5 Mindsets That Differentiate Hustlers From The Rest Of The World

Ross Simmonds
5 min readNov 28, 2014

There are two types of people in this world, hustlers and everyone else.

I started my first business when I was in High School selling do-rags from my locker. I didn’t get rich from that business but I immediately knew I was going to be an entrepreneur when I start making more money than my class mates and wasn’t required to listen to someone else for permission. Since then, I’ve been a part of the growth of many businesses and startups as a consultant, employee and owner. One thing I’ve noticed in my career, is that I enjoy working with hustlers more than anyone else.

When I say hustler, I’m not talking about someone who does shady business or sells illegal products. I’m talking about someone whose ambition and aspirations line up together. Someone who knows what they want and are willing to make short term sacrifices takes to get what they want. Hustlers don’t make excuses when they don’t achieve their goals — they look at the issue square in the eye and accept it as a challenge and an opportunity to improve.

Hustlers are a rare breed this day and age yet it feels like everyday someone is talking about becoming a hustler without having the track record to back it up. I get the idea that hustlers are cool but let’s not confuse a work-mule with a hustler. A work mule, is always busy doing things and is often doing things that anyone else could do. A work mule is a slave to the grind and doesn’t value smart work over hard work.

A hustler is smart enough to know where they should best spend their time to achieve results and optimize their schedule accordingly.

Hustlers are willing to hire someone when they need help.
Hustlers are willing to say no to new things.
Hustlers value smart work over hard work.

A few years ago, I was grabbing coffee with a friend who runs her own technology company and she was telling me about the challenge of finding hustlers fresh out of school. She expressed that she was looking to hire someone with all the attributes of a hustler but that these traits were rare to come across. I had the same conversation a few months later when at an event with a couple executives and then again recently when helping a friend recruit talent for his startup.

For some reason, the world isn’t producing enough hustlers. Yet, it’s hustlers like Elon Musk, Jay-Z, Richard Branson,Gary Vaynerchuk, Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg who shape culture & industries, create movements and have helped moved society forward.

When Elon Musk was asked what he attributes to success, he said:

“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that….you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve.” — Elon Musk

A willingness to put in the time and optimize your schedule for results is a key differentiator. Hustlers understand that they have the same amount of time in a day as everyone else and look to use their time effectively.

Here are a few of the mindsets that differentiate hustlers from the rest of the world:

A Willingness To Die For Their Cause

While it’s been misquoted to almost every great author and professional, the quote; “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” is spot on with the hustlers mentality. Hustlers believe in an idea or vision that is bigger than the person they see when they look in the mirror.

Whether it’s a vision to help women around the world break through the glass ceiling and achieve success or create a cleaner & more sustainable world — hustlers have a dream. Upon identifying their dream, they go on a quest to make that dream a reality and leave their mark on the world.

An Intolerance Of The Status Quo

George Carlin once said, the status quo sucks. It’s blunt yet full of truth. Hustlers hate the status quo. In fact, they not only despise the status quo they have a true intolerance for the idea of accepting things as they are. To be told they cannot make a difference or make change is the equivalent of slapping them in the face. Hustlers refuse to accept the status quo and strive to constantly challenge it.

An Undeniable Love For Their Craft

Call me crazy but I wake up thinking about my craft, my projects, recent reads and my hustle. I love it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I also think about my family and all the other joys of life but my craft, my industry and everyone in it have a piece of my heart. It’s just the way hustlers are configured. Jay-Z has stated many times how much he loves his team. Richard Branson lights up when given the chance to talk about the future he’s trying to create. Hustlers love their craft and are committed to improving themselves and the world.

Rejection Is Fuel For An Internal Fire

What do Tim Burton, Madonna and Andy Warhol all have in common? Believe it or not, they were rejected. People didn’t believe in their talents and told them to go try somewhere else. Madonna was told, she wasn’t ready for the industry and it’s this rejection letter that fired her up to succeed.

Hustlers accept rejection. In fact, they take it, remember it and use it to their advantage. Call it ego, call it spite, either way, it’s a motivator that drives hustlers to work harder and succeed. I’ve had people tell me my ideas were crazy, I’m too young and that my industry is too saturated. I even had a teacher tell me I wouldn’t make it back in Jr. High. Even today, that fires me up. Hustlers find their fuel in the non believers, critics and haters.

Willing To Stumble So You Can Rise Up

To succeed, you must be willing to fail. You must be willing to risk everything to achieve your dreams and achieve the life you see for yourself and the world. It’s a crazy mindset but one that all hustlers have in common.

In a recent interview, Elon Musk stated is quoted saying, “my proceeds from PayPal were $180m. I put $100m in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla & $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.” It’s this willingness to put it all on the line for your passion that differentiates hustlers from the rest.

So tell me, what do you do that differentiates you from the rest of the pack? How are you building your own competitive advantage? Does a memory of rejection fire you up? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!