I’ve read and watched and heard a lot lately about pushing, hustling, chasing all of the things that get you closer to living your ideal life. I know that to some extent I asked for that. I mean, that’s what the social algorithms do. They fill your feed with what you, in some sense, asked for with click monitoring, search history, and even seeing where your scrolling slowed down. However, I also think the ‘hustle’ mentality is to some extent a sign of the times. Spending more time reflecting over the past year and identifying what you want or don’t want in your life, and what is truly important to you, has helped many people to lean further in one or a couple prioritized areas of life (leaning in might be a better word for hustling).
Still, not everyone is on board. Not everyone agrees with going hard in any one area of life. I’ve heard it described as selfish when someone truly goes all in on improving their health. I’ve heard it described as greedy when someone pours into their work. I’ve even heard it described as lazy or ‘quitting’ when someone decides to stay home with their children. None of those phase me too much, other than to say that the speaker clearly has some unresolved jealousy, resentment, or fear to be saying things like this. There was one recently though that stopped me and made me think. As I was describing my own areas I was leaning into and talking about what my close friends were doing, the person I was talking to said, ‘I don’t want to hustle I am too grateful for what I have.‘ This comment was different from the others because that person wasn’t trying to put anyone down. She was encouraging to all in their endeavors but felt that there wasn’t a place for this in her story because she was content and grateful for what she has.
So is hustle the absence of gratitude? Does it mean you’re not content or that you don’t see the beauty of where you are at this moment? Are they mutually exclusive? Is gratitude better than hustle? Is it OK to hustle while remaining grateful for what you have? If you are content do you need to keep pushing?
I would tell you unequivocally that you can hold both, gratitude and hustle are not mutually exclusive ideas. Note that I said you can, not everyone does but you certainly can. There are people who push, hustle, or maintain their drive based on a mentality that there is not enough (money, love, resources, etc) to go round (also known as scarcity mindset) so they have to push to ‘get their fair share’. Those people are typically pushing without gratitude because they are so focused on getting what they ‘deserve’ that they forget what they have. That doesn’t mean though that you can’t be grateful for what you have or where you’re at while you’re pushing for more. Further than that, I would whole heartedly advocate for getting to the top of the mountain you’re climbing, taking a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come, and how incredible the view is from up there. The next step though, after you’ve drank it all in, is to find the next mountain. I touched on this a little in a prior post, When is Enough, Enough?. You may have surpassed all of your prior goals or even made all your original dreams come true, that is just a prompt to keep dreaming.
If you’re rolling your eyes at me thinking yeah but I don’t want to have a ‘side hustle’ because I’m content and that is OK! I would say, you bet it is! You go ahead (not that you ever needed my permission) and own exactly where you’re at without adding a thing, but do continue to grow. Know that leaning in, pushing, and hustling doesn’t have to mean starting your own company and building your hobby into an empire. I mean, maybe it does and that’s cool. Build your slice of heaven off creating adorable wooden gnomes and selling them at craft fairs and on the internet, power to you. Keep in mind though it could also mean hustling in creating an amazing season of life for your family. It could mean pushing your level of volunteerism or becoming laser focused at work bringing the best of your gifts and talents whether you’re getting paid or not. It could mean leaning in to your faith or spirituality and finding ways to be held by something bigger than yourself to limit your anxiety or pain. There is something amazing that happens when you lean all the way into something and drive that part of your life up. Be grateful and content with exactly where you’re at but don’t let that stop you from everywhere you could go.