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Hustle Culture Needs to Take the Back Seat
60 characters. 15 seconds. That’s how long it takes to bore us nowadays.
With the rise of social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok, a greater emphasis is being put on briefer, more concise material that can keep up with the shortening attention span of users. Ever thought about why you just can’t help falling asleep whenever your teacher drones on for an hour about some topic that you vaguely remember? It may partly be because you’ve grown so accustomed to the short videos and posts that you come across all the time that nothing longer than a few minutes – let alone an hour – can hold your interest.
This newfound value for “hustle” that our culture embraces with open arms has seemed to spill over into every aspect of our lives.
As such, our need for instant gratification is everywhere. It consumes us as we continue to watch episode after episode in what seems like a harmless binge-watch; only for us to find out we can’t even go one week without finding out what happens next on Grey’s Anatomy. Each morning we plan to wake up early and get some work done. But when the alarm rings in the morning, we hit the snooze button without any further thought. As soon as Amazon announces a sale, we find ourselves pleased with saving quite a large sum due to the discount we found after hours of searching, while also knowing deep down that we don’t need half the items we purchased in the first place.
These acts of impulse seem to haunt wherever we go.
Everything about the world we live in today is fast – fast fashion, fast food, fast passes. It’s hard to imagine living without all these shortcuts that seem to make our tedious days just a little bit easier.
Some would say that quickening the pace of life is a good thing because it makes us more efficient and our time more well spent. But the truth is that society in 2020 has us running too fast, trying to meet deadlines and deal with too many wearisome tasks. Being able to work slowly and meaningfully is a rarity in this digital age and with good reason: virtually anything can be found with the touch of a finger. There's no slowing down, or else you're left behind.
But with all this connectivity, we’re sacrificing something that is far more important – ourselves.
We throw ourselves from one commitment to the next, barely present enough to remember the journey to and from each location; the clarity and self-awareness that is so crucial to building us as people is as good as lost.
Amid such a fast-paced world, we need to remind ourselves that one of the most important things that one can do is to take a minute and really take in what we’re doing (which the current COVID-19 situation has admittedly helped with).
Once you’ve realized that you’re caught in the hamster wheel, you have to make the decision to step off. And in some ways, 2020 and this coronavirus pandemic have forced everyone to slow down their fast-paced methods by giving them time in lockdown to reflect.
Those who had not been able to talk to their loved ones simply due to the fact that they were “too busy” now found themselves having heart-to-hearts with the people they were quarantined with; and as for the friends and family that they only saw rarely beforehand, this experience instilled a gratitude in many for the kind figures in their lives that they used to take for granted.
Although there’s not much positive that we can accredit to the pandemic, this shift is undoubtedly one of the best things to come out of it – both for us humans and the planet we live in.
As much as we all relished taking a break from driving for that period in time, it’s safe to say that Mother Nature enjoyed it far more than any of us humans did. With the rate of carbon emissions at an all time low during lockdown, the overall air quality worldwide is reaching levels not seen in the past few decades. It’s a given that this finding does not mean that all issues regarding air pollution and fossil fuel emissions are resolved; but it's a ray of hope to be seen in these desperate times.
It gives reassurance that we can begin to understand how our actions, if taken after a period of clarity, can completely reshape our own lives but also the world itself. We all have the ability to bring about change, but it starts with making those changes on an individual level first.
So, whenever you can, take a moment to stop and smell the roses – you need it.