Rise and grind, sports fans! Are you about the grind? The hustle? Do you go big or go home? Do you post about working 80-hour weeks like it’s a trophy? Are you willing to give up nights and weekends to prove you’re ‘the hardest working xxx in xx business?’ If so, take a step back, and about ten minutes to watch the following TED talk. It’ll give you your life back. The Grind is a lie, and here’s why:
Relax, I’m not rehashing dozens of articles about the failed promises of ‘hustle culture.’ But we should be aware, as creative people: ‘The Grind’ is a lie, when it comes to our art. Yes, of course you have to put the hours in, but at some point you need to step back. Creativity requires you to refresh the ‘art well’ inside of you; yes, it can run dry if you aren’t careful.
Let’s remember: When it comes to your art, no one cares about how many hours you spent. In fact, your work will mean nothing if your skills aren’t developed to a level where your work speaks for you. Years of video games have trained me to believe that grinding me through all the sub-quests, will power me up for the main boss. World of Warcraft created an industry where you could ‘grind for gold’ and sell characters off at a profit. Some people come from that and go “that’s what being creativity is like!”
Creativity ain’t like that. There’s no master equation that promises ‘X hours = Y Success.’ You can’t turn in ten ‘hustle coins’ for one ‘master writer’ coin. You can’t pay ten overseas artists $100 to create one Mona Lisa. Art, true creativity, comes directly from you. You can’t fake that, can’t hustle it out of yourself or someone else.
So if you’re thinking about creativity as a profession, if you’re into the ‘hustle culture,’ take a moment to watch Pardis Parker. Step back, breathe, and give yourself the time and space you need in order to create your best work. I’m rooting for you.