Hustle Is Worse Than Laziness

Pushing too hard sabotages our life in the same way laziness does.

Taylor Foreman
Mar 1 · 5 min read
Photo by Palash Jain on Unsplash

Two men are sitting by a fire at the base of a mountain. One wants to sit around and “chill,” despite the fact that a storm is coming and it’s their last chance to get to the top.

In anger, the other stands up and sprints toward the mountain. It’s the middle of the night. He has no supplies.

On some level, neither of them seems to want to actually make it to the top. Famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung claimed that we should look at the outcome — not the intention — to discover people’s true motivation.

A lot of us are like the sprinter. We’re so tired of being “lazy” that we run into the darkness. We may tire out in 10 minutes and be lost — but at least we did something right?

It may seem nobler to you, but from my perspective, you’re just lost and tired.

Slow Is Better Than Backward

A good mountaineer looks at the mountain he wants to climb and makes a daily plan. He takes into account his current fitness, motivation, and supplies. He doesn’t judge himself. He just notices. Based on these stark facts, he makes a reasonable plan to get to the top. More than likely, he succeeds.

When it comes to personal goals — like making X dollars, or getting X followers — all this wisdom goes out the window, doesn’t it? We say, “I SHOULD be able to work 900 hours a week!” and then we burn out — feeling like garbage and never trusting ourselves again. What’s going on here?

I think it’s deeper than just a lack of wisdom. I think it’s self-sabotage. If we can understand it… we can stop doing it.

The secret (even from ourselves) reason we ‘hustle’

We hustle so we can tell ourselves we “tried.” When we think of our deepest dreams again — we think, “Well, I already proved I can’t do that…” I don’t want to get all “shrink” on you — but could that be the outcome you were looking for? Now you have an excuse not to try, don’t you?

I used to struggle to believe stuff like this. After all, I’m me… I think I would know what I’m up to. Only, I don’t mostly. If you watch yourself like a stranger, you’ll be shocked at the crazy things you do and say. It’s so clear to everyone but you what your unconscious motivations are.

You know this already! It’s common knowledge that we see other people than we see ourselves and other people “see” us better than we do. That might be a scary thought — but if you want to actually get to the top of your mountain, you gotta face it.

Aim at 4% Outside Comfort

In the book, “The Art of Impossible” by Steven Kotler he claims that aiming at 4% outside of our comfort zone is the scientifically proven “zone of ideal proximal development.” In other words, it’s the Goldie Locks zone.

It’s a good place because it’s the mark we overshoot on both sides. Some of us stay in the comfort zone — we never push ourselves out of what is easy. Others (me) push ourselves into 20 or 30% more than we can currently do with ease. The result is a quick crash and burn — followed by self-flagellation.

If you want the best chance of climbing that mountain in front of you (debt, new job, new relationship — whatever) you gotta go slow and go often. Aim for 4% better than you can do in your sleep.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Gary Vee

Gary Vee has got a 4000-ton boulder rolling. He did it with years of tiny pushes in the same direction. Now that it’s moving, it’s rolling like hell.

Gary Vee, Oprah, or Neil Gaiman — whoever. Sure, it’s good to look up to people, but you have to realize how much inertia they have on their side. Sure, they can push a boulder at 90 mph, but they are working with a long history that you can’t see. You can’t expect yourself to put your shoulder down and get the thing rolling right away.

You need to push a little each day in the right direction. Once you get the damn thing rolling, it’ll be fun! You’ll have to force yourself to stop pushing it all day. For now, it’s OK that you only put your shoulder to it for 15 minutes a day. It’s hard when it’s not moving!

Little, daily pushes. Do what you can today — not what Gary Vee does.

Find a Daily Groove

I like the word “groove” because it feels like music. Picture your life as a montage in a movie. What music plays in the background?

If it’s a disappointing tuba solo, maybe think about what comforts you need to sacrifice. If it’s a cocaine-fueled fiddle line, maybe consider slowing down (and easing off the cocaine).

When you hit a good stride — and your daily habits are pointing in the right direction — it feels like good music. You’re hitting the bag at the right intensity. Any more would knock you off the beat. Any less would put you to sleep. It’s like flow — but over days instead of hours.

Keep Good Company

One of the hardest things to do in life is to let go of old friends — be lonely for a time — so that new people can enter your life.

Sometimes, that’s what needs to happen. We often hang on to friends that no longer serve us because we are afraid of being lonely for a little while. We can’t climb any higher because we refuse to climb down.

If you want the most out of this life, you have to climb down to climb higher. Trust that there are better hand-holds if you go back down and look for a new route. It’s either that — or sit where you are forever.

If you don’t have the company that will propel you into your new life — let it all go. Trust that something better will fill the void.

I’m still working on this one, guys. It’s not easy.

Let’s review:

  1. Go slow, go daily
  2. 4% outside the comfort zone is the sweet spot
  3. No pointless comparing
  4. Find your daily montage music
  5. Make good company by being willing to be alone

Good luck, guys. Let me know how it goes.

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