Hobbies vs. Hustle Culture: Should we really be “hustling” harder?

If you are online at all, chances are you’ve been exposed to “hustle culture,” which, in a nutshell, states that being productive and earning money in any way you can leads to a happier, more successful life. Do you have an extra couple of hours in your day? Drive for Uber or Lyft to make some extra spending money! Are you skilled at something that doesn’t relate to your main career? Start selling your products or services on the side in your free
time! Hustle culture focuses on making the most out of your time and your skills, but perhaps “making the most out of life” isn’t synonymous with “making the most money.”

Granted, hustle culture isn’t entirely about making a profit, but by encouraging people to keep working and not let themselves be lazy or complacent, a large emphasis is placed on the fact that things you do everyday can be turned into side jobs, making money a main motivator. There is nothing wrong with wanting to earn some extra cash, but if the main reason you’re doing something is for monetary gain and not enjoyment or self-fulfillment, even if it’s only a little bit, then participating in hustle culture can eventually start to drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

People need rest. It’s one of the basic, fundamental human needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Rest is more than just getting eight hours of sleep at night. Rest is recognizing when your body and mind are tired, and allowing yourself to relax and unwind without pressure. This is where hobbies typically come into play. They’re activities that make us feel better after a long day, and they can be creative in nature or not. I personally have a variety of creative hobbies, and I tend to gravitate toward them when I’m stressed and need to take a break from work or my phone and computer.

There have been times when I’ve considered turning one of my hobbies into a side job, but those periods are only really present after spending a considerable amount of time online seeing others opening an Etsy store for their creative projects, or starting a YouTube channel or blog to talk about and promote their hobbies. It’s hard not to think about the extra money I could earn if I were to do so.

Now, there is nothing wrong with doing any of these things. If you feel passionate about starting a YouTube channel or opening a small business to promote your craft, then by all means, go for it! There are people out there who want to hear what you have to say and want to support what you have to offer, especially if you put your heart and soul into your work. If you’re on the fence about it or feel like it’s something you have to do,
however, then I encourage you to take a step back for a while and examine why that might be the case. You may find hustle culture at the root of those feelings of obligation.

This is because hustle culture tends to look down on perceived laziness. Originally meant as a method to help people reach their goals instead of doing nothing to achieve them, hustle culture turned the idea of not sitting around twiddling your thumbs all day to an extreme where everything you do could be used to help further your career or financial standing.

If you take time to do something just for yourself, hustle culture conditions you into feeling like you’re doing something wrong, when in reality, it’s important to have activities that you do simply because you enjoy doing them with no stress and no strings attached.

When everyone is hustling toward success, the pace will keep on increasing as will the responsibilities and the stress to be the best and win the race. Only, life isn’t a race to the finish. It’s a path we all have to walk, and like the fable of the tortoise and the hare, you could race ahead and take your time and energy for granted, tiring yourself out along the way, or you can choose to take care of yourself in the time that you have.

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