Among the very short list of things that make me cry are people who work really, really, really hard. I remember tearing up when I read Kobe Bryant’s love letter to basketball. You asked for my hustle, I gave you my heart still wrecks me to this day. (And guess what? I’m not even a fan — of neither the sport nor the player.)
I know it sounds bad but there is something strangely beautiful about watching someone almost die in the process of making their dreams come true. There is something about watching someone pour their precious blood, sweat and tears, gamble everything they have, for a shot at making something happen. I mean, those Nike ads? They sell for a reason.
Success stories, the ones where the hero practically risks his life, are inspiring as hell. There is something intoxicating, magical even, about that thing that Kobe calls the hustle.
My friend, Arriane, is the most badass superwoman hustler I know. She is a go-getter through and through, the kind of person you can trust to make things happen. There’s a line in Hamilton that applauds Alex for getting a lot farther / by working a lot harder / by being a lot smarter / by being a self-starter. Those lines totally apply to Arriane as well. I have watched her from the sidelines, in utter amazement, and find myself continuously impressed by the all the things she has built and is building.
I love these people. Also, I’m eternally jealous of them. The love outweighs the jealousy on most days.
I’m what one would call a trainwreck of a human being. Okay, that’s going too far. But I am messy. I am too scatterbrained for systems, slow on deadlines, and more than happy to take a stroll through the park rather than sprint my way to the finish line. There are days when I am glad for this. Ambition, after all, can be a drug on its own.
On other days, I’m more like this:
AKA exasperated by my chill pace and I’ll-wing-it attitude. (Not gonna say it doesn’t come in handy. It has saved my ass more times than I can count.)
The thing is: I’m not unproductive. I just have the kind of process that would never move me — or anyone, really — to tears. I’m the girl you call for the winding down, when you want the world to stop spinning, even for a little bit.
I initially wrote this because I couldn’t get over the fact that I sorely lack the go-big-or-go-home spirit so many of my heroes possess. But if there is any takeaway from this, here’s what I’d want it to be:
Your process, the kind of work you want to do and all the ways you want to get it done, is your own. The only person who gets to decide whether it sucks or not is you. There is never just one way to do things. There are, perhaps, more efficient ways but, remember, efficiency is not always the most important thing. Let’s get that out of the way. Life is complicated enough.
Fast and hard, slow and steady, or something that falls in between, if you’re making stuff that matters to you, if you’re doing things that you believe to be important, if you’re building — be it brick by brick or empire after empire — then you’ve got to give yourself some credit.
You are not here to create one thing after the other. You are not a robot. You are not part of a grand assembly line. You are not being measured or graded by how many things you get done in a day, month or year.
The act of creation, I believe, exists for something so supremely simple: that you may know yourself (and your Maker) in the process.
Make stuff. Make them the best way you know how to: your way. Unless that isn’t working. Then try something new.
Okay. That’s all I’ve got. Non-hustler shufflin’ out now. ✌