I’ve been thinking about Hustle for a long time now, since I was doing so much of it myself and watching everyone around me do the same. A few years ago I landed on this idea of the Hustle-to-Chill Ratio, this way of questioning how much Hustle is actually required for us to have some well-earned Chill. Hustle always seemed to be getting all the limelight, you know, like it was just this inevitable good thing we should all be doing all the time. To the detriment of poor ole Chill.
But I’ve changed. Because now instead of trying to ensure that I have some balance in that mix, I think I’ve realized something else.
Hustle is noise.
Hustle is noise that blocks you from hearing that quieter whisper inside of what you might really want.
Hustle is a distraction from what happens when we listen.
Hustle keeps us busy when what we might most actually need to do is be still, hands open at our sides, unclenched, soft, doing NOTHING. Nothing but waiting, listening in for whatever it is we most want in any given moment, listening for what our emotional and physical reactions are telling us in any given situation.
Hustle is static on the line.
And just like static when you’re trying to tune a radio station (oh dear, you DO remember actual radio, don’t you?), it’s a signal that you haven’t quite hit it yet, haven’t quite landed on the place where the music is.
And just like when you’re hunting for that radio station, the solution isn’t to start doing a bunch of other stuff. The solution is, shhhhhh, listen, turn the dial, listen, til you get it.
Hustle is that static.
Yes, there are so many things to do. Given. Granted. And yet, shhhhh, what’s most important? What will, as a post-it on my desk asks me daily, make the boat go faster?
Hustle has no answers.
I’m a person who profoundly, deeply, passionately loves doing, loves working, loves moving ahead on a To Do list. Yes, that’s me. So much.
But Hustling doesn’t get to me what’s most important. In fact, so often that Hustle actually obscures that work for me. Keeps me busy, yes, but purposeful? Not necessarily. Strategic? Hmmm, not so much.
Hustle is what I do when I don’t trust that there’s plenty of time, that I have the answers I need, that I got this. The antidote, its complement, as it turns out, isn’t really chill. It’s confidence.
Hustle is just a habit. One I’m trying to break. No, that doesn’t mean I won’t still be working hard. But I’m resisting that daily slide into Doing-Doing-Doing until I’ve made space to actually consider Why. Until I’ve gone quiet and considered what might be the next right action, something which I can’t do well when there’s so much static on the line.
It’s a weird feeling when you’re so used to Hustle, to let that go and try something else, to start the day a different way and then let it unfold from a new place. It’s so peaceful, it’s a little unnerving. But I’m getting used to it over here, and want the same for you.
PS When the Hustle threatens to sweep you off your feet:
- Breathe instead. Try to slow your roll. What do YOU want? Yes, all the things on the list, but what about Y-O-U?
- Exercise. Take your body out for a little stroll or run through the neighborhood, go to the woods, go to Zumba. Move. This is just another kind of breathing.
- Meditate. I’m not a meditator myself, but all studies say meditation is great for you. Also: breathing.
- Write. This is my meditation, letting my thoughts unspool without thinking, so that I can figure out just what the heck is up with me. It’s crazy how often I look back at what I wrote and can’t believe I’m the one who did it – where did that come from? And yeah: breathing.
- Basically go inside, go back to you, feel what’s going on inside you. You. Breathe.