A friend of mine is starting up a mentoring service for processionals who are chasing “career narratives” (i.e. seeking the next promotion, the car, the house, seniority, glory etc.) to the point where their lives are becoming wretched. Sure it’s is good to aspire, but as Paul Dolan suggests in his new book “Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life”, it may be that some people continue to pursue career success even when the returns are diminishing – and that the extra workload and stress from chasing the incremental £10k can destroy a work-life balance or even impact on mental and physical wellbeing.
While researching this context, I came across “Hustle Porn”. So what it “Hustle Porn”? Well it tends to be in the form of YouTube channels operated by “successful entrepreneurs” urging would-be followers to work like crazy… for all hours… to make their ventures a success.
Now of course some entrepreneurs do succeed because they have great perseverance in the face of challenges and setbacks – so that they outreach their competitors… yet blindly urging young people to exclude every facet of their lives other then the pursuit of their venture, so that they are working 80, 100 or 120 hour per week, does start to cause problems.
Such “hustle focus” can cause burnout, adrenal problems and mental health problems – and in fact the work focus can destroy family and friendship support networks so that the impacts of such a lifestyle are accelerated.
Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian has recently highlighted the trend for entrepreneurs and employees within the high tech industry to overwork – resulting in deteriorating physical and mental health – often drive by Hustle Porn.
And worse, it seems that Hustle Porn is addictive to its followers. In this blog I am not going to mention the high profile “Champions of Hustle” – these guys are monetising their online followers well enough without my help. But awareness of this phenomenon, and its downside, is at least a start – colleagues, friends and family who are hooked on Hustle Porn need to realise where this type of life is heading… and to change; and give up the Hustle Porn.
So, yes – put energy onto your business venture – but at the same time don’t define you success in just business terms – think about success in terms of the life you want to lead… and the time you want to spend on non-work experiences. Always ensure you have time set aside for hobbies, exercise and socialising. Put a priority on sleep.
You might consider introducing mediation into your routine – so that your time at work will become more focussed; and yet you are able to set that focus aside in other parts of your week. You might find that 10 or 15 minutes each day will make a much bigger change to your effectiveness if you practice mediation rather then watching Hustle Porn on YouTube. So reinvest the time spent on Hustle Porn.