Suggesting that you give up the hustle to win is not something most high achievers will say. It feels hard to believe that the gospel of “working hard gets you to where you want to go” is bad advice. Don’t get me wrong, the training, learning, growing, is always the critical path to become excellent. Hustling, however, is a mindset. Hustling suggests sacrificing who and what you are now to get to a better future, and it is exhausting and counterproductive.
The strange thing about the hustle mindset is that it holds you back from your full potential.
Have you known:
- Couples who try for years to have a baby, and the moment they become detached from the idea, they get pregnant?
- Anyone who has dated for years, and the moment they “stop dating,” they meet an extraordinary partner?
- Athletes who get so absorbed in winning a championship that they lose vs the team that is simply “in the zone”?
- Business owners, who spend so much energy on marketing that it comes across as graspy and burn themselves out vs the businesses that love what they do so much they easily attract customers without seeming to try?
These are examples of getting to a goal by giving up the hustle.
What I am describing here is the mindfulness concept of giving up the attachment to the result.
Common fallacies when you are attached to a result:
- You will feel better once you have “it.” We are all guilty of this fallacy. We think graduating from school, getting a job, living a particular lifestyle, finding a partner, losing 10 pounds, etc., will make us happier. The problem is that we still have a human brain where ever we go. Once we arrive at the new house, with the new wife, new car, and new job, we still feel like crap half the time because that is what human brains do, even with all the stuff.
- If you are struggling, you can’t be having fun. The truth is that there is no destination. The whole thing is the journey. I am making my way through Jon Kabat Zinn’s Masterclass, and I love the part where he reminds us that the entire point of meditation is not to get us anywhere. We are perfect in who we are right now. The purpose of meditation is to BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT.
- The more you are committed and focused on the goal timeline, the faster you will get there. The brain just does not work that way. We are distracted beings. Our brains need to rest, regroup, and catch up with themselves to get to the destination. Time becomes a distraction and a stressor. Notre Dame took 200 years to build. Think about it. The architect who designed it never imagined that he would see the finished result, nor did his children, but they built it anyway.
- There is no timeline except the timeline in our heads. We make it all up. Why is college for four years? I have no idea, except that someone made that up at some point, and we all accepted it. Are you behind if it takes you five years? No, it was meant to take five years because that is how long it took. It doesn’t mean anything.
Engaging in the journey is everything.
The irony is that once you are no longer attached to the outcome, you can become emotionally present enough to engage in the journey fully, and the more likely you are to succeed. The athletes who meditate, like the LA Lakers, including Lebron James, comment that it “calms them down,” but really, I suspect that the meditation brings them into the moment and helps them let go of the attachment.
There is some neuroscience behind it as well. The striving, hustling, attachment to winning mindset is all in the amygdala, the stress, fight or flight part of the brain, and survival mechanisms. The folks that work from this part of the brain burn out eventually.
After mindfulness practices, meditation, and releasing the attachment, the pre-frontal cortex and the insular cortex ( the segment that creates emotional intelligence) part of the brain light up with functional MRIs. When you slow down, you make smarter decisions. Slow down and allow yourself to think, plan, imagine.
Dare to slow down. It is incredible what you will discover.