hustle, hustle culture, motivation, inspiration, self development, the grind

The internet… I love it and I hate it. I love the internet for obvious reasons – it drives practically everything we do today. I also love the internet in that there are little barriers to entry when it comes to changing your life. Say school wasn’t your thing – the internet offers many non-traditional avenues to still be successful and make a bit of moolah. I love the internet because of how easy it is spread to information, this can be a double edged sword as people often tend to spread fake news, but if you want world news fast, or if there’s anything you want to learn, or inspiration that you’re seeking, you can find the answer you’re looking for somewhere on the internet. For example, I just watched a video about productivity, and that motivated me to do something productive with my da (I drafted this post on a Sunday).

But… there’s the side of the internet that makes me roll my eyes. For one, social media is used as a drug by many to seek approval by showing off what they have. A lot of us (I put my hand up – I’ve done it in the past), have flexed a little for the gram; some people even make careers out of flexing for everyone on the interwebs. In recent years, the side of the internet that has me raising an eyebrow has been the glamorisation of the grind.

The grind: Don’t sleep – just WORK. Otherwise you won’t be successful. What did you do during the pandemic? Did you invest, start a business, or you just sat there being UNPRODUCTIVE?! Alright – how. many. revenue. streams. do. you. have?! FIRE guys – financial independence retire early – engrave that shit into your mind

The glamorisation of the “grind” is one I’ve bit hmm’ing over as, of course, I don’t think its bad to feel motivated to work hard and achieve; in fact I’ve spent a lot of time speaking about it here on this blog. I’ve written and spoken about how to balance working 9-5 with other projects; I’ve mentioned side hustles maybe 100 times in the past; I wrote last year about investing and indeed I saw the market bottom out and bought during the pandemic. I always like to work on different projects because I enjoy it – be it this blog, my fitness page or my own other projects…

But at the same time what I’ve come to realise is that sometimes – it’s okay just to do nothing. It’s okay just to… live.

It’s okay to have spent the entire Christmas break sleeping and watching Netflix because you needed a break. It’s okay not to work until the early hours of the morning on a project that’s meant to make you a millionaire and secure your entry into Forbes’ 30 under 30. It’s actually okay to be happy in your 9-5 and not everybody needs to be an entrepreneur.

The glamorisation of the grind is such that doing all of these things isn’t acceptable anymore. Everybody needs to be out there and grinding 24/7 otherwise you’re doing life wrong. I remember the “deepest” I’ve been into this narrative was in 2018 – I was working in investment banking as I am now, still blogging but yet to start my fitness blog, and was working to start up my own clothing business. I’d work long hours every day at my 9-5 8-8, come home from work and cook myself dinner, and then sit on my laptop until the early hours of the morning working on my blog and this business. It’s not bad to stay up late working on things that you are passionate about – I still do it today. But I wasn’t resting and I experienced burn out super quick. Eventually, the quality of what I was doing took a nose dive as well as I didn’t have the energy to do things to a good enough standard. When it came to socialising and going out, I was starting to feel incredibly guilty – how could I be out, enjoying myself until late at night when I should be grinding 24/7 – surely successful people didn’t do such until they had “made it”?!

In 2019 I decided to take a step back from the must-grind-all-the-time mentality as I was totally burned out, and in 2020 I felt motivated again to step back into the ring but this time I had a bit of a better strategy. I worked on the things I was passionate about and I worked on them super hard, but I organised my time better and I rested when I needed to. I also appreciated that life was different for many people – whilst some of us had so much more free time during the COVID lockdowns, I recognised that things could be so emotionally taxing on people that sometimes just coming out of COVID and lockdowns feeling okay was also something to prioritise. I gave up the mindset that everybody must be doing 100 million different things to be successful, and I rolled my eyes at the glamorisation of 24/7 grinding no matter what on social media.

A good example has been in 2021 already. During the Christmas holidays I was probably sleeping between 3-4am every day and waking up 10am at the earliest. Once I went back to work last Monday, I tried to regulate my sleep a little bit but I was only able to bring it back to ~2-2.30am whilst still waking up at 8am (it was a weak attempt, I’ll be honest). So I spent Sunday regulating my sleep – yesterday morning I woke up at 1pm. A whole 1pm was when I got up and finally started my day. Kemi in 2018 who was getting high off of the grind would have just woken up early and marched through the tiredness – all the while, the tiredness leading me to put out poor results in whatever I touched. I rested yesterday, and made some time to film a video for my fitness page, do a workout, draft this blog post, work on a new project, post 2 Instagram photos and watch many, many, many hours of guilt-free Game of Thrones. And if I’d realised I didn’t have the energy for some of those things, I wouldn’t have done them yesterday.

What I’m trying to say is – do what you want. If you’re happy in your 9-5, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you’re unhappy and want to start your own business – then work hard to do that. If you’re happy with your income, then be happy with it; but if you want to make more, then indeed, generating different passive income streams may be what’s right for you. If you’re finding lockdown hard and you want to spend more time watching Netflix – go for it. If you see lockdown and working from home as the perfect time to finally start that business you’ve been dreaming of making for years, then that’s fine too. It’s fine to get inspired by others and find out what others have done to achieve what you think is success – but just don’t let anybody tell you that what you’re doing is wrong. We all have our own paths in life and its important to live in our truths rather than chasing the dreams of others. The key here is to get back into the mindset of just living sometimes, than glamorising a life of constant work.

PS: If you’re doing exams – you better get your life and grind.

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