By NIKKI GHAEMI
You’ve probably seen pages of endless merchandise reading “The Grind Never Stops” can be found online, whether it be notebooks, mugs, or shirts. A market has been created around the standard that we must be working in every waking moment.
People around me are comparing how little sleep they got to study for a big test, striving to be the one that stayed up the latest and thus, appearing to be the most dedicated. Because there’s no way you care about what you’re doing unless you reach your absolute limits while doing it, right?
This is hustle culture, which promotes maxing yourself out to your absolute limits, both physically and mentally. It glorifies what should be considered unhealthy habits; cutting meals, receiving no sleep, never taking a break. We’re submitting to the pressures and expectations of the world around us, and convincing ourselves that it’s the only way to prove that we prioritize our work.
There are different reasons for the rise of this mindset. Perhaps the fast-paced nature of technology during the digital age has begun to affect every aspect of our lives, including how we view working. The culture has completely blurred the line between a fast-paced work life and a laid-back personal life.
I see this a lot at UNI. So many students burn themselves out as a result of getting buying into hustle culture. They commit themselves to many activities, and fill their schedules to the brim with meetings, projects, and so forth.
My own personal experience is similar to this. I’ve had many periods of time where I find myself committing to far too many obligations at once. I can’t help but want to seem like someone that can “do it all”, and having time off just reminds me that there’s something else that I probably should be doing. Many people with similar experiences may have always felt that there’s always something unfinished, or as if we can’t reach fulfillment unless we reach success in our work.
Coming to this realization made me feel extremely vulnerable. My capacity to work hard was something I felt so defensive of, and now I was realizing that it’s perfectly okay to take a step back and spend time for myself.
This isn’t to say that we should compromise working hard. More often than not, the most transformative moments come from periods of stress and discomfort. Experiencing challenging situations is instrumental in growing as a person, however, it becomes damaging when we begin to glorify stress and the unhealthy habits that may come from it.