Not long ago, the idea for this article was inspired by a meeting. This meeting wasn’t expected. To add, nobody was actually supposed to have met; nobody even communicated. I was just eating a foot-long Subway while people-watching. This is when the meeting occurred: the individual who would go on to inspire this very article. This very individual was a soon-to-be adult.
A teenager who wore a hoodie that oozed the today-world thinking. As the teen confidently walked in with his father and girlfriend, the youngster turned his back to me and unveiled a big dollar sign. Accompanying the sign, was this…
“Hustle culture is life”
To me, this is destructive: it is already setting the future man— and, millions worldwide — up for a life of false happiness and zero contentment. How can one go on to become whole when one cannot see the whole picture? It isn’t a coincidence that the most unadorned lives are the happiest.
For Epicurus, the most satisfying life is…
“one where we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve an inner tranquility”
I do not believe one bit that the richest are the happiest. I do not believe one bit that the wealthiest nations are the cheerfullest. There are way too many routes in getting buried in social comparisons and pressures.
Money and happiness do not go hand in hand; that is one of the biggest drawbacks of humanity. We seem to think that this “hustle culture” is the key to printing a permanent smile on our faces.
If one has such a smile, I will liken it to The Jokers.
Correct me if I am wrong (as I am sure there are people on here who reside in the nations I am about to mention), but the countries that aren’t first-world — considering if they’re war-torn — are less likely to feel disappointed with themselves.
In my country, the United Kingdom, mental health is teeming. With it being the fifth richest country in the world (United States, China, Japan and Germany outrank us), many would assume it would be happier. However, that is far from reality.
I asked the question on Google, how bad is depression in the UK? Here’s the result:
Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. 4–10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime.
According to a survey in 2017, the United Kingdom ranked seventh depressed nation in the western world. And, according to an international analysis by WHO, the U.S and China are third and first (in that order) in countries considerably impacted by mental health.
With the U.S and China being the first and second wealthiest nations on the planet, it unveils the truth: money does not buy happiness. It simply, like bacteria, intrudes our bodies and turns us ill. It creates the illusion that to be happy, we must work our bodies until they’re no longer functional.
“Hustle culture” is just that.
Materialism is just that.
What will come of the not-yet man when reaching the adult phase? Will he have the circle to protect him from this illness? Or, will he be lost in the pressures of society and become a first-place contender in the rat race?
Considering the younger generations are an always-connected group, it is challenging to say that won’t happen. Social media, and external media, have numerous ways of infesting our beliefs and swapping them with less-realistic and unpromising desires.
My father (he passed away October 30th last year, he was 63), was, unfortunately, a victim of materialism and grew into a striver-for-morer, not, a wanting-a-lifer. He lived to work not worked to live. He was NEVER happy. The reason: he always wanted more. Again, that is what “hustle culture” does to you.
It puts you on a treadmill, stands behind you with a fishing pole, attaches a money note to it, and laughs at you while you attempt to grab it.
Not a chance!
One of my favourite songs of all time is “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve. It is a classic. Not for the song as a whole — although, I can listen to it for hours — the lyrics are the main appeal for me:
“’Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, that’s life
Tryna make ends meet, you’re a slave to money then you die”
I DO NOT WANT to kill myself for working too hard
Powerful, right? It gives us a sense of what life is actually like for the majority. We live. We work. We die. Is that how life should be? Is that what the not-yet man’s future beholds?
If so, he will follow the trend of billions of people around this unnatural world.
He will become one with the philosophy of the unfulfilled souls that came before him. My mother, on the other hand (very unlike my father), is a content soul. She has what she needs: her children. She raised us on her own. With no man’s assistance, she crawled through the muck of life and just kept going.
Before I understood the minimalist mindset — and wanted a simple life of my own — I frequently questioned her path:
“Don’t you want anything more than this?”
It didn’t simply anger her, it used to hurt her. She never understood why I did. I was in my 20s. All I cared about back then, was harbouring big ambitions, and, yearning for big-money contracts from publishing houses and the film and television conglomerates to adapt my works.
I was stuck in the lust for money. I wanted material — not simple. That is why my mum and dad split up many years ago. My dad wanted more. My mother didn’t. My dad didn’t understand; therefore, wanted something else — something “more”.
Now 34 — soon to be 35 — I have caught on: simple is better than complex. I feel that now. I can see it. I don’t want a pile of distractions causing a landslide of anxiety every moment I try to get something done.
I DO NOT WANT to kill myself for working too hard.
That is what “hustle culture” teaches the future generations to do. It is what it teaches every present generation to do.
Before it floods the whole world, let us build a dam, secure all sanity and let happiness come naturally, not, forcefully.
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“Work to live not live to work”