What is "Hustle" Anyway?

As we talk about hustle this week, I'm struck by the idea that success seems to depend a lot less on desire, and a lot more on effort. And beyond effort is the idea of practice.

But not the idea that practice makes perfect.

More that practice makes success.

Because practice doesn't always mean developing of a skill. Google defines practice as:

  1. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use. (emphasis added)

  2. repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. (emphasis added)

I loved these definitions because I imagined these definitions belonging to the word "success."

Try it. 

1. Success requires the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.

2. Success requires repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

Yes, that's it. Success does require these things. Only through these things is success ever found. 

So here's some logic for you.

1. Practice is the actual application of beliefs or ideas and the repeated exercise of activities to gain proficiency.

2. Success requires the actual application of beliefs or ideas and the repeated exercise of activities to gain proficiency.

3. Success requires practice.

Talent is important, but many would argue that it is not the most important. Remember the phrase, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." Cheesy, I know, but so true.

As Benji said in Tuesday's podcast, I know SO many people who are incredibly talented and capable of doing incredible, unique things, but they never take that talent to the battle front and roll up their sleeves and work.

These people end up sitting on their talent their entire lives. If they just put in the work, they'd probably be successful on some level. I don't know if it's fear, insecurity, laziness, or business that stops them, but many of these incredibly talented dreamers never put their dreams into action, so they never experience success.

Often times, these very people end up seeing others with far less talent surpass them simply because these others were willing to put in the work they never did.

Talent alone isn't enough. If Picasso never picked up a paint brush, John Lennon never picked up a guitar, or J.K. Rowling never wrote her first chapter on a diner napkin, we wouldn't know their names. 

Somewhere along the way, these people decided to take their talent and their dream, and start working.

Start practicing.

Start taking beliefs and ideas and actually act on them. Start exercising a particular activity to improve upon it.

This is hustle. Hustle simply means to "work hard." Hustle means to "practice."

And the crazy thing is, most people who choose to hustle, to really put in the work, end up seeing success. Not always and almost never without failures along the way, but you'd be hard pressed to find a true hustler that isn't successful.

Now, many people think they're hustlers, but ask yourself this: "Do I spend more time talking about what I want to do, or working on what I want to do?"

If the answer is the former, you're not hustling. If it's the latter, you are.

Don't get negative here. I often fall short of being a true hustler. I'm a crazy dreamer and I way too often let those dreams stay dreams without doing the work. But Trailblazer isn't here for those who are perfect, it's for those who want to become better. So I'm right there with you.

We dreamers are capable of doing amazing things, but we need to exercise our hustle muscle a little bit more. Imagine what your talent and imagination could do if it worked hard. I can imagine and that drives me to become better and better at hustling.

If you are a natural hustler, good for you. Rock it and don't ever let anyone tell you you're obnoxious or overzealous. People like you change the world while those around them complain that you're being too loud.

So I think you get it by now. We have to practice our hustle to become successful. What does that look like? If you're me, you need a practical step to practice this. Well luckily for us, Benji came up with a few ideas for us to try out. Here they are:

1. Train your mind to own every room you walk into. 

The idea here is that you are always leading, everywhere. To practice being a bold, powerful leader, practice leadership everywhere you go.

When you walk into the room, be aware, be active, be unique. Pay attention to what's happening and actively contribute to it. In some situations, learn from it.

This may seem like an extroverts only step, but as an introvert, let me tell you, this is crucial. Being an introvert just means you charge up alone. So while it may be slightly draining or uncomfortable to command a room, practice it anyway. You can be an introvert and still be a strong presence in every room you enter. 

2. Train your eyes to see problems. 

When you go to businesses, events, or the store, be alert. Keep your eyes peeled for things that aren't all they could be. Not only does this help you become more aware of the world around you, it trains you to see your life and your hustle more closely, perceiving all of the problems and areas for improvement.

You don't have to be obsessive of these issues, but you should be aware of them. You need to be able to look at your work and see where it's lacking. This is a skill that can be practiced in the outside world.

3. Train your hands to fix them. 

But don't stop there. When you see a problem, don't just notice it, train yourself to step into action and fix them. Obviously in the outside world, it's not always your job to fix these things, but sometimes you have the power to say something to someone who does.

And within your own organizations and efforts, you certainly do have this power. You won't always be the one directly making the change, though sometimes you will, but you can always delegate it. In fact, good leaders delegate well.

Especially within your personal life, you have to practice fixing the issues you become aware of. This is one of the simplest ways to become a better leader and improve your work.

4. Train your ear to hear discouragement and hopelessness.

Life very quickly becomes all about us. Watch out for this. Sometimes hustling means looking out for others and what you can do for them. This could mean offering a hand to someone, or hearing someone out.

Maybe this just ends in you helping someone, or maybe it ends in inspiration or improvement for you. Benji mentioned that some of the best art comes from those who have seen hurt and discouragement and speak out against it. So...

5. Train your mouth to speak against it with hope & encouragement.

As seeing an issue isn't enough, seeing hopelessness isn't enough. There is a lot of white noise in this world. We often hear complaining and discouragement and shame. It's on the streets, in the halls, at work, and at home. be a voice that sounds different.

Be someone that recognizes pain and speaks to it. Art often heals. Hard work can create things that heal. In a world of hate and negativity, be a force for the power of love that brings hope, even if you seem to be the only one doing it.

We become better leaders and creatives (and people) when we respond to the need around us.

These are just a few of the many ways to practice hustling. Remember, hustle is a lifestyle, not an overnight transformation. Don't be discouraged if you don't wake up tomorrow a changed person.

Funny that even becoming a hustler seems to require hustling. I know I am still on the journey to becoming a true hustler, and will be for a while. So if you are too, be encouraged. One step today, another tomorrow, and on into the years to come.

I guarantee if you flex your hustle muscle, you'll see it grow.

Are you a hustler? If so, what are some ways you love to practice hustling? Please share with us in a comment, we'd love to interact with you! If you're not, what can you do this week to flex your hustle muscle?

Hustle, just another, crucial tool to add to your belt as you blaze your unique trail to success.