Improving Your Hustle

Hustle is in my blood. It was in the blood of my parents, who got it from their parents. Hustle was passed down to me from generation to generation. Now, hard work is all I know.

If I don’t know something, or don’t understand something the first time around, it’s not an issue. I don’t give up, I don’t let someone else handle it, and I certainly don’t forget about it. I work at it, I improve myself by working my way through any problem that comes my way, mental or physical. I’ve spoken before at length about being born with hustle and having it instilled into me and perfected during my youth, so I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’re hearing about it. If you’re not sure what I mean by hustle, read my previous post. Explaining the concept again here would waste my time and the time of everyone else reading this. There are simply not enough hours in a day for me to waste them repeating myself. I’ve got to hustle.

And you do too. But I understand that not everyone is born with the same work ethic. Perhaps even more so, not everyone is raised by parents who are as hardworking, no-nonsense providers as mine. Maybe things were handed to you on the metaphorical gold platter–maybe they were handed to you on a literal gold platter. Regardless, it’s not too late to learn how to hustle.

As I said in my last post, hustle is a mindset. It isn’t just about doing the work, it’s about understanding the fact that the work needs to be done, and you need to be the one who does it. This is the first step in improving your hustle.

Understand The Necessity and Implications

You’ll be hard-pressed to meet someone who outwardly talks about loving hard-work. People like that are few and far between, but you can become one of them–one of the hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone hustlers. Before you can do the hard work, however, you need to understand why you’re doing it, and why you’re reading this blog.

Hustle isn’t just about getting your work done early on Friday so you can slip out of the office at 3 p.m. Hustle is about getting your work done early on Friday so that you can grab a cup of coffee and start next week’s work. Whether or not you genuinely enjoy sitting in your office and filing reports or negotiating a potential contract is neither here nor there-those things need to be done whether or not they’re done with a smile on your face. So why not enjoy it? (there will be a link to the “business as a game post here). Hard work is necessary wherever and whenever you work, so hammer that into your head again and again until.

 

Don’t Sulk Over a Tough Situation-Change It

Let’s put this out there early–sulking isn’t going to accomplish anything. Sulking is going to be another time-suck that will only exacerbate your already tough situation. Pouting about being too far behind on your work or having to stay a few extra hours at the office is essentially the opposite of someone with hustle. Instead of sulking about your bad situation, change it. Take charge and step up, text your husband or wife to tell them you’ll be missing dinner and do the work. Cut out time spent checking your phone and chatting with coworkers and do what needs to be done before you’ve fallen into a downward spiral of procrastination and despair.

 

Make it a Habit

Here’s the closer–the final point that will make or break your hard work ethic and your nature as someone who hustles. Make hard work a habit, not an occasional occurrence. Scientists estimate that it takes 21 days to form a habit. You could take that and push yourself towards hard-work for 21 straight days, dust yourself off and consider that an accomplishment. Or you could throw that in the back seat and make hustling second nature. Hustle day in and day out not just for 21 days so you can check off a box on your to-do list–hustle for everything, everyone and for the rest of your life.

If hard work doesn’t come easy for you, there are plenty of places you could look to find who or what is to blame. Today though, instead of playing the blame-game, fix it.

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The Importance of Hustle

In my last blog post I wrote about tapping into your inner untapped potential. Peppered throughout the medium-length thought piece that I hope helped some readers was the idea of “hustle.”

Today, the word carries a largely negative connotation. When we think of someone who “hustles,” we think of a con man or scam artist–someone who gets by in life by deceiving others and profiting him or herself. But the word hustle didn’t originate with any ill intentions, because that’s not what the word implies in a business or personal sense.

Ask any athlete what it means to hustle. Better yet, ask Major League Baseball all-time hits leader Pete Rose, also known by his nickname “Charlie Hustle.” Rose didn’t get this nickname by deceiving others or lying (that occurred later in his life), he earned the nickname by giving the metaphorical 110% effort on each and every play. Athletes from little league to the pros will back this notion up: hustle is the effort, the do-or-die mentality that shapes who you are. Hustle is running out a pop-up in the infield or risking your body to make a tackle when the game is all but over. Hustle is more than just what you do, it’s a mentality.

And hustle can make or break you in your business and personal life.

When my grandparents emigrated to the United States from Russia two generations ago, they didn’t come with full wallets, investment portfolios or fallback options. They came with a mentality that they instilled upon their children, which my parents instilled upon me: hustle.

They say when it comes to weight loss that it’s easier to keep yourself thin when you’re 20 than it is to try to get your overweight 30-year-old body back into it’s 20-year-old shape. The same can be said for business. It’s easier to stay on top and stay successful than it is to recover from a fall or build a successful business from the ground-up. But like staying in shape, building a business can be accomplished through hard work and perseverance.

If you have the hustle you don’t need a ton of capital, you can earn it. If you have the hustle you don’t need to find opportunity, you should create it. The real importance of hustle isn’t just in capitalizing on a business opportunity or lead presented to you, it’s going out and finding those opportunities and creating them from scratch.

So where does hustle come from? For many, it’s intrinsic, given to them as a gift during the formative years by parents or guardians. Watching your parents work day in and day out to provide for your family shows you first-hand the value of hustle. Taking handouts and gimmies from people doesn’t teach hustle or provide a means to an end–in fact, it might create more problems than it solves.

Hustle can also manifest itself in someone over time, as it did in the case of my grandparents. They needed to hustle to feed the hungry mouths of their children. They were the defining force of hustle in my life that helped to instill that mentality across generations and ensure that I would continue their legacy of hard work and a “never settle” attitude.

Keep on hustling.