artist // designer // entrepreneur

The Difference Between Working Hard & The Hustle™

Today I read this great article by Kyle Bragger, a gifted designer and entrepreneur, titled Stop Working (so hard), where he talks about how The Hustle™ being bullshit. I have much respect for Kyle and even agree with most of what's being said but I disagree on some parts.

I've worked hard most of my life. So have many others and when someone says that doing so is bullshit, although it’s a rare occasion, I have to speak out. My mom is a single parent and raised me in some of the roughest parts of the city, in the third world country we lived in. I've lived in poverty. I’ve taught myself design, went to college, and studied hard while working to pay for my own living expenses. Much of what I have and currently accomplish is by working hard with sleepless nights, long days and little time for myself. Many of us have similar stories of working hard.

Many great people have built major companies by hustling and working hard. One of them being Steve Jobs. I point this out because 'hustle' and 'working hard' are completely different things in business. Hustle is simply outsmarting your competitors, not out working them. What Steve Jobs did with Xerox by using their technology, was a hustle. What Bill Gates did in turn to Steve Jobs, was also a hustle. The ethics of it is questionable but none of that had anything to do with working hard.

I remember one year, I hustled my way into TechCrunch Disrupt. What does that mean, you wonder? Did I volunteer? No way! I copied, photoshopped and printed their badge and walked my happy ass in as press with a “backstage pass” - took me 5 minutes to do. Quite often in the tech world this is seen has 'hacking' but it's not working hard.

You won't find this definition of 'hustle' in the dictionary but look back at some of the biggest hustles and you'll realize - it has nothing to do with working hard but rather, working smart.

In Kyle's post, the mistake is looking at the two in the same light but they're not - not by a long shot.

I completely agree with the sentiments on the results of working hard. I'm struggling with some of it, mostly its effect on relationships, but it is not bullshit. It needs to be controlled which is what I think the point of the article is. It's what my girlfriend tries to tell me everyday. She always says, "Stop working so hard, you're missing what's going on around you." That's what rings so true in Kyle's post.

Despite that being true, the article does not take into consideration an important point. Kyle, by most standards, is an accomplished designer and entrepreneur, and with it brings credibility. With such credibility, one's professional life and ventures become a little easier. Of course hard work is still necessary but the experience ascertained over the past decade or so of Kyle's professional career can give more result in 2hrs then with most people's one week of work. It does not mean that working hard is bullshit and in no way does hustling mean the same.

All these factors when considered, allows one to work a little less and live life. I think it's what every individual should aspire to - not for fame and riches but to reach a point in life, when you're still young, where you can work less, live more and spend time with your loved ones. That's what I aspire to and I'm inspired knowing Kyle has reached that point.