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  • Writer's pictureBassam Tarazi

For Those Who Want To Stop Hustling One Day

My wife has hijacked a mantra I say to myself before doing something uncomfortable. “Mongol Rally.” Conjuring up the memory of the almost 10,000-mile journey reminds me that—whatever I’m currently facing—I’ve done hard things. I will get through this.

I say she hijacked it because while I might say it to myself before a trek, a speech, or a marathon day of travel, now she says it to me when I’m whining about going to another store when I’m hungry.

“You’ll be fine if we go to West Elm first. Mongol Rally.”

Finding out the edges of our mental and physical capabilities can provide levity, perspective, and calm in everyday stressful situations. That board presentation isn’t so hard once you’ve given a talk on stage.

But the danger of finding that edge is when you mistake your capacity to do something with the need to normalize it.

Unfortunately, this happens all the time when it comes to how some folks approach their work.

Even after all of the supposed self-reflection of the pandemic, I have a bunch of coaching clients who are still stuck in a perpetual state of “go” because they once discovered that they could push themselves to crazy limits.

If you're in that same boat, I ask, "To what end?" Surely, the point of advancing in your career, or starting your own endeavor isn’t to “rise and grind” forever, right?

Hopefully, you’re hustling to gain access, leverage, a new vantage point, or a new skill; one that helps you approach life or business in a different way so that you are more effective and purposeful in what you are doing; so that you can “embrace the chill” from time to time.

Too often, I find that someone’s capacity, or “rise and grind” mentality, is just a byproduct of being distracted. What looks like hustle is a lack of focus.

A “Mongol Rally” mindset is not an excuse to stay in peak grind. It's about about having confidence in your ability for strategic, selective hustle when need be.

Liam Neeson’s character in Taken didn’t want to showcase his particular set of skills. In fact, he only went there because he had to. He’d much rather be relaxing, since he spent so much time and effort acquiring those skills in the first place.

Nobody should be pitching a tent, long-term, on a craggy summit, voluntarily, if the only thing they’re getting out of it is time in an unrelenting environment.

There’s a scene in Weekend At Bernie’s where the two main characters, Richard and Larry, are ogling at everything in Bernie’s mansion:

Richard: You see, Larry. You work hard, and all this can be yours.

Larry: My old man worked hard. All they did was give him more work.

A sad reality for sure, even sadder if you’re Larry’s dad, and the “they” in that sentence is your own self.

In other words, if the only reward for your hustle is more hustle, then you’re not doing it right.

Be audacious. Do hard things. Stretch yourself. But don't let that elastic tension become a permanent mold, otherwise you'll be on a hamster wheel of your own design; a whirlwind of "do" without any real direction.

All go and no think is not hustle, it’s a hassle.


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