Jordan (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabe (@GabeMizrahi) take a deep dive into the toxic cesspool of hustle culture and emerge with better alternatives you can use to break free from its seductive but icky grip and write yourself a meaningful success story!
What We Discuss:
- Hustle culture makes you miserable because it sells you the destination without the journey.
- Hustle culture is a toxic sham because it operates like an emotion-manipulating pyramid scheme that pits you against your peers instead of encouraging you to work together.
- How you can spot the sure signs of hustle culture and avoid its sticky, wicked clutches.
- What you can do to break free of hustle culture if it’s already got its hooks in you.
- Better alternatives that will enrich your journey toward success instead of guilting you, shaming you, pressuring you, and making you co-dependent on hustle culture’s empty promises.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Hustle culture makes you miserable because it sells the lovely view from a desired destination without the grueling journey it takes to get there. And hustle culture is a sham because it teaches shortcuts rather than skills, assumes all work is created equal, conflates toil with success, turns you into a lifelong customer, and encourages you to perpetuate the con. It’s basically an emotion-manipulating pyramid scheme that dredges into a seeping vat of negativity to keep you hooked on what it’s selling.
In this episode, we’ll take a deep dive into what you can do to identify the signs of hustle culture so you can steer clear of its seductive clutches, or break free if you’ve already succumbed and you’re looking for a way out. Then, we’ll give you the tools you can use to forge your own success with a realistic and healthy attitude that encourages collaboration with your peers instead of pitting you against them, at a pace that matches your needs and values instead of addicting you to some hustle culture taskmaster’s toxic, pay-as-you-go treadmill. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
To solidify your understanding of these game-changing principles and practicals, make sure to read this episode’s companion article here: Why Hustle Culture Makes You Miserable (And How to Break Out of It).
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
See Jordan (with Ryan Holiday) Live in L.A. June 13th!: Go to jordanharbinger.com/tickets for more info
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Starbucks: Try Starbucks Tripleshot energy today
- US Bank: Apply at usbank.com/altitudego for 20,000 bonus points
- Apartments.com: Learn more at apartments.com
- Progressive: Get a free online quote at progressive.com
Miss our conversation with Daryl Davis, the black musician who has influenced more than 200 KKK members to hang up their robes for good? Make sure to catch our two-parter beginning with episode 539: Daryl Davis | A Black Man’s Odyssey in the KKK Part One here!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- How to Self-Help Without Feeling Terrible | Jordan Harbinger
- I’m Still Grinding | Law of Attraction Coaching
- Here In My Garage (Official): Lamborghini, Knowledge, and Books | Tai Lopez
- Why You Compare Yourself to Other People (And How to Stop) | Jordan Harbinger
- The Downside to Our Upside: The Problem with Positive Thinking | Jordan Harbinger
- James Clear | Forming Atomic Habits for Astronomic Results | Jordan Harbinger
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson | Amazon
- Mark Manson | Channeling Hope, Choosing Problems, & Changing Values | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Be Insanely Productive by Working Less | Mark Manson
- The Redefining Power of Resilience | Stereo Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Scott Adams | How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America | Jordan Harbinger
- Steven Hassan | Combating Cult Mind Control Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Steven Hassan | Combating Cult Mind Control Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Design the Perfect Morning Routine (and Avoid a Bad One) | Jordan Harbinger
- Struggling to Find Your Purpose? Do This Instead. | Jordan Harbinger
- Want to Overcome Envy? Make It Your Teacher | Jordan Harbinger
- Want to Accomplish Your Goals? Stop Talking About Them So Much. | Jordan Harbinger
- Six-Minute Networking
682: Hustle Culture | Deep Dive
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to the new Starbucks Baya Energy drink for sponsoring the show. With caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit, it's energy that's good.
[00:00:08] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with scientists and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional Emmy-nominated comedian, undercover Jihadi, or gold smuggler. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:00:34] If you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about it — and thank you very much in advance for doing so — I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes, organized by topic to help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show — topics like persuasion and influence, China and North Korea, crime and cults, investing in financial crimes, and a whole lot more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:00] Special announcement, by the way, I'm going to be doing a live show like live in person, in real life. I'm going to be interviewing Ryan Holiday, author Ryan Holiday. That's going to be in Los Angeles at the Venice West on June 13th. So tickets are available. I'd love to meet you in person. Tickets are available at jordanharbinger.com/tickets. Again, jordanharbinger.com/tickets, June 13th at the Venice West in Los Angeles. I'll be interviewing Ryan holiday and I hope to see you there.
[00:01:29] Today, on the show, a deep dive and a debunk of hustle culture. If you use the Internet at all, which you do, you've probably been bombarded with want-to-be gurus, influencers, and the idea that you have to be working, networking, building nonstop, you got to be grinding, or you're falling behind. Riches and success only come if you just grind it out. You've got your head down 24/7, 365 days a year. But the truth is not only is this a bunch of nonsense, it's actually bad for you. Surprise, surprise. It's counterproductive. And what's worse, most of the people professing this message are actually just shilling their own brand of negative self-help designed to entrap you on their pay-to-play hamster wheel. Today, on this deep dive, we'll expose what hustle culture really is, why it's bad for you, and what to do about it. Ignoring it is not always as simple as you might think.
[00:02:18] This is something I wish I'd learned a couple of decades ago. I know it'll be useful to you, whether you're 15 or 55. Producer Gabriel Mizrahi is here with me today. All right, let's do it.
[00:02:28] As you know, I've always had a problem with the whole hustle culture phenomenal. It's probably always been a part of our society in some form, but it's really amped up in the last five to 10 years. It's really at 11 right now. And I think it's created a lot of damage and dysfunction. And I wanted to talk about this in a deep dive, building on the article that we just wrote about this same topic. So hustle culture, aka rise-and-grind mindset, aka motivation porn, aka toil glamour. This is the philosophy/mindset or lifestyle of just constantly working your ass off and the pursuit of some big, crazy goal, no matter what the cost. And we see this absolutely everywhere. It's an identity that glorifies nonstop labor, brute force drive, blind resilience.
[00:03:14] Like any movement, hustle culture creates products, markets itself, which is why you see so many of those inspiring or motivational videos popping up on YouTube or Instagram every day. You know, I joke about this all the time — the dude on the beach with his arms in the air and there's a quote, that's like, "If you can do it, if you can dream it, you can do it." And it's just nonsense. It's just meaningless.
[00:03:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Like videos of people working out or climbing a mountain or walking in and out of boardrooms of companies, they frankly don't even belong to, like wearing nice suits or boarding private jets. Totally— it's very stock footage.
[00:03:45] Jordan Harbinger: It is.
[00:03:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: There's always like a voiceover from a famous athlete or an entrepreneur like actors, like Will Smith or someone is talking about what it takes to succeed.
[00:03:53] Jordan Harbinger: With inspirational music in the background. Yeah.
[00:03:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. Yeah. That's like classic hustle porn and it is everywhere. Even if you log on to YouTube, it'll serve you up one of those videos within like 10 minutes if you watch a TED Talk. It's ridiculous. But it's also not just YouTube videos, it's also books and courses, and to your point, memes. And also even conversations you hear in real life when you're out and you overhear somebody talking at a table at a restaurant, or at a party you go to, get a three or four high-performance together. And before you know it, someone's talking about how they like start their day by dipping into some sub-zero temperature, water, or something, and going for a run before they—
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: If you don't have a cold plunge tub on your porch, what are you even doing with your life?
[00:04:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:04:30] Jordan Harbinger: It's just ridiculousness.
[00:04:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Do you even cold plunge, bro?
[00:04:34] Jordan Harbinger: I don't even know what that is. Yeah.
[00:04:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is that whole ethos of, you know, get that bread or die trying, which is kind of comical, but it's a real thing. And it's sort of taken over social media.
[00:04:43] Jordan Harbinger: It has. And in my view, it's toxic. It's terrible for your mental health. It's a never-ending black hole. It has seriously diminishing return on investment. It's 99.9 percent fake. And it's almost like a pyramid scheme of these hustle influencers, cloning themselves for cash. I want to just shred this and we're going to do that today on this deep dive.
[00:05:04] What hustle culture promises is that it's possible to rise up, break through, improve your situation, and finally excel in all the ways you want to excel, right? Because according to the gospel of hustle, only those disciples who are willing to outwork everyone around them — usually because they're dissatisfied, right? Basically, they're angry at life. They're terrified of not being special. Only those people are going to find true success. Of course, I'm being sarcastic when I say this — this is the hustle culture message. More than that, these are the only people who deserve success, right? If you're not working 17 hours a day, you're nothing. You don't deserve to be successful as if you're playing the lottery.
[00:05:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:05:41] Jordan Harbinger: And that's a toxic belief and that's the belief that's at the heart of this. This idea, "That work equals good and that work equals success and that work is the only way to live a fulfilling and successful life," it's patently bullsh*t. We all know that meaning comes from tons of things, work, just being one of those things. And that what people find fulfilling is highly personal, right?
[00:06:03] So why does hustle porn work? What's the allure here? Why is it effective in some level? Because obviously, something is going right if all these people are doing this stuff nonstop and feeding it, feeding the monster. Hustle culture works — and I put works in air quotes here because it preys on a few major needs or vulnerabilities in the human brain — the hunger to succeed, the fear of failing, the desire to conform, the wish to be admired, and the need to have purpose or feel fulfilled. And I understand all of these, we all have this going on in our lizard brain, so to speak.
[00:06:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: All the reasonable needs, yeah.
[00:06:37] Jordan Harbinger: All reasonable. This hustle porn, it all promises to meet all of these needs with one simple strategy, which is working you're freaking out ass off. And over the years, I've talked to hundreds of people who have been swept up usually via email in Feedback Friday inbox, people who have been swept up in various hustle communities, if you can call it that. All of them ended up experiencing similar feelings here. So burnout, resentment, alienation, self-loathing, disillusionment, depression, general malaise feeling of being lost and confused. And saddest of all, they actually talk about feeling further away from their goals, less connected to their purpose, more resistant to the growth that they're looking for. So exactly, the opposite of what hustle culture is promising—
[00:07:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:07:19] Jordan Harbinger: —is what it basically delivers, right? And why is that? What is it about hustle culture that corrupts the one freaking thing? Like you had one job and it's going to do the exact opposite thing. What is it about hustle culture that corrupts the one thing it's supposed to give us? And is there a way to work hard toward the goal that doesn't involve a toxic relationship with our career, everyone else, with ourselves for that matter?
[00:07:43] The answer is of course, yes. But first, we have to talk about why hustle culture makes you and me and everyone else so miserable when we get suckered into it. And the 30,000-foot overview here is it sells the destination and not the journey. So, if you've ever watched these hustle porn motivational nonsense videos, you know, they all kind of look the same.
[00:08:02] You can see in the first five seconds or so, Gabriel, or not even, you know what it is, right? It's like slow motion opener—
[00:08:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Always.
[00:08:08] Jordan Harbinger: —sunrise or something.
[00:08:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:08:09] Jordan Harbinger: And then it's like, show somebody doing yoga or working out on the beach. Like it's universal music slow-mo intro, right?
[00:08:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not very original.
[00:08:17] Jordan Harbinger: Not original. Or it's somebody getting out of a luxury car, boarding a private jet, wearing some fancy clothes.
[00:08:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's always their favorite shot of like the door of the Bentleys slowly opening and the person with the suit stepping out and taking off their sunglasses or rearranging their little cuff.
[00:08:32] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. Or like looking off into the distance. When I get out of a car, I'm not like looking up under the horizon. But alas, you know, people wearing fancy clothes, they're hanging out in exotic places. They're looking cool and attractive and they're surrounded by cool and attractive friends. They're, of course, the center of the town. And that's because these hustle bros are selling you the dream, right? Trademark. The dream of becoming fabulously, wealthy, powerful, important, popular, independent — everything you weren't in high school. And the best way to sell the dream is to sell you the destination, not the process, not the journey, not the mission, but the glorified end result, which is usually some version of, "Hey, get cash, money, rich, brah," right? Lambo money. It's a fantasy.
[00:09:16] And ironically, they're telling you about all this work, but really they're kind of not, they're just showing you the destination. Why aren't you grinding? By the way, here's a jet that you're never going to be able to afford, even if you grind because that's like a hundred million dollars sort of purchase. The hustle scammers use that fantasy to tap into the low-effort, high-reward mechanism of our lizard brains, right? They focused on the rewards and completely gloss over the sacrifice required to actually succeed at a high level.
[00:09:42] So these folks, they know they have nothing to offer in that department. In fact, they know that acknowledging how hard the journey is going to be, other than the lip service like, "What are you doing from 12 midnight to four o'clock in the morning? Are you sleeping? You're a punk," right? Other than casual lip service, they know that acknowledging how hard it's going to be would actually work against them. So instead, they dangle the fancy car, the jet, the huge house, the idea is to shift your focus to the result.
[00:10:11] So in the process, they're reinforcing a toxic mindset that values the spoils over the journey. Despite the fact that tons of science — and by the way, every single successful person's experience that I've ever talked to in my entire life in the history of the show — confirms that most of the joy in life comes from the process of actually doing something. When those material assets become the point of the entire journey, then we have missed something that is crucial. We've really missed the forest of the trees here. High performers don't do what they do so that they can fly to Aspen on a freaking Gulf stream.
[00:10:43] Most of them, the best ones, anyway, the ones that aren't sort of sociopathic Internet marketer types, they do what they do because they're lit up by a mission that they care about deeply. Not that all Internet marketers or sociopaths, I mean, the ones that are showing you the jets and the Bentleys, right? So it makes sense that most people who get caught up in hustle culture eventually abandon their dreams.
[00:11:03] As soon as the destination feels impossible to reach because they're not in a strong relationship, to the process itself, they eventually grow disillusioned and give up, right? If you're going after something like, "I need to earn enough money to get a jet," you're never going to stick with one thing. You're not going to be attached to the process of getting it. You're just going to switch and flip-flop around until you find something that's earning you money that week, which is a very losing strategy for actual long-term success.
[00:11:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. And growing disillusion, growing disaffected, getting upset, getting angry, that is not entirely an accident because the other weird thing about hustle culture if you pay enough attention to it — you just watch a few videos and a couple of blog posts, you'll realize that it generally tends to traffic in negative emotions.
[00:11:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Even though it's selling you this sort of vaguely hopeful, it's actually predicated on a lot of toxic and negative energy. Every marketer knows that the best way to sell a product is to make people feel like they're incomplete without it, right? It's how you sell toothpaste. It's how you sell trips to exotic destinations. Hustle culture scammers, they understand this principle better than anybody because they are marketers—
[00:12:03] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:12:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: —first and foremost, right? They don't inspire people to change by building up their skills or developing their confidence. They don't push people to perform better by appealing to their passion or trying to tap into their potential. No, they do the opposite. They tap into their fear, their resentment, their anxiety, their envy, especially. And they do that because negative emotions are actually highly manipulable, right? If a self-help teacher can create a sense of lack in you, if they can make you look at the person next to you and wonder why they have more than you do, or look at the other person and wonder, like, "What are they doing that I don't have?" or just make you feel sort of anxious and insecure, then they can offer you the solution to that quote-unquote, "lack," right? Then they can turn around and say, "Well, here's your answer. All you need to do is want it badly enough and work your ass off and buy my book and sign up for my course and join my mastermind. So I can coach you because that's what you really need right now."
[00:12:53] Hustle culture appeals to negative emotions because they make you more susceptible. They make you more susceptible to their values and they also make you more susceptible to their product. Just the bottom line it. It's way easier to sell somebody a $5,000 self-help package by showing them a guy boarding a G6, you know, with a bunch of supermodels around him. Then by explaining that working for years and years on a meaningful mission will make you more fulfilled and eventually the money will cover, right? It's just like basic human psychology ad agency 101 stuff.
[00:13:23] So here's a helpful thing to keep an eye on. If you ever consume some self-help and you feel worse after you look at it or read it or watch it, that's a pretty good sign that it's probably toxic, especially if it makes you feel angry or envious or ashamed. Those emotions in particular tend to be very common with this hustle stuff. Or if it encourages you to compare yourself to other people, which I'd say in almost every case, that's usually pretty toxic.
[00:13:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I would say I don't need, most of us, myself included, I don't need any encouragement to compare myself to other people and feel crappy because of it. Like that's a habit almost everyone I know is trying to get out of because it's very human. It's very destructive.
[00:13:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:13:59] Jordan Harbinger: So the other thing, Gabriel, This hustle culture stuff. It teaches shortcuts and not skills almost exclusively.
[00:14:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:14:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So hustle gurus, they also tend to focus on hacks and techniques rather than knowledge and skills per se. They do this because shortcuts are attractive to the primitive part of your brain, to everyone. Even those of us that know better, like, "Oh yeah. How to get another half an hour a day by making my calendar more simple. I'll spend time setting that up," right? That part of you, that reptile — I won't say reptile brain. I know that our neuroscience guests hate it. Let's say the part of my brain that is attracted to shortcuts, that may be primitive or maybe not, that part of me, it's not interested in becoming an expert at growing as a person, right? I just want to clever easy solution.
[00:14:41] And hustle bros know they can sell with much greater ease. It's software that does the trading for you, not I'm going to teach you over the next 50 hours, how to trade crypto current — like, no, give me the software that does it for me. The other reason scammers sell this garbage is that it's the only thing that they can sell. And this is extremely important, right? These are not researchers who study the neuroscience of productivity. Some of them try to pretend like they are. They're like, "I hired scientists." It's nonsense. They're not leaders who understand the value of a mission. They're not entrepreneurs who can speak to building lasting companies. These are serial kind of, one year, it's this book and this method and the next month, it's a different thing entirely. All these guys can do is traffic in the lowest common denominator of advice.
[00:15:25] The effect of this teaching is that it trains you to think that success is a matter of handy, shortcuts and mindless exertion. You, then, start to believe that you can get ahead by being clever or efficient or outsourcing, "Pay someone else did the job for you," when most of the business — and this is firsthand experience here and a lot of people that I've talked to on the show — when most of the business is actually just putting in a ton of high-quality time to build skill sets and become amazing at least one thing, ideally more than one thing, and then stacking them together.
[00:15:58] Productivity hackers like to think — and this isn't like everybody who's written a book on time management. I mean, a lot of these hustle group productivity combo hackers, right? They like to think that doing something smarter or faster will make you successful. They often don't acknowledge that you also have to be great at the thing you're doing. Cal Newport is a good example of doing this the right way, right? His one book is So Good, They Can't Ignore You. That's be great at the skills. And the rest is like, "And also don't get distracted by all this BS." So he's a productivity hacker, quote-unquote, "who understands how to do this right." The other guys were like, "Hey, just don't even do any real work, sit on a beach, and hire other people." That is a bunch of nonsense.
[00:16:36] That really sad thing is that all of these mistaken approaches, they're kind of like detours, you're hiking in the woods and you get lost. These are all paths that end up taking you in circles, right? They delay your success. And having you waste, frankly, the crucial time you need to spend leveling up, developing your skills, deepening your craft. It ends up harming you. It's not net zero.
[00:16:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. That's such a good point, Jordan. And it actually connects to another weird thing about hustle culture, which is that it really conflates this so-called grinding, you know, like, "Working your ass off 20 hours a day. Don't get sleep. Just keep on," it conflates that with actual success. Because baked into hustle culture is this idea that if you want to be successful, it's just a matter of working hard, right? Like if you just put in the hours, it will happen. And even worse than that, a lot of these hustle bros, they say stuff like, you know, "Working hard at is success. The point of life is to grind," so that you can just keep on grinding more. There's no greater higher end game. It's not like you got to work hard to bring about some great mission or some great product. And then, you know, decide what kind of life you want to have. It's just like no grind to make more money so that you can just keep grinding. It actually doesn't make any sense once you think about it.
[00:17:48] Now some successful people, they might buy into that idea. They might center their entire lives around work. And that is a totally fair choice. It's not entirely a healthier, interesting one in my opinion, but it's a fair one, but that definition of success it's incredibly narrow. I mean, it basically amounts to how many hours do you spend in the pursuit of money, power, status. It's really about being like the richest most popular, most influential person possible, right? All those high school values you talked about in the opening. It completely overlooks all these other versions of success in life, being healthy, being stable, having strong relationships, right? Like getting along with your parents, with your siblings, with your children, having a meaningful role or purpose in life outside of work. It just completely glosses over the possibility that people could be happy doing a number of other things besides sitting chained to their desks.
[00:18:36] Household culture at the end of the day does not care about what makes you happy or what makes you excited or what makes you fulfilled it doesn't consider the people you work with or the place you work or the projects you choose to take on, or the impact that you have on the world around you. To the extent that these people, these productivity grooves, to the extent that they even think about meaning, they usually think it just resides in assets, right? The plane, the car, the trip, whatever. Assets that will ultimately just enable you to keep hustling even more.
[00:19:03] Now to be clear, we all know that great success obviously depends to some degree on hard work, right? We're not denying that. It's not like, "No, you just like hack it and work 20 hours a week. And if you do it really smartly, you'll be Bill Gates." No, that's not what we're saying. But success depends on so many other factors besides how many hours you put in. It depends on passion and talent and relationships, resilience. I mean, there's so much that goes into why somebody why becomes successful and there are also other metrics of success that frankly have nothing to do with money, right? Like fulfillment, happiness, impact. I mean, you can't put a dollar value on all of these things. But in the minds of these hustle bros, you don't just work hard to be successful. You become successful so you can keep working hard because that to them is the only source of value worth pursuing in life.
[00:19:45] And that's just not true. And it's up to us to decide that anyway.
[00:19:50] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show. This is our deep dive on hustle culture. We'll be right back.
[00:19:56] This episode is sponsored in part by US Bank. Here on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we have the smartest listeners around and we want you to be smart with your money too. US Bank offers a wide range of credit cards for a wide range of financial needs. And one of the most useful cards is the US Bank Visa Platinum Card with a low introductory APR for 24 billing cycles. This card is a tool for getting ahead. The US Bank Visa Platinum Card is a savvy financial move for large purchases, unexpected expenses, and balance transfers. And with the ability to customize your payment date, this card gives you control over your financial future. Apply now at usbank.com/platinum. With the US Bank Visa Platinum Card, you can be worry-free for the next two weeks. To see if you qualify for the best introductory APR out there, visit usbank.com/platinum. Limited time offer. The creditor and issuer of this card is US Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Visa USA, Inc. Some restrictions may apply.
[00:20:46] This episode is sponsored in part by apartments.com. Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize it's time to find a new place? At apartments.com, they call that an out-of-apartment experience. Maybe you're lugging the trash bag down a six-floor walkup when it burst open right as you reach the dumpster or it could strike the second you realized the change machine at the Laundromat is broken. Or maybe it hits when you receive some life-altering news, like finding out you're going to be a parent. The first thing to do after an out-of-apartment experience is start your search for a new place at apartments.com. They've helped millions of renters find their perfect place to live, whether it's an apartment, a townhome, a condo, or even a house, and with their 3D virtual tours, you can scour every inch of a listing because sometimes two dimensions just ain't enough. The features don't end there. apartments.com also has powerful search tools that will help you find a place that meets all of your requirements. So when you're having one of those moments, take a moment and check out apartments.com. The place to find a place.
[00:21:38] If you're wondering how I managed to book all the amazing people I've got on the show, it is, of course, about my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network as well, for free, over at jordanharbinger.com/course. The course is naturally about improving your networking and connection skills, but also inspiring other people to develop personal and professional relationships with you. It will make you a better networker, a better connector, and most importantly, a better thinker. That's all at jordanharbinger.com/course. And most of the guests that you hear on this show, they subscribe and contribute to that same course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[00:22:10] Now back to our deep dive on hustle culture.
[00:22:15] The whole hustle culture itself, the motivation stuff, it's not interested in you if I can phrase it that way, as an individual. Hustle culture is a one-size-fits-all model. It isn't designed to understand you as an individual. It's just designed to speak to you as generically as possible. Hence, the reason that social media is so good for it, right? It's not tailored in any way, other than to a potential demographic. A hustled bro is more likely to tell you to, "Want success more than you want sleep," than to ask you, "What makes you feel like you had a good day? What do you care about? What does productive mean to you? What uniquely brings you meaning?" And a lot of this stuff might sound fluffy and soft, but it's not because this is the stuff that happiness is made out of according to science and according to people who died after working way too hard and missed out on all this stuff that had meaning, right?
[00:23:06] That's one more reason that hustle culture hinges on the gospel of hard work because it's much easier to tell millions of people to sit at their desks longer than it is to help all of those people individually figure out what they truly care about, why they do what they do, what makes them different. It's not practical for them to do that. They don't care, anyway. Hustle culture flattens you into a one-dimensional person so that it can sell you a one-dimensional product or solution.
[00:23:34] Then, when you stop and wonder why this stuff isn't making you more successful, hustle bros turnaround, and they blame you for not taking them seriously enough, or you're not applying yourself enough, which if you think about it, that is shady. It's gaslighting, first of all, if you think about it. It's one of the most common techniques employed by cults and other coercive organizations and crappy spouses and partners everywhere, and your family, mothers, and relatives, right? Like this gaslighting is known as a technique to make people feel like they are the ones at fault when really it's not the case at all. And of course, hustle scammers resort to these methods because they can't acknowledge the limitations of their own system.
[00:24:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. They can't acknowledge the limitations and they also do it because sadly enough, it's pretty good business. On some level, like you said, it works. And it sort of works by turning many people into lifelong customers. Again, at the end of the day, hustle gurus, these are business people. They aren't preaching the gospel of hustle out of the goodness of their hearts. Look, they're out to make money. And if they're not getting money from you directly by making you pay for a course, they're getting eyeballs' attention, ad revenue on YouTube, whatever form that comes in.
[00:24:41] And they'll go to pretty great lengths to keep that money coming in, even if it means undermining their followers in the process. I mean, this is another reason that motivational content is so bad. Because honestly, Jordan, if it were higher quality, if it actually weren't as silly and cheesy and surface level, as we're talking, it might actually have something to say, and it might actually work, but then the people who are consuming it, they would find success in what they're trying to do. And they would just move on with their lives because they already figured it out. Right?
[00:25:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. One of the reasons, actually that I switched from dating to what we discuss now on the show is one, I got sick of it and outgrew it, but two, what I was teaching worked so well, people outgrew what I was talking about. And then I talked to them like three years later and be like, "You're still listening to the show," and they'd be like, "Nah, I found a girl and married her and moved on." And I was like, "Oh-oh, everyone who's successful with this is outgrowing me." So I had to evolve into something else. And that's exactly what a hustle culture does not want you to do.
[00:25:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Such a good point. I mean, it's almost a barometer of how good a piece of self-help is. It's like if you read it a few times and you get it, and then you apply it and then you just live your life, like that's probably a pretty helpful piece of self-help.
[00:25:43] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:25:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: So in a really messed up way, hustle scammers, they actually need their consumers to fail in order to keep them on the hook, so to speak. As long as their followers are struggling to see results. And also if their followers believe that if they just stick with it long enough, then they'll finally break through, right? If they can just keep that psychology alive, then they can keep these people as perpetual customers. It is so shady, but it's very true. The less these gurus teach, the more their disciples tend to stick around.
[00:26:10] Higher quality self-help, on the other hand, that's interested in doing exactly what Jordan just described, empowering people to make changes for themselves. It doesn't encourage you to have this unnecessary dependence or devotion. You know, it doesn't require you to, "Keep coming back every six months," or, "Buy the next tier of the course," or, "Pay me an annual fee to join the community if you want to stay on track here." Like it's none of that stuff, legitimate teachers, they want you to run with what you learned, apply it on to the world. Right? Of course, they're happy to foster a long-term relationship with if it continues to deliver benefits, but they won't design the system in such a way that it keeps you on the hook, just so they can make more money.
[00:26:45] In the world of hustle culture, though, if anybody in that world adopted that philosophy, it would just, it would break the whole business model. And by the way, even if you're not handing over money directly or indirectly to these people, sometimes it's just about giving them the attention they crave. I mean, a lot of these people on YouTube, I'm just venturing to guess, even if they're not raking in like millions of dollars from some of their videos, they probably love looking at the view count and just watching those numbers go up.
[00:27:11] Sadly, that's often the greatest reward for the people who tend to be attracted to this world as teachers, they tend to be highly narcissistic. Something to keep in mind. But these systems, they don't just turn you into a lifelong customer. They also often turn you into a tool in the whole scheme to keep it going.
[00:27:25] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. That's right. These systems, these folks, they encourage you, the whole system encourages you to perpetuate the con. Right? So hustle culture is parasitic. It doesn't just try to convert you to the tribe. It also encourages you to convert other people overtly or covertly. In some cases that means bringing new people into the fold. It's like multi-level marketing in many ways. So hustle scammer might push you to bring your friends to a workshop or encourage you to share links to their videos or recruit your colleagues into some sort of mastermind. In more extreme cases that actually means becoming an affiliate of their organization. So it's straight up, goes MLM, right? You got to represent the brand or you get certified in some program and then you're teaching it to other people yourself.
[00:28:09] But even if you're not actually teaching a hustle curriculum, you're still probably getting sucked into what I like to call — and I'm pretty sure I stole this from somewhere, but I can't remember where — the bullsh*t industrial complex. So you're consuming the ideas. You're trying to apply them to your life. And you're judging the results through the prism of that program. In all likelihood, you're then talking about hustle culture with your friends, foisting it on your colleagues, and using it to guide your strategy. Eventually, you start to slowly or quickly sacrifice your values, your identity, and your instincts in the pursuit of success as defined by these hucksters.
[00:28:45] And then you pass that nonsense version of success onto other people who then slipped down the exact same slope. This is how a hustle system becomes hustle culture. And in that way, it often makes you more than just a customer. It makes you a tool and just another node in the system so that it can perpetuate itself. At that point, becoming a better person isn't even really part of the equation anymore. That was just the bait. Now, it's about clicks, views, likes downloads, shares, and sales — the flywheel of toxic self-help. The hustle mission isn't to help people succeed. It's to package that success as a product that convinces more and more people to hand over their money, it's just pure commerce or their attention, right? And then they get their ad clicks. It's pure commerce. It preys on other people's real desire to get better. In fact, in many ways, it's more like a virus than any sort of beneficial plan for growth.
[00:29:37] And to me, that's incredibly sad. It's also super freaking boring, but you can't deny that in some very limited way, it's and again, in air quotes, works. The problem is it only works for the people that are selling it and it works at your expense. So Gabe, how do we break out of hustle culture? Because a lot of people like, "Cool, I get it but I'm stuck in it. I watch this crap all the time. I feel like it's doing something. How do I get out of the orbit?" The gravitational pull.
[00:30:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, as with most things, it really does start by just becoming aware of the problem in the first place. You have to notice when you're in the grip of this type of content and when you're starting to subscribe to this whole culture, and that really begins just by tracking your thoughts, you know, like when you consume the gospel, according to grind culture, what ideas do you notice popping up? Are your thoughts focused on new opportunities, new insights? Do you feel like you're having interesting ideas that you're excited to pursue? Or are your thoughts more focused on what you haven't done or what you could be doing more or what you should be doing less? Because that's a huge part of hustle culture too.
[00:30:34] It's like, "Do more of this stuff that you're not doing," but also stopped doing the stuff that actually makes you happy. You just got to notice how those thoughts start to creep in. Again, beliefs, same thing. Are they optimistic? Are they generative? Are they forward-looking? Or are you sort of noticing that you're getting fixated on what you lack or what other people are doing or what you failed to accomplish in the past?
[00:30:53] And another thing I've noticed, Jordan, I think there's really subtle. It's not something that they would ever acknowledge openly, but the ideas that hustle bros' pedal, they tend to be very vague and aspirational and abstract. Have you ever noticed that? It's different—
[00:31:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: —like carve out three hours to debug the software that you fit. You know, like talk to your customers because that's going to make your product better. It just tends to be sort of like while away your hours, because one day in the future, you will have everything you can dream of having. And usually, that's a material success. But really the ideas that actually are helpful or concrete. They're realistic. They're practical. They're about, "How I'm going to spend my day or my week or my month or where I want to end up in a year from now." It's not like, "Let me just sit here, until one day, I'm this big awesome boss guy," that they sort of sell you in the videos.
[00:31:38] Jordan Harbinger: It's funny. This example just popped into my head when I was interviewing Brian Chesky from Airbnb. One of the things you said he did — look, a hundred-billion-dollar company or whatever it is, right? One of the things he said he did was they contacted a lot of their customers in New York. They flew there from Silicon Valley and they started knocking on doors and meeting with the individual hosts and being like, "We're here to take photographs of your apartment, right? They set these appointments up. And they'd be like, "Wow, this is really cool that Airbnb is going to take photos of my apartment," and they were the photographers. So these guys are talking to their customers, flying across the country to go meet with them, spending weeks, you know, in New York City, knocking on doors and taking photographs with a digital camera that they probably scrape together the funds to buy. That's what they were doing. That's not sexy. They weren't talking about jets and islands and getaways and luxury properties at this point.
[00:32:25] So hustle culture doesn't show six dudes and six women in sweat pants with messed up hair, with a bunch of takeout containers all over the place and energy drinks, talking about the product and going on customer service chats because the engineers aren't also customer support and are also accounting and are also the C-suite, right? They just show somebody walking in with a newly custom suit, a folder after getting off. It skips forward to absolutely the end of the movie, always.
[00:32:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is such a great example. It could not have said it better myself. And the fact that actually comes from a real example, just tells you everything you need to know about what it actually looks like to put in the work and become great at building a product people actually want, as opposed to just watching a YouTube video and thinking that somehow it's going to seep in and make your thoughts and—
[00:33:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:33:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: —your feelings better or whatever. So, yes, take stock of your ideas, but also take stock of your feelings because the feelings that you have while you consume this productivity porn nonsense, that's also a very rich source of information.
[00:33:20] I'm going to speak from personal experience here. I have never watched one of those videos and felt better about my life. I've never felt — for like 30 seconds, you sort of have this like weird thing where you're like, "Oh, maybe I can do it if I run up a hill, I'll feel a little more energized or something," but that never last. So who does sprints? Like climbing, it's never going downhill. I don't know what that's about. It's just the metaphor, it doesn't quite work.
[00:33:43] So is your overall mood positive? Is it clear, is it productive? Or are you sort of feeling pessimistic, anxious, doubtful? These are really helpful things to know. Do you feel hopeful? Do you feel curious when you watch this stuff? Do you find yourself feeling frustrated and angry or shut down? The list goes on and on, right? If you watch one of these videos and you feel excited and motivated and you feel more in touch with your purpose, great. But if you watch a video and you've ended up feeling more apathetic or more unmotivated, or just kind of like lost because you're like, "I'm no closer to where I want it to be after I've watched this. And also now I'm confused about how I should actually spend my day." That's something worth paying attention to. If your feelings fall into that latter category, that's a sign that hustle culture is taking a toll on you.
[00:34:23] Jordan Harbinger: By the way, if you find that motivational video that makes you feel good about your life, send it to me because I've never seen one. I want to know if they exist in the wild.
[00:34:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't think they do. I think it's full of a lot of emotional toxicity that becomes a breeding ground for increasingly bad thoughts. Increasingly bad feelings, and usually increasingly bad decisions, including by the way, the choice to just keep watching the videos and keep hustling in the hopes that one day it'll magically fix all of the unpleasant emotions that these people just stirred up.
[00:34:50] Jordan Harbinger: And also Gabriel, I think people should study their patterns as well. Zoom out, look at the larger patterns in their lives, right? These trends will tell you whether the content you consume is actually making you a better person or just keeping you stuck in place. You know, are you becoming more skilled, more knowledgeable, more effective in your life, or are you plateauing in terms of your expertise, your curiosity, your impact? Are you making objective progress in your life and your career by whichever metrics that you choose to measure them? So is that impact responsibility, salary, fulfillment, et cetera? Or do you feel stuck in place, lost? Maybe you even feel like you're going backwards.
[00:35:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. And also I would throw in here, Jordan, another really interesting pattern to look at is how your relationships are doing, right? Are your relationships with other people getting stronger? Are they getting closer? Are they getting more productive? Or are your relationships with people also maybe getting a little transactional or superficial or competitive, or maybe just fading away entirely? Because the hustle culture thing is forcing you to compare yourself to them or measure yourself against them. And you're not actually like relating to people in a meaningful way anymore.
[00:35:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And also what role is self-help playing in your life in general? Do you find it additive, insightful, supportive? Or does it feel burdensome confusing, difficult to implement? If it feels like another chore and it's not moving you forward, then, eh, chances are, it's not going to be something that you can sustain, right?
[00:36:11] So to put it simply, has hustling and grinding actually gotten you anywhere? If your thoughts, feelings, patterns are all trending toward the negative after you interact with this hustle content, then you're almost certainly consuming toxic content. There's no better barometer for the quality of this stuff than your own personal experience with it. So when you zoom way out, on the balance, self-help should be making you more empowered and effective, not less. And if not, then it's time to make a change. And that begins by getting clear on the ideas that you want to prioritize.
[00:36:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. And that really begins by creating your own set of values, right? Saying these are not the values that I believe in anymore. I better check back in and figure out what I actually care about, because again, not to repeat here, but baked into hustle culture are these principles that are just at best, they're very simplistic and at worst, they're super toxic and flawed. And some of those principles are, for example, "That the answer to life's biggest problems is just more work," right? That's probably like the foundational one.
[00:37:13] Another principle that's baked into hustle culture is the idea that working yourself to the bone is inherently good, right?
[00:37:18] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:37:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's something worth discussing, then not everybody agrees with that. Another one is that toiling for material wealth is a worthwhile endeavor that competing with other people is healthy. I mean, the list goes on and on the idea that your labor is more important than your physical health and your mental wellbeing, it's more important than your relationships. So when you consume hustle content, you're not just consuming the video of the guy stepping off the plane and looking awesome, you're also consuming these more fundamentally questionable ideas.
[00:37:45] So if you're going to break your dependence on this stuff. You have to come back to your own values, your own expectations, your own standards. I mean, what do you believe is the most important thing in life? How do you want to spend your precious time on earth? What do you want to spend the fruits of your labor on? What problems, what missions do you find inherently rewarding to work on? That's one that hustle bros never talk about, right? It's never about what you would do if you never got paid to do it, which as we all know is the best place to figure out what kind of company you want to build or what kind of creative work you want to work on, I mean, that's just not part of the equation at all.
[00:38:17] Where in your life and in your career, do you make the most impact? How do you judge the value of that impact? What would make you proud? What would make you fulfilled? If you can answer some of these questions for yourself — and again, this is not something that you can solve in an afternoon. This is a lifetime of revisiting these questions. Obviously, it's a process, but if you can answer some of these questions for yourself. You'll start to create a system that is much more meaningful than whatever some, you know, roided out fitness bureau on YouTube, putting interviews with Arnold Schwartzenegger laid over NBA footage, whatever someone like that is going to tell you. Because developing your own philosophy, that will make you more equipped to judge the credibility of the self-help that you consume in the future.
[00:38:53] And when you're in touch with what really matters to you, it's a lot easier to watch, just a dumb, motivational video on YouTube. That's telling you to outwork everybody in the building and say, "That doesn't quite fit with what I'm trying to do with my life. That I know that, that doesn't chime with what I hold to be true. That's not who I am." And it's way easier to let that stuff roll off your back and just ignore it completely.
[00:39:14] And if you go through this exercise and you realize that what you truly value is more work like you actually do want to spend more time at you desk, we're not arguing with you. More power to you, but at least in that case, you'll have arrived at that view on your own, rather than just inheriting it from a teacher who's pushing you to buy into that particular definition of success so that they can just collect more money from you. Although I would venture to guess that if you really did this exercise, you'd probably find additional sources of meaning beyond just rising and grinding. And that's really the whole point.
[00:39:46] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show. We're doing a deep dive on hustle culture. We'll be right back.
[00:39:51] This episode is sponsored in part by Starbucks. The new Starbucks Baya Energy drink is crafted from caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit. So none of those weird, super chemical caffeine things you find in a lot of other energy drinks. Also it includes vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. So it's a nice beverage to bring to a summer barbecue, golf game, the beach, gardening in the backyard, or while you're sitting inside working because that's all you do with your life these days. I'm just speaking from personal experience. Also, it comes in three delicious, fruity flavors, mango guava, raspberry lime. I drink the pineapple passion fruit. I try and keep it fancy, throw a little umbrella in there. It's a perfect pick-me-up when you're out and about or working in the office on a summer day pack of Starbucks Baya Energy drink when you take your kids to the park. Obviously, you got to drink it, not the kids. They got enough energy already. Each 12-ounce, 90-calorie can contains 160 milligrams of caffeine. It will give you a refreshing fruit-flavored boost, a feel-good energy in a way only Starbucks can deliver
[00:40:43] Jen Harbinger: Starbucks Baya Energy drink is available online, at grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations nationwide.
[00:40:49] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Progressive insurance. Let's face it. Sometimes multitasking can be overwhelming. Like when your favorite podcast is playing, the person next to you is talking, your car fan is blasting, all while you're trying to find that perfect parking spot. But then again, sometimes multitasking is easy, like quoting with Progressive insurance. They do the hard work of comparing rates. So you can find a great rate that works for you, even if it's not with them. Give their comparison tool to try. And you might find that getting the rate and coverage you deserve is easy. All you need to do is visit Progressive's website and get a quote with all the coverages you want, like comprehensive and collision coverage or personal injury protection. Then you'll see Progressive's direct rate and their tool will provide options from other companies all lined up and ready to compare. So it's simple to choose the rate and coverage you like. Press play on comparing auto rates. Quote at progressive.com to join the over 27 million drivers who trust Progressive.
[00:41:37] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. Comparison rates not available in all states or situations. Prices vary based on how you buy.
[00:41:44] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much for listening to the show. I love doing these deep dives. I know that you guys get a lot out of them because I always hear from you. If you want to support the show — and I, of course, appreciate it when you do — all the sponsors and discount codes are all in one page. We recently redid the page. It should be more searchable now, jordanharbinger.com/deals. There's a search box on there and you can also search for any sponsor using the search box on our website as well. So please consider supporting those who support this show.
[00:42:10] Now for the rest of my conversation on hustle culture with Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:42:14] A lot of this, and I know we touched on this earlier, though — I want to highlight this. You have to cut out the toxic content. Once you've developed a set of values that are truly your own it's time to make a conscious decision, to just stop consuming all of this hustle BS. This is no different from cutting out on healthy food, dangerous substances, bad TV, toxic friendships. You just have to choose to do it. And from there, it's up to you to create a new information diet. My recommendation is to go cold turkey on all motivational content, all productivity porn, all other rise-and-grind type nonsense. Unsubscribed from those podcasts and YouTube channels. Donate or better yet toss out, recycle those books and magazines. Clear those websites, the bookmarks from your browsers.
[00:43:02] And if you find it hard to avoid this content, because the algorithms and filter bubbles can often keep serving it up to you. You got to get even more proactive, block the freaking website if you need to. Create new accounts with a fresh history, mute the channels on YouTube or social who post these kinds of garbage. Cutting this stuff out, it's liberating. It feels great. And it'll make room for more substantive influences. And then I recommend taking a break from self-help in general for a little while and just getting back in touch with your own thoughts and rhythms. You know this is a mental detox and part of the reward is coming back to yourself free from all influences, good or bad.
[00:43:39] And then when you're ready, you can start consuming better content. I've heard from a lot of you here on the show, listening to the show that you'll say something like, "Oh, I love when there's a guest, that's a serious scientist. Or I love when there's a guest or a coach that does this, but I also love when there's just no homework," and that's a key phrase, right? We do balance the great stories with the coaches and the scientists and the whatever because you can't be constantly bombarded with this.
[00:44:02] I want you to listen to all of the episodes and I realize it's not good for you if I have like 10 science of happiness authors in a row because people just go, "Good Lord, I have to meditate for 15 hours a day and do all, you know, journal everything. Otherwise, I'm not doing it." And then people start to feel bad and I don't want the show to make you feel bad. I want it to make you feel good. Like you're moving forward, okay. If you can do that. If you can cut all this crap out, all this stuff, that's making you roll backwards — hustle content might still find you from time to time, but it won't be able to sink its teeth into you the way that it once did, because you're just not under its spell anymore.
[00:44:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: And once you do all that, once you do get to enjoy that mental detox, then it's really just about seeking out higher quality resources, right? You clear the decks, you open up your mind, you open up your time to consume better ideas, authors, thinkers, people who actually know what they're talking about. And obviously those influences they'll look very different from person to person. So we're not here to tell you this is what you should consume. This is what you shouldn't consume.
[00:45:02] But here are a few principles to keep in mind. This might help. So, first of all, we recommend looking for resources that actually meaningfully contribute to your skills and to your knowledge. So that means avoiding those, you know, "you go girl" manifesto type stuff, those motivational masterminds, those rah-rah summits that are kind of just designed to like tap into that tribal mentality, where everybody just gets high on being in contact with other people who are really excited to be there. Ultimately, those feel-good for a few hours, but they don't really do much.
[00:45:31] I would look for books, courses, conversations that teach you concrete skills, deepen your expertise in specific areas that are relevant to you. The more you can immediately apply what you learn and generate results, the higher, the quality of what you're consuming is bound to be. And very closely related to that is gravitating to people who are truly committed to your growth. We talked about how hustle culture, people can kind of undermine their customers because it keeps them on the tap. This applies both to experts you follow, but also to their followers, your peers who are also consuming the same stuff.
[00:46:02] So don't settle for teachers who traffic and, you know, kind of vague language or cliches or teachers who tell you to double down on your existing strategy or your existing patterns. You know, like, "You're doing fine. Don't worry if everyone's mad at you, there's nothing wrong. Just keep going." Very common in the hustle community. Or people who encourage you to power through tough times or adversity with basically what amounts to blind determination without actually looking at yourself and deciding, "Mmm, do I need to get a little bit better here? Or do I need to level up? Do I need to fill in some gaps in my skills? Do I need to develop some more relationships?" Right? The actual work in other words. Look for experts who value critical thinking. Look for experts who care about, you know, higher ideals, better principles, who focus on actual, meaningful results, but most importantly, seek out influences that don't keep you on the hook for more and more products. Because if you find an idea or a teacher or a school, any kind of institution that encourages you to run with what you learn and never look back. I'd say like nine times out of 10, that's usually a pretty great sign.
[00:47:01] Jordan Harbinger: And at the same time, be wary of people who fetishize their success. Excellence without failure is a myth. Look for teachers and peers who openly struggle, grow, and put in the work to get better or have in the past. True experts understand that real growth is hard. They don't gloss over adversity. They acknowledge and they lean into it. So if you're consuming content, that's largely about crushing it, right? All the time — that's a sign that the content is purely motivational in nature. It's lacking a nuance. Time to graduate, to higher quality stuff. So that's our take on hustle culture — why it sucks, why it's important to move away from it? How to find better self-help materials?
[00:47:40] And I put self-help in quotes because I don't love the industry as a whole, but good self-help equips you to navigate life's challenges. It doesn't just tell you, "Ah, power through," or, "Don't overthink it, just keep grinding." Good self-help helps you build concrete skills. Helps you understand yourself better as a person. Helps you carve out a meaningful purpose that is unique to you. Sure. Good self-help might encourage you to put in the time to get good, but not because it shames you into working harder. Instead, it shouldn't empower you to chase the goals you find inherently meaningful. Most importantly, it doesn't preach a system that pits you against other people in the pursuit of success. Instead, it puts you in touch with what you believe is most important in life and helps you hold yourself to your own standard.
[00:48:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm so glad that you touched on that, Jordan. This whole idea that the hustle culture kind of pits you against other people, because one of the most interesting things I've noticed over the years about this whole community is that there's this very weird correlation between the hustle culture and bad relationships.
[00:48:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:48:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Have you noticed this, right?
[00:48:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like the most intense hustle followers I've met in my life. They've all been — and I say this because it's really sad. It's like a tragic thing — they've all really been very lonely, alienated, sort of lost people. They don't have a strong support group. They don't have a strong community. They might be part of a community that really follows this stuff. But that doesn't mean that they're building intimate relationships. And my theory about why that is that I'm guessing hustle curriculum taught them to view other people as competition. It's got to be that.
[00:49:09] Jordan Harbinger: Absolutely.
[00:49:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: But it's also because hustle culture, it implicitly teaches you to not deal with the problems in your life. It teaches you to not acknowledge difficult experiences that you might be going through with other people. So if your business is going badly, a hustle bro isn't going to say, "You need to turn to your business partner and talk about this," or you need to go to your therapist and ask them, like, "Why do I feel so anxious when I wake up in the morning? Why don't I want to go to work? Let me figure this out." They're never going to tell you that. They're going to tell you, "Ignore those feelings. Those are just your brain trying to sabotage you." When really the best thing you can do in a moment of struggle or when you're in a period of adversity is to turn to the people around you and ask for help, or just talk about it or learn from them. All of which goes against sort of the whole ethos of the hustle community.
[00:49:53] Jordan Harbinger: Absolutely. If there's one antidote to the whole toxic productivity, It's probably the people you surround yourself with and the quality of the relationships you form with them, to your point. And it's only by sharing our experiences with our close friends, our partners, our colleagues, our mentors, our team, whatever — experiences, both good and bad, by the way, that's how we can find the lasting motivation to go after what we want, not by chaining ourselves to our desk or running to second, third, and fourth jobs out of desperation. But by finding out what really matters in life with other people who care about those values too, and drawing on those relationships to realize our goals.
[00:50:33] Hustle culture is corrupt. High-quality self-help can be great, but strong, meaningful, intimate relationships. That's where the magic really happens. And if you want to build on what you've heard in this deep dive — I know this is a there's a lot here. It's a little intense— we're going to link to a bunch of related articles and episodes in the show notes, including stuff that we've created on building resilience, how to stop comparing yourself to other people, how to conquer envy and other negative emotions, and how to design a morning routine that actually works and much, much more. We also have a full article on this, Gabriel, do we not on hustle culture so that people can sort of share it. It goes into even more detail if I'm not mistaken.
[00:51:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, absolutely. We drill down a little more into each of these ideas and we also have some aspects of hostile culture that we didn't get to talk about today. So if you like this topic, definitely check that out. You can go a little deeper.
[00:51:22] Jordan Harbinger: You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with a black man that befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan.
[00:51:28] Daryl Davis: I don't support the KKK at all. I don't support that ideology, but I support people having the right to believe as they want to believe, as long as they don't cross the line and hurt people. And to show, to prove that I will stick up for somebody else's rights has also led to people just like that sticking up for mine. I know I didn't convert anybody, I am the impetus for over 200 to make up their own minds to convert themselves because I've given them reasons to think about other things that make more sense than what they're currently doing.
[00:52:00] It bothers me a great deal that we call ourselves the greatest nation on the face of this earth. And we have to admit that there are some flaws here. I don't adhere to the statement that we are the greatest. Maybe I would bend and say that perhaps technologically, we are the greatest. So how is it that we as Americans can talk to people as far away as the moon or anywhere on the face of this earth, but yet there's so many of us who have difficulty talking to the person who lives right next door.
[00:52:36] This is the 21st century. This racist nonsense does not belong in any century let alone the 21st. We are living in space-age times, but there's still too many of us thinking with stone-age minds.
[00:52:52] Jordan Harbinger: For more on how Daryl Davis convinced 200 KKK members to give up their robes, check out episode 540 on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:53:02] Thanks to Gabe Mizrahi for joining me here today. Don't forget I'm going to be interviewing author Ryan Holiday live in person in Los Angeles at the Venice West on June 13th. I'd love to see you there in person. Tickets are available at jordanharbinger.com/tickets. That's jordanharbinger.com/tickets. Again, June 13th at Los Angeles at the Venice West. That's me and Ryan Holiday live onstage. Hope to see you there.
[00:53:26] Links to all resources we mentioned will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Please use our website links if you buy books from any guests or anything we mentioned here on the show that does help support the show. Transcripts are in the show notes. Videos go up on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, and discount codes, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please once again, consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:53:52] And I'm teaching you how to connect with amazing people, manage your relationships, using the same software, systems, and tiny habits that I use every day. That's our Six-Minute Networking course. The course is free. It always will be free. It's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. And again, most of the guests you hear on the show subscribe and contribute to that course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[00:54:15] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's consumed by hustle culture, watching way too much social media, burning out, burning the candle at both ends, please do share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.