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Hustle Culture - Toxic or Productive?

Hustle, hustle, hustle … a word that you probably hear quite often.

The term “hustle culture” has different meanings to different people. However, in a Forbes article, Celinne Da Costa defined hustle culture as “the collective urge we currently seem to feel as a society to work harder, stronger, faster. To grind and exert ourselves at our maximum capacity, every day, and accomplish our goals and dreams at a lightning speed that matches the digital world we’ve built around ourselves.”

The idea of “hustle culture” became increasingly popular among millennials and Gen Zs as many have chosen unorthodox jobs - being social media influencers, freelance designers, start-up owners, and such. Without a structured 9-5 work schedule, getting caught up in work and losing track of time is almost inevitable.

However, recently, many have been debating how beneficial hustle culture truly is.

Much associate hustle culture with ambition, success, and money. However, just as many associates the term with workaholism, burnout, and dissatisfaction.

In this article, we will be examining both the positives and negatives of hustle culture. After reading, you can decide for yourself whether it is more toxic or productive.

For Hustle Culture:

1. It Gets Things Done

It goes without saying that when you’re constantly working, you get a lot done. People who participate in hustle culture cultivate the mindset that there is always more work to do and more things to accomplish.

In addition, it has been proven that when you accomplish a task, your brain releases dopamine and motivates you to accomplish even more.

2. It Helps Develop Grit

According to Angela Duckworth, a psychologist, and researcher, “Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals.”

Hustling is not easy. There are times when you’ll feel discouraged and dissatisfied. However, hustle culture can motivate and push you to keep persevering despite the challenges you may encounter along the way.

3. It Pushes You Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you’re surrounded by people who are hustling, you naturally get a little competitive. And in all honestly, a little competition never hurt anybody. With that said, hustle culture pushes you to do more, even things you’ve never done before so that you can climb to the top.

Against Hustle Culture:

1. It’s About Working Smarter, Not Harder

As Bill Gates once said, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Take some time to reflect on your study methods - Sometimes, you could take notes and read your textbook for hours but not actually learn what you need. On the other hand, you could play a flashcard game with your peers for half an hour and fully absorb all the information for your test.

In other words, you don’t need to be working until three in the morning to be successful and get everything done.

2. It Leads to Burn Out

Just think about your laptop or computer - When you’ve been using it for hours on end and have a thousand tabs opened, it starts glitching and slowing down. For it to once again run smoothly, you’d need to restart it or give it a break; the same applies to you.

When work gets too overwhelming, learn to listen to your body and take a break. Don’t wait before you accomplish something big to reward yourself because that will only lead to burnout and resentment toward your work.

3. It Fuels Comparison and the Feeling of Inadequacy

With everything being posted on social media, many of you may be able to relate to feeling inadequate when you see what others have accomplished. The whole point of hustle culture is to fuel people to work harder toward success and recognition. While a little bit of competitiveness won’t hurt, going overboard can cause you to constantly compare yourself and doubt your abilities.


Ultimately, whether hustle culture is toxic or productive all depends on how you interpret the term and how you apply it to your life.

Just remember - Taking breaks is just as important as working and can potentially lead to unexpected breakthroughs.


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