I am in nine credit hours of graduate school. I have two jobs totaling to 42 hours a week. I am in cycling training for about 15 hours a week. I have the typical adulating responsibilities. Oh yeah and I run this blog, which surprisingly takes up a fair amount of time. The popular hashtags that describe my life are #riseandgrind #hustle #fakeittilyoumakeit and #iamfine. From the interactions I have, this is a common way of life for others as well.
Well, it took me bursting out into tears on an easy ride this week for me to realize, this is not how to live life. I work so hard at so many things with a modest standard of accomplishment, only to be left in tears on my bike. I am trying to be a good student, good employee, financially responsible adult, a good cyclist, and a respectable christian teacher. I can’t handle it and I am willing to bet others are struggling with the constantly working, adult juggling, high achievement striving mindset as well. In this blog, I am going to explore the #hustle mindset and provide some helpful alternative perspectives.
It was a scary experience reading an article this week of Kelly Catlin’s suicide. She was an olympic silver medal cyclist who was juggling undergraduate and professional cycling. “Kelly’s father, tells VeloNews. ‘A lot of us would say, ‘You need to take a time out,’ and her approach was like, ‘If I can’t perform everything at the same time, then I have no value.’ If she couldn’t live up to her internal standards, she killed herself.’” When I read those words, I was convicted. I have put myself under a similar amount of pressure. Granted, never to the point of suicide, but I felt like this is something my parents would say about me. If I can’t perform everything at the same time with some level of success, then what am I doing with my life? How we answer this question is indicative of how we respond to this high striving nature otherwise known as hustle culture. It is typical for the hustlers to say ‘I must not be doing enough, and/or doing it well.’ So they either add more factors (#volunteering, #sidegigs, #classes, #races, #training) or they will add more standards of success to existing factors (#trainharder, #worklonger, #workmoreproductively, #learnmore, #smarternotharder). Either way a person can only hustle with this answer for so long before they get burned out. Why? Because you will never be good enough. You will never do enough in your life.
The truth is, the underlying belief that your life is measured by what you do and accomplish is a lie. Your life is not measured by what you do or accomplish. Your value is from who you are. That you are you. There should be no other factors added to that. God created you and that merits enough value in itself (1). And God created the people around you, therefore they merit the same value. Value yourself and people around you because they are a person created by God.
So a healthy way to answering the question of “what am I doing with my life?” would be to be fully yourself and encourage others to be fully themselves. Now, I believe that you can not fully know yourself or be yourself without the guidance of the one who created you. Because who would know you better than your creator? Therefore it requires a personal relationship with your creator, God. In the Christian faith, we believe that you can not have a personal relationship with God unless you are completely righteous. This righteousness is only possible through belief that Jesus Christ was a sinless man that sacrificed himself as payment for your unrighteousness. Once you have believed Jesus as the one who made it possible for You to have a relationship with God, then you can learn about how God made You. It is a fun adventure to explore with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In scriptures you will explore that you are loved, you are treasured, you are worthy, you are able to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Go and explore how God made you. Discover what you are capable of. Sure, you can be a student, employee, and athlete but you don’t have to be any level of successful or accomplished to be valued. So breathe and be.
The simple fact that you don’t have to do anything to merit value, is the key to unlock the #hustle chains. This will help your mental fitness and wellbeing which will positively effect your physical wellbeing.