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The Glorified Hustle Culture: Motivation or Self-Destruction?

The young generation, especially those with urban life, is currently facing an inevitable problem: hustle culture. It is well-known that the pace of life in a city is fast and full of pressure. Everyone needs hard work to survive, and it is necessary to fulfill their living costs. However, the definition of hard work has become vague nowadays, raising the question; what parameters define hard work? 

Looking at the young people surrounding me, they assume that hard work means to work or study as much as possible so they will not fail in the end. This mindset often leads them to burnout, mental exhaustion, and even physical illness because of stress. The worse thing is social media is actually the one that takes the biggest part in promoting this unhealthy lifestyle. As someone who also uses social media, I see endless posts promoting a “work hard to succeed” lifestyle. These kinds of posts could motivate you to start doing something or achieve your goals. However, there are also negative impacts that could affect them, such as the feeling of guilt or the pressure to equalize themselves to fit into the standard of success. It is easy to notice those extreme study content, such as “10 hours study with me” videos on YouTube that show someone studying for 10 hours without any break. Those kinds of content make the young generation more accustomed to the idea of toxic productivity.

“Brittany Wong (2021) explained that phenomenon as the unhealthy desire to be productive all the time, even when its detriments out mental and physical health, the need to go the “extra mile” even when nobody expects you to.

Because of that unhealthy definition of hard work, many people from the young generation suffer from a lack of sleep and severe mental health conditions. Hustle culture also could attack someone’s self-esteem about themselves. Sadly, it has become normal for us to compete to achieve as much as possible, no matter what it takes. Endless comparisons in the field of achievements push them to become someone who never feels enough and does not tolerate any failure, or they will feel left behind. The dangers behind hustle culture are never-ending. If youngsters continue living in this culture, it can lead to self-destruction.

 According to Headversity, a professional organization that aims to increase mental health in the professional world, hustle culture puts someone’s body in a fight or flight mode.

 This constant stress causes the stress hormone cortisol to be released in greater quantities and for no longer periods of time. In order to normalize elevated cortisol levels, the body needs to enter a state of rest with a proper and enough amount of rest. The constant stress will only damage both mental and physical health. Prolonged high cortisol levels are linked to a variety of negative outcomes, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, memory impairments, and more.

Increased stress levels will also lead to decreased professional productivity, which means making someone have a high standard of achievement to gain personal satisfaction instead of increasing the workload to produce quality work. By improving individual productivity, someone will feel less stressed and even calm. This can be started by stopping comparing yourself to people on social media. We need to understand that what they do to achieve their goals is not always compatible with us. Everyone is different and has their own way of achieving their goals.


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