When I was five years old, I brought my first ‘manuscript’ to my elementary school’s ‘Publishing Center,’ where my 25 typed pages (with full-color illustrations about a guinea pig named Peanut’s adventures on a deserted island) would then be spiral-bound, laminated, and presented to me at the end of the week with a fancy green ribbon and green pencil.

There it was, my first (of many) publications. The beginning of the hustle.

From that first Kindergarten story, I went on to fill over fifteen full notebooks of writing (with gel pens, of course—it was the 90’s!) by fourth grade, and by the time I entered college, I was writing articles for over 20 blogs and magazines and working over 35 hours per week as a university editor and admin assistant, while playing full-time collegiate softball and managing a triple-major degree program.

The hustle mindset has always been in my blood. In fact, I’m driven by it.

That’s why when I first started seeing articles on the exact opposite—on learning to rest, on the idea that working really hard actually decreases your overall productivity—I balked.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand the value of taking breaks and learning to live your life in balance. In fact, I enjoy writing on these topics to help people understand that it’s not about running yourself ragged, it’s about figuring out your personal work ethic.

But there’s something to be said about actually working your a$$ off for the things you want.

In an interview with Grant Cardone, multi-millionaire and New York Times bestselling author, he said, “Most people work 9-to-5. I work 95 hours [per week]. If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9-to-5 and start doing 95.”

That equates to around 14-hours of work per day.

While I can fully recognize that working that many hours each day doesn’t actually work for most people and sometimes isn’t physically possible, I have to admit that agree with everything Cardone says.

I worked 12 to 14-hour days in college. After graduation, I was a full-time Staff Writer and Editor for a thriving magazine with over 30 million monthly readers. And at the same time, I also worked part-time at a daycare center to keep connected with my passion for working with children. On top of that, I launched and ran four blogs/websites, and five different social media sites (not including the ones I was involved in for work). The hustle was real; I was busy as hell.

And I was thriving.

At that time, and any moment after that when I was running full-speed ahead, I never felt more aligned to my personal goals, to my professional drive, and to the person I was not only trying to become, but already was.

When I was working hard, I felt good. The hustle was what kept the blood rushing through my veins. And while some of my friends and coworkers were complaining about their 9-to-5 jobs and feeling stuck, I was actively creating the life I wanted.

Over 70% of people say they don’t like their jobs. They’re unsatisfied, unhappy, and unfulfilled.

But why?

Research points to the idea of praise addiction—we are driven by outward praise and approval for our success—as being the largest factor in our dissatisfaction. But in my opinion, this searching for outward approval is nonexistent when you’re driven by a mindset of hustle and hard work.

If you’re the one driving yourself forward, if you’re the one pushing yourself, working extra hours and building the life you’ve always dreamed of, then approval is irrelevant.

You’re not looking for someone else to validate you because you know you’re doing the absolute best you can. And you know that you’ll get to the place, the career, the level you want because you are the determining factor in getting there.

Our society presents us contradicting perspectives. There is plenty of research that supports the idea of rest increasing productivity—and let’s be honest, everyone rests and needs rest. But too much rest and relaxation can’t beget the life you’re really striving for.

How can you actively build a better future for yourself if you’re prioritizing rest over hard work?

If you truly want to beat the competition, you have to learn to work smarter and harder. They’re not mutually exclusive.

Lately, I’ve seen more and more articles about the value of resting, slowing down, giving yourself time and easing the pressure off yourself to be the best. But I have to disagree. Sometimes the way to be the best is to give yourself the incentive to grow. And you can’t grow if your mindset is on anything other than kicking yourself in the butt.

It may be an unpopular opinion, but if you really want to build that business, chase that dream, move up in that career, and create a life you’re truly proud of—then you can’t keep making excuses and taking breaks.

We only have a certain amount of hours each day to be productive.

How are you going to choose to spend yours?
 

Featured Image Credit: TONL

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