Hustleheads

The Culture and Addiction That Must Die

As humans, we’re intrinsically wired to get a buzz from our accomplishments — big or small — and it’s this buzz that makes the hustle dangerous.

Like caffeine or alcohol, the hustle is contagious. It’s the quick, gratifying sense of accomplishment, followed by a gentle-high that creates addiction.

And like any addiction, the hustle has no end and it has no fulfilment.

It’s ravenous, all-consuming and grows day-by-day. Over time, you’ll need to ‘hustle’ even more to reach that same initial high.

Over time, you’ll become a ‘hustlehead’, a burnt out drone with little-to-no substance to offer the world (or those you care about).

I hear what you’re saying…

"Cassius, hustling feels good. When I’m not hustling, there are people around the world who are, and I refuse to do less when I know the work I’m putting in will pay off. "

…I hear you, really I do.

Those words are my words, and there’s not a single bone in my body that disagrees with your logic — what you put in, is what you get out.

What you’re not factoring in, is that the hustle comes at a cost.

In small quantities the hustle is manageable and occasionally beneficial. In large quantities, it’s harmful and long-term usage will lead to detrimental changes within your body and life.

Think about it this way, caffeine improves your focus, but it creates a new baseline for your body. Want to feel as good as your first cup of coffee?
Now you need to drink 3.

Nicotine heightens your cognition but is (almost) unavailable in forms non-toxic to the human body. Continuous consumption creates a new baseline and contributes to poor choices.

The hustle (like must drugs or substances) is similar to a credit card. The additional time and focus that you borrow now must be repaid with interest. And it needs to be repaid much sooner than you’d expect.

And people forget this.

People forget that the hustle has a toll and that satisfying feeling of overworking quickly becomes a curse.

There is a price for those sleepless nights, there is a price for eating poorly, there is a price for neglecting exercise and there is a price for ignoring those you care about…

….And for some, this price is worth paying.

But, most of those who become hustleheads are unaware that there are better ways to live their lives and accomplish their goals.

Unfortunately, most of us are brainwashed into this addiction by the constant noise made by Silicon Valley bros or over-stimulated wine connoisseurs.

Enough is enough.

Below is a mantra to live by which will help you ‘stay clean’ and accomplish ambitious goals without the long-term consequences that come from addiction or burnout.

Below are 3 steps to move from hustlehead to high-performer.

1) Become Progressive

Humanity is progressive, and we’ve accomplished many incredible feats in a short space of time (at least, relative to our existence) and these feats have been incremental.

The hustle is the opposite of progressive, it wants everything here and now. Everyone who has accomplished something impressive or admirable has been progressive.

Athletes who train for several hours per day didn’t start there. They started with small progressive steps to build up to a level that’s world-class.

With the hustle, we forget about progression and instead, overload to the point of sheer fatigue and exhaustion on a never-ending basis.

Every champion began as a competitor.

This is the mindset that you need to adopt to become dangerous.

If Bill Gates reads 50 books per year, do you believe that one day he decided to read a book a week? Of course he didn’t, he built up this skill over time.

All progress comes from incremental steps which compound over time.

There are certain instances where you have no choice but to go above and beyond your limits, but the idea is to remove the fragility behind these instances as much as possible.

Being progressive removes the need to cram months into minutes.

And, in the instances where this is necessary, you’ll be better prepared to avoid long-term damage and the all-consuming nature of the hustle.

How do you start becoming progressive? The same way you’d eat a whale, one bite at a time.

In short, imagine your goals and what you’d like to achieve and work backwards (with a focus on starting small).

Here’s an example related to reading, since this comes up a lot in my circles.

Goal — Read 52 Books in 12 Months

  • Start reading 10 pages per day
  • Every other day, add in an additional page
  • Workout what 52 books in a year will look like (e.g. 52 * 300 = 42 pages)
  • Once you get to 42 pages on a daily basis, you’ve reached your goal
  • Rinse and repeat for years to come
  • Is this goal as difficult and overwhelming as I first thought?
  • Does this goal matter enough for me to continue putting the work in?

Do the above for anything you want to achieve and no matter what it is you’re doing, you’ll accomplish your goals and reach superhuman feats.

2) Embrace the Journey

Everyone is desperate to do more in less time.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it’s this hunger which drives innovation, but there’s also a limit to how much time can be saved through optimisation.

It’s this same mentality that leads many ‘muscleheads’ to anabolic steroids.

Muscles grow much faster with the use of anabolic steroids, however, steroids can’t strengthen another vital part of your musculature — your tendons and ligaments. These often forgotten pieces of anatomy are what holds your muscles and bones together, and these little fellows don’t develop anywhere near as fast.

The only thing that strengthens your muscles and tendons is long-term, progressive overload. Keep increasing the weights without strengthening your tendons and ligaments, and one day, they’ll snap.

More than that, it’s this shortcut attitude of the typical musclehead which won’t teach you how to eat well, sleep well and live a well-rounded life which will support the goals that anabolic steroids are used to maintain.

Sound familiar? This is the same attitude most hustleheads possess.

It’s the path least travelled which teaches you life’s greatest lessons.

What the hustle saves you in time, it fails to teach you in terms of healthy habits and longevity. What will teach you these vital skills, is the journey. Whether it takes you six months or six years depends on your commitment to the cause (not the shortcuts you take).

Have you ever wondered why tortured entrepreneurs often become content with their past once they make progress towards their goals? Despite the countless setbacks and failures most of will experience, it’s the lessons learnt from this journey bring the greatest rewards.

Of course, if you’re able to take actions to avoid catastrophic failures and reduce the friction of your journey, you should take it. But, understand that no matter what you do, there’s only so much you’re able to speed-up.

The journey is a great teacher and the sad reality is that the majority of people who will heed my words on the hustle, are ex-hustleheads that have taken part in the painful lessons that the hustle brings.

Still not sold on the journey? Well, if you’re reading this article, it’s safe to say you’re interested in self-improvement….

…So,when in your life did you begin to see the value of self-improvement and what was the trigger? Take a moment to think about it.

No matter what the trigger is or was, it stemmed from a series of positive and negative events which taught you the value of self-improvement. Without this specific series of events to get you where you are now, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the value of reading or taking time to grow.

But for those who’re looking to optimise their time to make an impact, here’s what I’d suggest to help make the most of your journey:

  • Refine your goals to the point where you’re able to quantify them
    Want to see if you’re making progress? Measure it against a number
  • Find mentors who you’re able to ask questions and get support from
    People who’ve been there and done that are your greatest resource
  • Be willing to fail fast, slow and anything in between
    It’s often the painful decisions in life which get us from A to B
  • Keep an open mind and don’t let your ego make your decisions
    The journey is not forgiving to those who won’t immerse themselves
  • Be willing to practice and master the basics
    Until they become absolute second nature to you

Yes, the journey is intimidating and as humans we hate uncertainty. However, I can say with absolute certainty, that no matter what life throws at you, the journey will provide the answers.

3) Make Your Impact

Hustleheads are drones.

They’re people who want to do the same things and live the same lives.

They’re people who are happy to be crushed against the grain because that’s expected in the culture.

Culture is a powerful tool for change and the addiction that comes with the hustle (like any drug) comes with its own culture.

There is no individuality if you become a hustlehead.

Rather than thinking for yourself and identifying what impact is to you, you’ll follow the masses and live a life that’s simply not yours. You become a slave to the system that promises to save you.

You can’t take followers or emails with you.

There are many people who want to live their lives like the top hustleheads of this world, and if that’s truly your goal, then that’s okay.

But you can’t model our life on these people and expect to succeed.

Why? Survivorship bias.

Survivorship bias is the term used when we focus on the survivors of an event rather than those who died.

Think about it this way, the world is full of hustleheads working themselves tooth and nail to make an impact. Instead of focusing on how many people fail and destroy themselves in the process (which, is a number much higher than those who survive) we focus on those who’ve ‘made it’ and model our successes on them instead.

Survivorship bias is what cost the British army planes during the war.

The British army knew they needed to armour their planes to keep them safe from enemy fire. What the army did, is look at the planes that returned to the barracks, analyse where they’d been shot and armour the parts of the plane where there were bullet holes.

Can you guess what happened? Next time, these planes didn’t make it home.

Rather than figuring out why the planes the fallen planes didn’t make it back, they based where to armour these planes on those that survived. In turn, the weak parts of the planes were still vulnerable and the next time they took flight, they didn’t make it home.

Want to avoid survivorship bias and start making your impact?

Then stimulate your thinking with some simple questions.

  • How do I want to live my life?
  • What do I want to do with my time?
  • What matters to me in life?
  • How much money do I need to focus on what matters?
  • Whom do I want to support on my journey?

If you’re looking to get deep, ask yourself….

When I’m gone, how do I want to be remembered?

Most hustleheads will ask the deep questions, but forget that they have their own needs and values. Your life is yours, and you choose the impact you make, Silicon Valley doesn’t make it for you.


To rid the world of addiction and to help destroy the hustlehead culture, the old adage still stands — be the change you want to see in the world.

Remember

  • Be Progressive
  • Embrace the Journey
  • Make Your Impact
  • Every champion began as a competitor
  • The path least travelled which teaches you life’s greatest lessons.
  • When I’m gone, how do I want to be remembered?

Think

  • Every champion began as a competitor
  • The path least travelled which teaches you life’s greatest lessons.
  • When I’m gone, how do I want to be remembered?