I say it all the time..
I “wasted” about three years of my life after college graduation.
I hustled. I stayed inside. I wrote a lot. I drank a lot to deal with the stress. What I really remember the most was how every day felt the same.
Is that how life is supposed to be?
Endless work? Working so hard that you wear the same thing for three days in a row? Not knowing what day it is? Getting drunk on Friday to wash away the stress of 10 hour days and working inside the house all week?
Gary Vee says you need to “close your eyes until you’re 30.”
Meaning work your ass off and defer “life” until later when you’re successful. Build something concrete first, then enjoy it later.
I drank the heck out of that Kool-Aid. Was it worth it for me? These “wasted” years I spent building my brand as a writer and freelancer? Now I make about 6 figures per year and I don’t have to worry about money.
Was it worth it to basically trade three years of my life to get it?
The answer used to be somewhat murky. That’s because I wrote shit like this while I was still in the middle of hell. I talked about how I had no friends, how my social life was non-existent, and how I felt stagnant in my life.
Yeah, in the moment this stuff sucks. But later, with a fresh perspective, I can say it wasn’t a waste at all.
And for any recent grad or 20-something reading, here’s why..
1. I Spent Time With My Family
After college graduation I didn’t see my brother much anymore. Or my sister. Or my parents. I moved to Orlando, Florida in search of a job. A year and a half after that, I came home to Maryland to stay with my parents.
I stayed at home for two years since I wanted to cut costs down and basically hustle like hell.
It was a great decision, and one major reason I don’t look at those years as a waste.
To me, spending time with your family is never wasted time.
If you find ways to incorporate family time into your “hustle years,” then they were far from a waste.
2. I Built A Money-Making Engine
I don’t have to worry about money right now. I’ve lived pretty comfortably the past two years and it’s because I hustled very hard for three years after college.
I spent a lot of time with my family and stuff, but I have a hard time remembering any stand-out days during my those years.
Since I’ve come to the Philippines I’ve had so many unforgettable experiences.
Yes, it was worth it for me.
Peace of mind is hard to come by — especially in terms of financial matters. I have peace of mind about my finances. I have a big nest egg. I’ve saved a pretty big sum for retirement. I am thinking about buying some land here. I don’t sweat the cash register at the grocery store.
That peace of mind is priceless for me.
Sure working smarter is better than working harder, but let’s not kid ourselves..
Hard work generally results in, well, results!
Giving up three years to get this was worth it.
3. You’ll Have Time To ‘Correct’ Things Later
I didn’t have a lot of friends after college. I had a hard time nurturing my relationships and my health.
I’d spend the whole day working, so how could I have any time to take care of my body?
Even romantic relationships. I was a zombie to the people around me because I was always working.
Well, in the last year I’ve pumped the brakes on my hustling. I’ve taken up Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve made friends here in Manila. I go on more trips. I take days off. I do my best to nurture my current relationship.
I realized that all those things were missing from my life. I had the success, for sure, but I wasn’t doing a good job ENJOYING my success, since I had gotten so used to hustle culture.
I guess hustling is like inertia. An object that hustles tends to stay hustling. It took me a little while to UNLEARN that — and I’m still unlearning it — but it doesn’t mean doing it in the first place wasn’t worth it.
I corrected a lot of the issues I developed while I was hustling later on.
My problem is I actually sort of enjoy working. If I can learn to slow down, then you can, too.
4. Hustling Isn’t Nice In The Moment, But..
I want to be clear..
Hustling isn’t always nice in the moment. It’s hard. I’ve gone on long trips overseas that were basically wasted because I was working all the damn time.
There’s a lot of dread in the hustle.
I can actually relate it to the current lockdown. Many people have reported feeling burned out from working at home all day. Shit, welcome to my world!
Now you understand.
Hustling leads to burnout, and when you do it for years on end, it can really take a toll on your mental health. I drank a lot more back in the day because it was so stressful and while my happiness hovers at about a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1–10 these days, it used to hover at like a 3 or 4.
Yes, it sucks in the moment. There’s no getting around that. But if you can somehow hang on and power through it, there’s a whole lot of reward waiting for you on the other side.
And the reward was more than worth it for me.