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Slow Living > Hustle Culture



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Introduction

If the majority of your days feel like you are losing sense of control due to constantly being occupied by big or small tasks and multitasking millions of things at once, chances are good that you are stuck in the modern day movement of hustle culture. This might feel like you are losing sense of your time management, your emotions are the leading factor in day to day decisions, run over by overwhelm, anxiety and rushedness, etc. The hustle culture trend is swallowing the majority of our society, but slow living is where the magic truly lies, here’s why. 

 

What is hustle culture and what makes it so toxic?

First, let’s take a deeper look at what hustle culture is all about and why it is such a dangerous way to live. Hustle culture is all about creating the majority of your identity based on your work and achievements in your career. It is a social concept created by the illusion that overworking and burnout leads to a happier and more productive life. “Hustle culture carries this overarching belief that the more you do, the more valuable you are,” It is presented as a glamorous lifestyle filled with productivity, efficiency and dedication. It can easily be compared to alcohol and nicotine advertisements of the 1930´s where actors portrayed drinking and smoking as classy. Overworking ourselves and burnout are just as dangerous (if not more) for our health and wellbeing. Media has had a big influence on our idea about hustle culture. It is portrayed as something that is the norm or bare minimum, it is attractive and usually aesthetically pleasing and it is designed to perfection, leaving no room for mistakes. It lures consumers in through multiple different ways, usually very subtly and with a lot of thought behind it. Once it has lured us in, it becomes a vicious cycle of addiction, similar to that of gambling, where it leaves the person wanting more and more and more. Nothing feels like enough because enough does not exist in the hustle culture reality. One innocent 8:00-23:00 working day can turn into a lifestyle if we are not careful enough with the consequences. There are many driving forces that make overworking seem very attractive. It might be a boss raising your salary because “you are being so dedicated to the job” or it might be social media convincing you that this is a normal way to live, etc. All of these “rewards” are simply illusions and at the end of the day overworking yourself is unsustainable. Too many employees are being praised for overworking themselves and it has somehow become normal to brag about how much you have overwork yourself or how tired you are, there is somehow a stigma that it makes you more superior to others and that the more you work the more valuable you are. When personal and professional boundaries are not clearly set, there is no way of getting productive rest or taking a needed break. Symptoms of being stuck in the hustle culture might look like: constantly tired, gradual increase in overwhelm, emotionally out of energy, mood swings, lacking motivation and unable to reach unrealistic expectations set for you either by yourself or by others. Some people do not even recognize these symptoms and they just keep pushing, which causes fatal effects on one’s physical health. Studies have proven that staying busy non-stop can increase the risk of getting a heart attack and having a stroke, since the high level of stress naturally increases one’s blood pressure. Getting out of the hustle culture mindset can be quite challenging, but it is worth it and it is possible through changing one’s mindset, habits and routine to a style that enhances more slow living characteristics. Hustle culture has especially become a bigger issue lately due to the fact that we are connected to work 24/7. It is so easy to access our emails, answer overdue calls, etc. because it’s all at the push of a button and it seems so effortless to just quickly check in, when in reality that is what causes the most damage. When you “just quickly” check your mails or answer a colleague on Teams while you are on the beach in Spain, your subconscious is still stuck on the email you just checked, causing unnecessary mental stress. If this stress goes ignored and you keep checking into work, even in the middle of the night when you rolled over at 2 in the morning and woke up, feeling the urge to check your mails, it becomes a chronic illness, commonly known as anxiety. It becomes a habit to be up to date 24/7 and many of us forget how important good rest and disconnection is for our level of productivity and sustainability in our careers. 

 

Slow living explained 

Slow living is an attitude through which you consciously create a more purposeful and connected life that is in touch with your own values and goals. It translates to letting things flow and doing them at the speed that they are supposed to be done. This means slowing things down and focusing more on the quality in which things are done rather than the speed. Usually this results in slowing down, less is more, prioritizing your life in a conscious way. Slow living is in denial to the idea that your level of busyness equals your identity. It puts emphasis on quality over quantity, living intentionally and being in the now. Instead of being constantly on autopilot, slow living enhances self awareness and intentional living, making your decisions and action steps fall in line with your goals. It helps you achieve things through presence, allowing you to do things to the best of your ability rather than racing at an unsustainable pace. The idea of slow living might scare many of us who are stuck in the hustle culture loop, because it might feel like slowing down means doing things fully in slow motion, when that is not true at all, it is simply about doing things at the right speed, the speed at what they are supposed to be done. It helps you embrace and stop for a second to celebrate small wins along the way of your bigger journey. Slow living might seem like a very “buddha like” perfect world scenario that is only for surfers and outcasts, but it is actually highly important in daily corporate life as well. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Being present with your customers and personalizing their experience with your company, will build a strong sense of customer and brand loyalty, people appreciate being heard and seen.
  • Taking some time to think about any big decisions you need to make for your company’s growth might be the best strategy when avoiding rushed mistakes. Time allows the opportunity to see the situation from different angles and thereby gaining perspective on how to take your business forward. 
  • Professional boundaries are clearly set when you take on the slow living approach. This will allow your time to be respected, when you are working, you are fully present and online, available to answer anything and everything, but when you are off from work, it will be clear that you cannot be reached during that time. 

 

Live better, not faster. 

 

How to create balance 

With this being said, I hope it has been made clear that slow living doesn’t mean living in slow motion or not achieving the goals you have set, it is simply a tool to create a long lasting, more sustainable and more productive career. It is all about being in balance, making time and prioritizing different aspects of life which you truly value in order to show up as your best self. I believe as entrepreneurs we live in seasons. There might be seasons in which we might be overworked and have more on our plate than usual, but it is important to take notice when this happens and to create a season where we can rest and slow down again to recover from the busy seasons. It is okay to not have a 9-5 mindset but it is also okay to take some time off, and it is not just okay but it is necessary. If we truly dream of achieving big things, we need to allow ourselves to dream big but yet pace ourselves in a way that works for us. Having fun is part of the journey to success and most of the big brands we know today, for e.g. Patagonia started with passion and a dream, but its founders never lost sight of the human experience and the importance of play along the way to riches. 

 

Conclusion

Hustle culture is a toxic trend, one we need to be aware of if we are serious about doing sustainable business. Slow living is a productive and long lasting way to achieve our goals and to do greater things. 

 

References 

 

B, MCAlary. 2022. What is Slow Living? Read on 1 March 2023. https://www.marthastewart.com/2224818/slow-living-lifestyle

https://slowlivingldn.com/what-is-slow-living/  

Hart, R. 2022. What is hustle culture and how can you break the cycle? Read on 1 March 2023. https://www.rte.ie/lifestyle/living/2022/0120/1274815-what-is-hustle-culture-and-how-can-you-break-the-cycle

Jackson-Gibson, A. 2021. How to identify Hustle culture and what you can do to break away from it. Read on 1 March 2023. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a38416524/hustle-culture/ 

Robinson, B. 2019. The “Rise and Grind” of hustle culture. Read on 1 March 2023. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-right-mindset/201910/the-rise-and-grind-hustle-culture 

S, Gilbert. 2022. The Business Benefits of Slow living. Read on 3 March 2023. 

https://saragilbert.coach/the-business-benefits-of-slow-living/ 

Tolle, E. The Power Of Now. Read on 27 February 2023. 

 

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