Hustle Mentality Meaning: Fail Hard and Fast

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ― Albert Einstein

In baseball, a player with a .300 batting average means that they have hit a ball safely 3 out every 10 times. This is considered to be a good player. An exceptional, legendary player is someone with a .400 batting average.

Consider this: a good player’s failure rate is 70% while an exceptional players failure rate is 60%. Unfortunately the world outside of baseball -the world that you and me live in — this sort failure rate is frowned upon.

In school we were judged by the grades on our exams. Someone with an “A” was praised, while someone with a “C” was seen as lazy, stupid, and weak. Although an exam in theory is simply a way to judge what you know, and what you don’t know, it has come to hold far greater meaning in today’s world.

An exam determines which school you are accepted in. An exam determines how your teachers view your. An exam even determines how your parents and peers view you.

This idea of being ranked and judged based on our performance in a particular subject translates to the working world. We all strive to be better — not because we want to be better internally — but because we want to be better judged by those around us. In order to get that promotion and higher salary — we must perform. Anything short of perfection is a failure in our eyes because it is so in the eyes of our bosses.

The cycle repeats. The higher you go up the chain, the more people you are allowed to judge. But there is always someone higher then you. There is also those employees judging, talking about you, gossipping about you.

Even those that claim they don’t care about the opinions of others are stuck in this mentality. Our fear of failure is directly related to how others feel about us. Our self-image, our self-confidence, our self-worth — all these things are based upon the definitions of the society we have been born and brought up in.

It is very difficult to break free of this. There will always be someone judging you, someone attempting to impose their views upon you — through heckling, through value judgments, through an appeal to culture or religion — always.

When it comes to making changes in your life, few of us are ready for exactly what such an endeavor will take. We believe the progress will be linear, that we will never make any mistakes, and that making a single mistake means that we can’t do it or that we shouldn’t do it.

It is exactly when we attempt to make changes in our lives that society begins to point fingers at us. When we walk in the same tune that others are walking in — the after work beers, the at-work complaining about our life sessions, and the late-night binging on junk food — everything is ok. No one has anything bad to say about us.

It is the moment that we start to do things differently — out of tune with our friends. Out of tune with society. That is when our world, it seems, turns upside down on it’s head. We have just committed the greatest, the gravest sin simply by desiring change.

This is your test. You want to be emotionally and mentally strong, It begins with your immediate surroundings. Your friends, your family. These are the people that are going to tell you no, it can’t be done.

Even something as simple as quitting smoking. You’d think that people would line right up to support you. There will always be that one friend who will feel lonely that you’re not there with them, smoking. They’ll do what they can to sabotage you. Be careful. Don’t take things as face value. There are people who will say they support you, but in fact, they don’t. They can’t. On a very subconscious level they’re simply afraid of any sort of changes around them and within them.

You can clearly witness the accomplishments of the guy or girl standing on the other side, happy and delighted that they lost the weight, kicked their smoking habit, or received the promotion at work. What you don’t see is the day to day hustle it took to get where they are now. What you don’t see is just how many friends they may have lost in the process. What you don’t see is just how many times they wanted to quit. Perhaps they did quit. They quit for a week, but then something got them back on track.

That something was the realization that they weren’t perfect, that they just needed to take this one day at a time. If they messed up one, it was ok. Just learn from the screw up and keep going. Log it. Right down exactly what time you screwed up. Why you screwed up, and think about some ways that you can prevent such a thing from taking place again.

Temptation is difficult to steer away from. Saying no to things that you used to do is hard. Making the change, and then preventing yourself from falling back into your old habits is an arduous task.

What is important to note is that the biggest losers are not the ones that attempt change and fail, but instead those that never attempt change. As Helen Keller said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long-run than out-and-out exposure, and the fearful are captured just as frequently as the bold.”

When you don’t attempt change, you don’t learn. When you don’t learn, you get stuck. You live every day with the same thoughts. The same ideas. The same worries. Over and over. It’s like groundhog day for you. You are the same now as you were five years ago, and will continue to be the same five years later.

There are two ways to acquire knowledge: 1) through experience, and 2) through the experience of others. You need both. If you rely 100% on the experience of others then you are exposing yourself to brainwashing. Is that really what you want?

You’re not perfect. You never will be. But you can be better. So let’s be better.

Originally published at on August 24, 2016.