You’re probably familiar with the hustle if you're a type-A overachiever. You’re always on the go, always trying to do more and be more. But what if I told you there’s a better way to get what you want? That you can actually achieve more by doing less?
It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true.
The hustle is a trap that keeps you in a cycle of stress and burnout. And it's not just affecting your mental health; it's also holding you back from achieving goals that bring you deep meaning and feed your soul. It’s time to break free and start saying no to the things that don't align with your highest goals, even if they're "good" opportunities.
Sometimes, the best way to get ahead is to do nothing. Think of this as “strategic inaction.”
There are many benefits to creating a work-life balance. In fact, for many, doing so is proving to be the number one way to reduce stress and actually get more done in the long run.
What is the hustle mentality?
Hustle mentality describes a commitment to doing whatever it takes to get ahead, no matter what, and never to give up, regardless of how insurmountable the challenges are. It usually accompanies an intense need to be seen as successful and accomplished, and many hustlers feel pressure to perform well in everything they do.
Hustle mentality can affect anyone, regardless of their background or aspirations. The symptoms are not always obvious, but they may include:
Hustle mentality springs from believing that you must work harder, faster, and longer to get ahead.
Heads up, all you overachievers: Hustle mentality is a myth.
You will burn out if you work harder than anyone else without any breaks or downtime. You'll be stressed out, exhausted, and unable to keep up with your workload–if not physically, then certainly mentally. You will be no good to anyone, least of all to yourself.
What you say no to matters just as much as what you say yes to.
One of the most important actions you can take to improve your life is to say no.
Saying no is not a bad thing. It allows you to say yes to more important things in your life, like working on those goals or spending time with friends and family.
Saying no indicates that you have boundaries and values that are important enough to stand up for. Without healthy, flexible boundaries, there is no way to have a sense of self and create a life that brings you deep meaning and satisfaction.
Many people caught up in the hustle mentality struggle with boundaries in their relationships and lives. Mastering the art of saying no is a requirement for hustling less so that you can get where you want to be in your life faster.
Learning how to say no allows you to work smarter rather than harder, saving your energy and resources to invest in those experiences that you find meaningful. Engaging in meaningful activities is one of the most powerful ways to bolster your mental and psychological health.
3 Steps to Quiet Quitting the Hustle Mentality
Most business owners and leaders wouldn’t be in the positions they’ve landed without a lot of hard work and the willingness to go above and beyond. The world strongly reinforces the hustle mentality as the key to success.
The inability to slow down serves a fundamental emotional purpose. It reflects a childhood adaptation to an environment that didn’t meet your emotional needs. But there is no value in engaging in behaviors that no longer enhance your life. It feels problematic now because you’ve outgrown this emotional coping technique and don’t have a more satisfying way to emotionally support yourself yet.
Getting help to address your underlying emotional issues is the key to a quiet quitting hustle mentality. Here are a few suggestions for how to make this happen:
Work on your boundaries.
You might be concerned about turning down an opportunity for advancement or disappointing someone else by turning down their request for help because it could hurt their feelings (and possibly even damage your career). Exploring how your boundaries were (or were not) supported in your childhood is the key to developing the kinds of healthy boundaries you will need in your adult life. This practice will give you more energy to show up to those people and places that bring you the most meaning.
Start your therapy journey.
Beginning the emotional healing work to address unresolved matters is the only way to shift your energy out of your defense system and back into your true self. Your defense system is the part of you that keeps you caught up in the hustle mentality because hustling is a form of unconscious emotional protection that keeps you from slowing down long enough to feel anything unpleasant. When you work on healing the deeper emotional wounds, you begin to hustle a lot less organically.
Embrace your feelings and allow them to teach you what you truly need.
Learning how to feel your feelings is very different from talking about feelings. Feelings are energetic messengers and emotional responses to the world around you, carrying all the information you need to stay centered, grounded, and moving towards what feeds you and away from what does not.
Many people who have a hard time doing less also have difficulty feeling their feelings and learning from them. Working on your relationship with your feelings is pivotal for letting go of the need to hustle at all times.
By nature, the hustle mentality creates an exhausting pace that is impossible to sustain without some major breakdown in physical or emotional well-being.
Life moves fast, and getting caught up in some type of hustle can be easy. Sometimes you’ll find yourself saying yes to things that don't add value to your life or saying no to the things that do. The key is learning how to say yes to the right things so that the only time you ever have to hustle is when you are moving towards something truly meaningful in your life.
You'll sleep better, be happier, and ultimately get more out of life if the work you choose to engage in is fulfilling, as opposed to how much work you're doing. If you want success in both your professional and personal endeavors, and to create a life worth living, then get rid of the hustle.
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.