What to Do Next When You're Hustling and It Still Hasn't Happened for You
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Chris Rock has a hilarious bit about the ridiculous negative stereotypes that some parents use to qualify their parenting skills.
As an example, he riffs on phrases some parents might say like, “I take care of my kids” as if this is some great accomplishment, to which Rock’s exasperated response is, “Well duh, you dumb mothaf***a. You’re SUPPOSED to take care of your kids!”
It's forehead-smackingly obvious, right? Well this level of "No Shit, Sherlock" is the point at which I feel the state of entrepreneurial thought has devolved to -- especially the constant emphasis on "hustle."
It's all a bit self-explanatory, isn't it?
Yes, wake up early. Yes, do what needs to be done. Read more. Less TV. Work really hard on the projects you care about. They're your projects, after all. Duh. This isn’t new information. People understood this way before 7,000 inspirational Instagram accounts littered the internet.
And if you’ve already been hustling, this advice isn't necessarily useful or inspiring.
Doesn't it go deeper than this? Isn't there more to this game than just rocking it until the wheels fall off? I don't want my wheels to fall off. I like my wheels!
I saw a quote yesterday from a Gary V. about more of the usual. I don’t remember the exact phrasing, but it was something along the lines of “while everybody is out at the pool this summer sippin’ Rosé, you should be hustling!”
Personally, I’d actually rather be at the pool sippin’ Rosé! Does this mean I don’t have “the drive” to succeed?
Here’s the problem with the hype about hustle… We have this mistaken belief that with enough hustle, grit, grind, [insert tired Instagram platitude], we can achieve any outcome.
But that's false. It's a nice fairytale. But it's false.
Sometimes things aren't ready to happen yet. There are literally millions of other factors at play in the world that you can't see. You cannot produce a miracle no matter how hard you hustle.
So stop trying to force things, sweetie.
I'm not saying you should aim low, or that you shouldn't set goals and work towards them. The problem isn't with goal setting or ambition. The problem is what to do with our emotions during the in-between phases, when our reality doesn't match our grand vision for life.
We must learn to become more comfortable in a state of waiting. Not hoping without planning. Not ambivalence towards the results. But simply putting in the work, then waiting for the results to come in whenever *they* are ready to come.
What's so uncomfortable about waiting, after all? We can't stand waiting for anything anymore. It's outrageous.
Can't wait for a movie to hit theaters. Gotta stream it!
Can't wait in line for my food. Better get it delivered!
Can't wait for a spontaneous relationship to unfold. Gotta swipe my next date!
Can't wait for my life to be great. Want it all now!
You'd think delayed gratification was the end of the world. Delayed gratification is the world. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old and life on earth has been around for an infinitesimally small fraction of that time. For 99.9 percent of this planet's existence, the sun was rising and setting. Volcanoes were exploding. Seasons were changing. Earth was busy doing it's thing without the presence of a single witness. It wasn't ready for life yet.
Then one day, life. Took you long enough, stupid planet! Perhaps we should tell the Earth to hustle harder next time :)
Here's the truth: sometimes life just takes a while to develop, and no matter how hard you push, it's just not the right time for things to pop off for you. Force doesn't work as a long term strategy for progress. Since you can't force anything to happen, the only thing you can do is adjust your perspective. You have to change the way you think about waiting.
Learn to shift from the mindset that associates waiting with pain and discomfort, to looking at the future with optimism and without obsessing about what you're lacking in the present.
Continue to work hard getting things done. Yes, hustle. That's obvious. But don't obsess over timetables for when things *must* happen. Trust me, you'll be disappointed almost every time. Just put in the work and let life unfold.
Give the universe space to do it's work while you do yours, and when the thing you want finally does happen for you, let it be a happy, albeit not entirely unexpected surprise.
In other words, chill, and share this with a friend who needs to chill.