Are you busy?

Culture of busyness and hustle

Culture of busyness and hustleAre you busy? I recently watched an online video posted by a popular entrepreneur and social media expert, who I will not name.

In his video, the social media guru is walking around in his usual hyper state (think a powered bunny, in a battery ad,  full of cocaine).

One of his fans asked him the secret of success and he replied, “You need to hustle man”. His groupies all paused and began nodding their head, as if that’s the answer they expected. The guru went on to say something like, “If you’re working 12 hour days, you need to be working 20”.

“The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness” -John C. Maxwell; Leadership Expert, Speaker and Author.

I want you to pause for a minute and think of someone who you consider to be very successful. Perhaps it is a mentor or someone who plays in your particular niche. Perhaps it is someone in another industry and you admire their traits or you want their definition of success.

Do you honestly think, the only difference between you and that person is they worked more hours than you? Look around you. We live in a culture of busyness. Everyone is working hard and everyone thinks they’re hustling harder than the next person. Walk up to one of your colleagues and ask, “are you busy?” 99 percent of the time they will tell you they are.

Do you believe Warren Buffett is successful because he works long hours? Sure, putting is probably critical for his success. If you think that you are probably selling him short for the knowledge, skills and connections he has accumulated over the years. In fact, Buffett mostly keeps his calendar empty and invests 80 percent of most days reading.

Do you honestly think Richard Branson is as successful as he is just because of a solid work ethic? Sure, it may have played a part. Branson is persistent (even after selling his company due to financial struggles in 1992), a visionary, a fun likeable guy and a one man personal brand. He knows how to find a problem in a market, build a team, fix the problem and publicise his solution.

I remember the resurgence of the term ‘rat race’ in the 1990’s, which described the constant struggle and busyness of everyday life in the corporate world. While the term ‘rat race’ may no longer be popular, our unrelenting ambition for more money (at any cost) and the revived term ‘hustle’ mean the same thing. If you are in business, even for yourself, it is likely you are still part of the rat race. Now there are more rats than ever before!

“It requires more toughness to resist the world than to join in the rat-race” -Sir James Darling, former Headmaster of Geelong Grammar School and former Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

Here’s the catch. You need to make sure you are doing the right things before you start doing them right. You need to be effective at setting and taking steps towards your goals. It doesn’t matter how efficient you are or how hard you work. If you are not working towards your goals, you will never enjoy your definition of success.

I would suggest the busyness bug or the perceived need to hustle constantly are a symptom of modern society, rather than a requirement of success. People who are wired or connected to technology 24/7 aren’t getting a buzz because they’re being productive. Technology keeps our brains in an over-stimulated state so, when we use technology, we get a buzz from our brain releasing more dopamine.

We have an addiction to busyness, not productivity. Pause every now and then and think, are you busy? Are you being productive and working towards your goals or just filling in time?

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play” -John Cleese, English Actor, Comedian and Writer.

Which would you rather be? Busy or Effective? In order to be effective, we need to take a step back from our lives of constant stimulation and give ourselves time to think. We need original thought, rather than recycled ideas from the internet. We need time to pause, reflect and carefully contemplate our next decision.

Sometimes taking a step back and giving yourself time to think is better than continuing to hustle but ultimately, you still need to act on your decision. Ask yourself today, are you busy? Or are you productive?

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