Chris Rock has a hilarious bit about the ridiculous negative stereotypes that some parents use to qualify their parenting skills.
As an example, he riffs on phrases some parents might say like, “I take care of my kids” as if this is some great accomplishment, to which Rock’s exasperated response is, “Well duh, you dumb mothafucka. You’re SUPPOSED to take care of your kids!”
It’s forehead-smackingly obvious, right?
Well, this level of “No Shit, Sherlock” is the point at which I feel the state of entrepreneurial thought has devolved to — especially the constant emphasis on “hustle.”
It’s all a bit self-explanatory, isn’t it?
Yes, wake up early. Yes, do what needs to be done.
Read more. Less TV. Work really hard on the projects you care about.
(They’re your projects, after all. Duh.)
This isn’t new information.
People understood this way before 7,000 inspirational Instagram accounts littered the internet. And if you’ve already been hustling, this advice isn’t necessarily useful or inspiring.
Doesn’t it go deeper than this?
Here’s the problem with the hype about hustle…
We have this mistaken belief that with enough hustle, grit, grind, [insert tired Instagram platitude], we can achieve any outcome.
It’s a nice fairytale. But it’s false.
Sometimes things aren’t ready to happen yet.
There are literally millions of other factors at play in the world that you can’t see — and no matter how hard you hustle, you cannot produce a miracle by force.
Stop trying to force things.
I’m not saying you should aim low, or that you shouldn’t set goals and work towards them. The problem isn’t with goal setting or ambition.
The problem is what to do with our emotions during the in-between phases, when our reality doesn’t match our grand vision for life.
We must learn to become more comfortable in a state of waiting. Not hoping without planning. Not ambivalence towards the results. But simply putting in the work, then waiting for the results to appear whenever they are ready.
What’s so uncomfortable about waiting, after all? We can’t stand waiting for anything anymore. It’s outrageous.
Can’t wait for a movie to hit theaters. Gotta stream it
!Can’t wait in line for my food. Better get it delivered!
Can’t wait for the second date. Give me the sex now!
Can’t wait for my life to be great. Want it all now!
You’d think delayed gratification was the end of the world.
Nah, son. Delayed gratification, by definition is the world.
The earth is 4.5 billion years old and life as we know it has been around for an infinitesimally small fraction of that time.
For 99.9% of this planet’s existence, the sun was rising and setting. Volcanoes were exploding. Seasons were changing. The earth was busy doing it’s thing without the presence of a single witness.
It wasn’t ready for life yet. Then one day, life.
(Took you long enough, stupid planet! Perhaps we should have told the earth to hustle harder next time?)
Here’s the truth…
Sometimes life just takes a while to develop, and no matter how hard you push, it’s simply not the right time for things to pop off for you.
Force doesn’t work as a long term strategy for growth or progress.
Since you can’t force anything to happen, the only thing you can do is adjust your perspective.
You have to change the way you think about waiting.
Learn to go from a mindset that associates waiting with pain and discomfort, to one that looks towards the future with optimism. Don’t even waste energy obsessing about what you’re lacking in the present.
My advice: continue to get things done and work hard.
Yes, hustle. That’s obvious.
But don’t obsess over timetables for when things “must” happen. Trust me, you’ll be disappointed almost every time. Just put in the work and let life unfold.
Give the Universe space to do it’s work while you do yours, and when the thing you want finally does happen for you, let it be a happy, albeit not entirely unexpected surprise.
In other words, chill, bruh.