Respect the hustle

Respect the Hustle
20 July 2016

The most important skill I gained from my time as an undergrad was “hustle.” I don’t mean being able to speed-read (I learned that wasn’t really effective for me), or write a paper the night before it’s due. And I don’t mean pulling a con job or gaming the system. No, I mean doing what you have to do to get where you want when you’re backed into a corner.

A ‘to be’ a recently graduated student with little relevant work experience, I felt at a disadvantage in the job market–especially to people who had already worked for a couple years. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from at least giving it my all. I mean, that was the only thing within my power, right? If I put my best effort in and things didn’t work out, then I could at least be proud of how hard I worked to reach my goal, even if it didn’t work out. I applied to over 9 jobs that summer and finally landed one the week before school started. Life showed me, once again, that with some effort and a lot of hustle, things can work out.

That concept, that hard work can overcome the odds even when they are overwhelmingly stacked against you, inspired me to put everything I had into finding a job and finishing my thesis. The hip-hop artist moving across the country to sell his mix tapes on the street to get his name out, the writer who submits her work to publishers over and over again, the programmer who has an idea for a small start-up and goes around pitching it, that’s hustle. That’s the relentless extra effort that can turn passion and goals into reality.

In the end, it’s you, and only you;In our world of instant gratification, people get annoyed by spending lots of time and effort on any one task. But this attitude reduces our propensity to commit. And committing the time, energy, focus, effort, and resources to work on something is the only way to master or achieve it. You and only you can determine how much effort you put in. No one else is going to, or can, do it for you. Yes, you can ask others for help and there’s absolutely no shame in that, but even then you are still solely responsible for yourself and your own effort. No matter what you’re doing, whether you’re pursuing a passion, dream, goal, or idea, it’s up to you to put in the time, energy, and hustle to make it happen.