“I sleep only 4 hours a day,” one says.
Someone replies, “Wow, that’s impressive! You must be so productive and hardworking.”
“Yeah, I am. Sleep is a waste of time. Every second you’re sleeping, you’re missing out on a chance to accomplish all your life goals.”
Since when has our productivity become linked with our physical and mental health? Although incorrect, society continues to teach the growing generation that hard work trumps everything. Known as the “Hustle Culture,” it has been ingrained in children early on that if they are not constantly at their maximum productivity, they’re falling behind in life.
But on whose standards has that person fallen behind? Who deems how hard someone must work to achieve their own life goals? Who says that you can’t achieve all your goals in life while also making room for sleep, food, exercise, family, and friends?
The modern education system thrives on “Hustle Culture”. Students are provided a motive to put their health on the backburner simply for grades and the “pride” of making it onto the Honor Roll or Dean’s List. Many social media influencers glorify “Hustle Culture” and toxic productivity by posting content of themselves up at 4:00 am and working until 11:59 pm. Parents support “Hustle Culture” by comparing other children to their own.
This is nonsense.
There is no point in staying up to work if the work you do is of bad quality! It is not necessary to sacrifice your health for your dreams and aspirations. In fact, there is no way you will attain those aspirations if you sacrifice yourself in the process.
Hustle culture inevitably leads to burnout, which is defined as a “state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”
According to Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca-Cola in the 1900s:
“Imagine life as a game in which you’re juggling 5 balls in the air. You can name them work, family, health, friends, and spirit. And you’re keeping all of these things in the air. You will soon understand that work is like a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls are made of glass. If you drop them, they’ll be scuffed, damaged, and potentially even shattered. They will never be the same again.”
With the constant stimulation from the outside world, we become our worst enemies. We feel guilty if we take a day to just relax because all of the celebrities and “successful” people supposedly never stop “hustling.” But do not forget, social media shows us only the best of people, rarely the worst.
Don’t compare yourself to others’ standards. Compare yourself to the holistic standards of your mind and body combined. Productivity should not come at the price of your health, family, friends, and ultimately, yourself.
Be present. Be mindful. And be “productive,” in your own way.