Is The Side Hustle Culture Low Key Toxic? [6 Benefits of Slow Grow]

In our blissfully unaware preCOVID-19 existence, it seemed like we were globally obsessed with the hustle movement.  Everyone wanted to be a boss.  Everyone had to have their grand master plan already laid out.  Phases enacted.  Multiple income streams were the way to go.  And if you weren't constantly plugged in, doing all of the things all of the time, then you weren't successful.  Because you weren't...well, hustling.

Then COVID-19 hit.  Suddenly we were all forced to stop and reevaluate who and what is really important in our lives.  The goal was no longer to get there fast.  The goal was just to get there.

But where was there?  Where were we all hustling off to?

The Hare & The Tortoise

You know the Aesop's Fable about the overly confident hare who ridiculed the tortoise for moving through life at his own pace.  "Do you ever get anywhere?" the hare mocked.  Mix in a bit of coronavirus 2020 and suddenly the moral of the story, the race is not always to the swift, was not just for children.

The Oxford Languages definition of hustle means to force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction.  Dictionary.com defines hustle as to proceed or work rapidly or energetically; to push or force one's way; to be aggressive, especially in business or other financial dealings.

Imagine how many of us believed, or still do believe, that this manner of continuously forcing our lives forward in a hurried, aggressive, unceremonious way is the real road to happiness.  Is that way of life truly sustainable?  Does that type of life even sound enjoyable?

Of course, I am not suggesting that all hustling is bad or that there is not a time to force our way forward.  But the question is: is it reasonable to expect that we remain in this state for months or years of our lives?  Is it reasonable to believe that hustling is a way of life?  Can you ever get anywhere without hustling to it?  And the answer is -- yes. 

Aesop's Fable The Hare & The Tortoise

Slow Grow

Think back to many of the world's greats.  Olympians. Sports stars.  Business titans.  Philosophers.  Leaders.  One thing they all have in common is the long journey to the top.  Sure there were times when they sprinted over hurtles like the hare, but none of them would tell you they were overnight successes.  There were months, years, even decades of slow growth which compounded over time until they finally reached their goal.  That is Team Slow Grow.

The process of deliberately and consistently, layering your learnings and actions over time in a methodical and disciplined approach to reach your goal.  It is by no means a glacial pace; but it is not a manic sprint either.  But what are the benefits to this kind of progress?

To answer that we are going to look to one of the fathers of the modern science, Albert Einstein.  The following are all famous Einstein questions which point to the value of Slow Grow.

Slow Grow is not a glacial pace; but it's not a manic sprint either.

1.  The only source of knowledge is experience.

You cannot fake experience.  While there are many things you can learn through studying and debate, many of life's lessons are taught on the road of experience.  Understanding different approaches, different philosophies and viewing new horizons all come during the journey.

2.  The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

Albert said it; not me.  Don't shoot the messenger.  But consistently operating without limits is stupidity.  Period.

3.  Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.

Or in our case, a woman of value.  This one speaks to the essence of the hustle movement.  Are you trying to become a person of value to the world or just successful for yourself?  The book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki talks about this concept as well.  Truly wealthy people do not trade time for money.  They look to create value.  When you create value, wealth comes to you.

4.  The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulate the creative mind.

How can one be creative and find ways to create value for others if they constantly have their foot on the gas?  If you are forcing and pushing and grinding through every second of every day, all day; when can you find time to recharge and think?

In the words of Louise Erdrich, when do you find time to "let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness?"  Sit in that thought for a minute.  Are you a falling apple, racing through life wasting your sweetness?

5.  Peach cannot be kept by force.  It can only be achieved by understanding.

Force does not enable creativity.  Force is rigid, hard, stressful.  Force has its place but that place is not in every minute of your life.

6.  You are not behind.

This last benefit of Slow Grow is from me; not Albert.  The hustle movement runs on the premise that you are running behind others.  So you need to hustle, to push, force your way forward.  You need to catch up.

But you are not behind, Babe.  If you are in your twenties and still going to school or living at home.  You are not behind.  If you are in your thirties and don't have that corner office or that dream home; you are not behind.  If you have not yet met the love of your life; you are not behind.

You don't need a hustle.  You need a plan.  You need a deliberate and  consistent plan to layer your learnings and actions over time to help you reach your goal in a methodical manner.  Sprinkle in some time to think, be creative and find ways to add value to both your life and others; and congratulations.  You've just joined Team Slow Grow.

You are not behind.  You don't need a hustle.  You need a plan.

2 comments

  • It really is easy to get caught up in the hustle hype and think we have to do everything at lightning speed. But things that grow slowly often can do just as well, if not better, and with much less stress.

    Lindsey & Coco
  • This is so spot on and such a great reminder. The slow route I’ve always taken leads me to the end goal but it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle. Great post!

    Paper Bag Party

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