Spike the Kool-Aid/Financial Flippers/The Cost of Constant Hustling

The Cost of Constant Hustling

Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Cost of Constant Hustling

Growing up around the entertainment industry and spending 15+ years in it professionally meant that I was always around a community of people who not only loved what they did, but were also constantly on “the hunt” for the next gig.

For me, it was exhausting, but I found it necessary.

For others, I think it’s exhilarating and something they truly love to do.

Now, I’m not sure which camp you sit in, but I came across an excerpt from a book (which I will share below) that made me want to bring up this conversation.

Because I think the hustle culture promotes the narrative that it’s the “price we pay” for loving what we do, when in fact it has more to do with money; at least, for me, it did.

When I was living in NYC, I had this dream of starting up a group of people that just loved singing together. We would try different harmonies, write new songs, discover fun arrangements, and instantly become best friends because we were with others doing what we loved to do.

But I learned something very quickly: nobody had time for a hobby, especially one that didn’t pay.

I mean, walk down the streets of New York, “accidentally” run into someone, and see how they respond. My bet is that this person is going to be a little pissed because they were going from Point A to Point B, and YOU got in the way.

They don’t have time for a Point C.

And it’s not just strangers. Everyone I knew was so incredibly busy.

One of the apartments I lived in had four bedrooms and six of us living there. Most of us were best friends from college. And you know what? I ran into other friends on the streets of New York more often than I saw some of my own roommates.

We were all so busy.

We were hustling.

In the entertainment industry, gigs are rarely open-ended. There is a start date and an end date, which means that you’re constantly stuck in this short-term mindset and can only think from gig to gig.

You’re never able to really think about the long-term.

Even working at Disney World, we were on one-year contracts and were often reminded by the casting team during our annual contract negotiations that we had a “shelf life.” (Fun, right?) My wife and I saw working at Disney as an “extended regional gig,” which also meant that we were always working to build up different opportunities in addition to our full-time jobs. Because…we had a shelf life. The job was going to end at some point. We just didn’t know when.

So if we’re constantly hustling, how was life supposed to happen around all of this?

Apparently, the hustle culture has existed since the 1970s. But regardless of when it started, or even how it started, it really only matters if you adopt this mindset into your life.

What I realized was that I had been hustling so hard … for money. But I didn’t have a plan for any of it. So I constantly needed money because I never had any. Instead of pushing back against the constant hustle, I assumed I didn’t have money because I wasn’t hustling hard enough.

Sound familiar?

And that created a cycle of me never feeling like I was working enough, and that I had to say “yes” to every opportunity whether I wanted to or not.

But guess what? That didn’t work either. I just sat around, frustrated, and constantly wondered where all of my money went, ASSUMING that I was destined to never have money - to live my life as a “starving artist.” And so that became a belief I adopted.

I felt so limited by my career, and felt that I was doomed to be in this financial mess forever simply because I chose to pursue a career I loved over one that made me money.

I mean, how shitty is that?!

However, all of that would have changed if I had simply assumed more control over my money - because that would have led to me taking back control over my time.

My wife said something the other day that I thought was pretty powerful:

“The more we blame external factors, the less power we are leaving for ourselves.”

I truly believe we are more in control of our financial situations than we think we are. And there is this narrative I’m noticing which is pushing people to hustle and make more money because more money is presented as THE THING that will make the problems go away.

But you know what making more money means? It means you spend more. Money really only makes us more of who we already are. So if healthy money habits were never established with $50, why would we assume they would magically get better with $5,000?

Coming from someone who has invested a lot of themselves in the “hustle culture,” believing that more money would be the key to financial freedom, not one of those gigs I took paid me more than the amount of money my wife and I saved by simply creating a budget and having a plan.

We immediately saw ourselves looking at opportunities differently. We didn’t HAVE to say yes anymore. We had the ability to choose what we wanted to pursue and which projects lit us up.

Now, you know I like to spike the Kool-Aid, so there are some things we have to do in order to make sure the bills are paid.

I get that.

But my point is that we didn’t have to hustle for it.

Simply getting control of our money meant my wife and I were no longer stuck in a short-term mindset. We saw the bigger picture. Our conversations went from, “must be nice” to “that’s going to be amazing.” We knew how to achieve our goals in a way that promoted a healthier work-life balance. And when you start having the ability to say no to these gigs, you begin to value your time differently. You value yourself differently. And that creates a kind of freedom that’s really difficult to put a price on.

Regardless of what your job is, you are still your own business. It is your job to stand in your truth, know your worth, and protect your values; because a J.O.B. is not going to do that for you.

Here is what Rachel Pedersen describes as “hustle culture.” This is an excerpt taken from her book “Unfiltered.”

"To Hustle or Not to Hustle (and 8 steps to try instead):

What is hustle, anyway?

Hustle is unfocused (though still hard) work. It’s kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that a noodle or meatball sticks.

Hustle culture is the embodiment of fear—it’s fear driven business building instead of business building from a place of abundance. It’s the belief that everything you’ve built could disappear at any point—that if you don’t work incessantly, someone will take it away from you.

Building a business should be about the journey of discovering what you have to offer is worthy; meanwhile, hustle is basically feeding into all the lies that you’ll never be worthy.

I adamantly believe that hustle culture and methods like the 100-hour work week (yes, that’s a thing) prevent more women, mothers, and multi-passionate humans from creating businesses.

INSTEAD, try this:

1. Break Things Down into Manageable Tasks
2. Embrace Productive Sprints
3. Find Deadline Flexibility Where You Can
4. Remember That It’s Not a Competition
5. Pace Yourself
6. Be Aware of the Highlight Reel
7. You Are More Than Your Business
8. Keep Track of Changing Seasons"

Hustle culture often pushes us to prioritize money and achievements over our personal pursuits and long-term well-being. And if we continue to relentlessly pursue money and status, it’s going to eventually take a toll on our time and overall happiness.

If we can adopt a healthier perspective around money, make more informed decisions based on our goals, and thereby take control of our time, we can escape the hustle trap and enjoy a more fulfilling life - doing what it is that we love (and want) to do.

Remember, it’s not about how much you hustle, but the quality of life you create.

Stay Curious,



Kyle Fowler

Founder of Financial Flippers

The personal finance world is packed with TONS of information. And while it's not all bad, it's not all good. I work hard to make sure I am sharing helpful content that keeps you on track while still providing different perspectives. If you ever have questions, want to share ideas for other topics, or want to know more, shoot me an email: kyle@financialflippers.com

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