The Creative Hustle
In the U.S military there is a popular saying which states the necessary steps needed to complete any objective: “Adapt and Overcome”.
Everyday we get up and check social media or other sources of news, we see that the people who are immortalized through modern media seem to mock us through their riches and self righteousness. Are we being mocked though? or are we angry and maybe even jealous that they possess a life which seems detached from our current understanding of reality, and mad that we haven’t figured out their secret? Celebrities, athletes, entrepreneurs and the leaders of the world do not remain silent on their journey, they are most usually open to discussing it and humble in their roots, we just aren’t listening to the details of what they are saying.
It is easy to get caught up in the Mark Cubans, Michael Jordan's and other big names in wealth and branding, we constantly look at them in awe as to how they were able to achieve such dramatic and incredible levels of success. The modern political scene holds constant debate over their wealth and what level is “too much”…in our private homes we chastise these individuals based off of rumors we heard somewhere in some article; blinded by distraction, we aren’t paying attention to what is most important, their journey and creative hustle. People are aware Mark Cuban is worth billions of dollars, but are they aware he didn’t take a single vacation for 7 years while starting his business? We all know the brand “Jordan” and what it means to aspiring athletes worldwide, but are they aware he spent his “off-seasons” taking hundreds of jump shots daily in an attempt to perfect them? What about Ryan Seacrest? We see him in media all the time, most popularly known for American Idol, Ryan’s creative hustle and work ethic is disgusting, he hosts a radio show 5 a.m.-10 a.m. while running his own television production company and appearing on “E News” 7 days a week. We aren’t done there either, how about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who pulled 130 hour weeks at Google as she took what was hers for the taking. As we analyze the necessary catalysts involved in propelling these individuals to great heights, it is not in the realm of logic to chastise their enormous success only because we are confused on how it was obtained, rather we should seek to be equally as creative in our own hustle day to day.
There have been many points in my life where I looked at someone who has had great potential to be successful and make great personal strides but their ability to hustle creatively is essentially non-existent. The creative hustle most usually cannot be taught, it can be imitated and similarly followed, but it really cannot be taught. The creative hustle requires access to a part of the brain which we are usually forced to dismember over many years of social conditioning. The American worker is taught in public, and also many private institutions & schools, to be a really good worker, the U.S.A has some of the best, most dedicated workers in the world, but we are hardly ever pointed towards a direction which forces us to use our creative design to attack and pursue goals.
If you pick any place on a map with your finger, I can show you competition. Competition for resources, wealth, space, time, if you are on earth you are involved in a competition in someway, somehow. Some who call themselves enlightened will tell you that life is not a competition and on a spiritual basis I would agree, we need not compete against any individual in order to obtain our spiritual goals. On the other side of life, the physical side of life, we most certainly are involved in a constant state of competitive force(s). What you get out of life is in part a direct reflection of how creative you are in obtaining it, most of which requires no tangible resource to activate. When starting a new job a few years back, I promised my boss that in exchange for the job, which was highly competitive and being sought by multiple individuals, that I would work harder and longer than any of them, and upon getting the job that’s exactly what I did, regularly pulling 75–80 hour work weeks Monday through Sunday at times in order to keep my promise. I received the offer for that job because I stood out, I was creative in how I offered my boss a level of value which the other candidates did not offer, I offered to work longer and harder than any one who had previously stepped foot in that office and I did it confidently. It seems so simple, but because no one else offered that level of value, my creative hustle allowed me to take the job and make it mine that same day.
Upon signing my letter of intent to play college football, I began to instill an even more radical level of work ethic and creative hustle in order to make myself valuable as a walk-on prospect. I brought unparalleled value to the table by doing the things which others refused to do and which some even despised me for, or were annoyed by. I woke up at 4 a.m. and ate a rigid diet and then went to the gym where I put in an incredible amount of work. I studied the plays so efficiently that I could write the entire defense down week one, by memory. I showed up 30 minutes early most days to our meetings and watched extra film, I did more than the guy next to me was willing to do and when people tried to raise themselves to my level of hustle I only went higher until people were unwilling to match it because it was too much for them to handle. You have to be willing to lose your mind and lose the opinions of others on how to handle your hustle. You will know when you’ve reached a point in your creative hustle where you are becoming effective at what you do because people will call you out for it, past friends, teammates and mentors will talk behind your back, they will chastise you and tell you that you’re obsessed or irrational, they will tell you that something else (other than your creative hustle) is responsible for your success, and yet to you, it is simply another day.
In order to access your creative hustle you cannot risk waiting to see what others are willing to do to accomplish the same goal as yourself. You must be willing, right now, to do everything in your power to obtain what you seek. After doing everything you believe you are capable of doing, if someone else seeks to try and raise the bar higher, then it is your duty to then expand your capabilities and access an even higher creative hustle. The bigger the goal, the bigger the creative hustle. When I was training relentlessly to play college football, I would do all my sets and repetitions and I would add “1” to each thing I did. If I did 30 minutes on the bike, I would add one minute, If I did 10 reps of bench press, I would do 11. My theory was in assuming every single person was working ass hard as I was, if I did one more of everything over an extensive period of time, I would be better than them. They key is to continue to assume that every person aspiring to reach your goals and aspirations are doing and saying the same thing as you, and to expand based off that. Assuming the competition is putting in similar effort allows you to begin to open up the creative process and offer more value to yourself and others by bringing more to the table. When you begin to offer more value and show that value in creative ways from work ethic to integrity, dedication, loyalty and setting the bar higher, you will begin to be noticed and those who are unable to match your intensity will be left behind where they will either choose to move on & work harder, or settle in complacency and make excuses.
The former competition, or those who believed they were “on-top”, will choose to continue to badger your name in order to make themselves feel better. Their excuses for your success and their failure will leave them paralyzed and unable to access any further progress until they address the pressing issue which is that they did not take control of all they were capable of controlling. As you hone your creative hustle you can let go of the opinions of those who you passed on your journey, while those who you passed will many times choose to focus on making lame excuses as to why you were able to pass them. Ignore these individuals and continue to work harder, by doing so you will threaten many peoples insecurities along the way and it is not your responsibility to get them to catch up or hustle harder, it is their job to figure out a way to do that. Do not be afraid to take first place, someone, regardless of who it is, will hold it in some respect and it is their job to maintain it, it is your right to take it but only through creative hustle. First place in the metaphoric sense, cannot be stolen or robbed, it must be earned and the person holding it is free to raise the bar as high as they want to make it unattainable for those threatening their throne, while you are allowed to do the same and over take those on the throne who believed they were owed the seat just because they made it there.