dead.
Once you reach this point, it’s ten times easier to reach financial freedom because work takes on a new life, and your brain can be the most creative it’s been in decades.
Slow down to speed up. Master 4-hour work blocks.