“Owning your dreams feels different, perhaps even strange. It involves living an engaged life; making your best, most decisive choices; not being afraid of the consequences, and correcting your course along the way. It means taking action and assuming rightful ownership of your destiny.”
Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, and Jonas Koffler’s book Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning and Momentum is both motivational and practical. The authors are great at telling stories, and developed each section of the book to find you directly where you currently are in your work and life.
The book focuses on a few different things: first, meaning, money, and momentum. These are the external characteristics that are crucial for your hustle. The authors then focus on your character—who you are internally, broken down into your heart, head, and habits.
Hustle interweaves the internal and external characteristics to help you through your journey. The authors are consistently pushing for you to move quickly and make a difference. At the end of each chapter they review what you have learned, and challenge you to put those ideas into practice.
The Big Idea
Habits of Great Hustlers—Make Your Future POP
"80 percent of success is showing up…if you embrace ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ as a compliment and learn more than one of these skills…you win."
The POP is your “Personal Opportunity Portfolio.” In which you create your future. You create your opportunities. The authors offer the following questions to get you thinking about how to find meaning, money, and momentum through your hustle:
Are you building on your potential through “experiments, storytelling, pitching, growth and innovation?” Are you building on your people by “helping, serving, and networking?” Are you building on your proof through “discoverability, reputation, track record of success, differentiation, quirks and luck?” Are you building on your projects with your “day job, side gig, value add, productivity and teamwork?”
The authors outline the principles below to help you maximize your hustle, and establish your POP:
Potential Makes You Powerful
Get out there and interact with people—tell stories. You are not going to be great—at the beginning. You just need to pitch the idea, the project, the work, the product and on average—if you have a level of better-than-average persuasion skills—you will find your momentum to show your meaning and make money to fuel your muse.
People Make Your Hustle Whole
Great structure for building relationships starts with a habit. You can employ the following tactics to maximize your relationships: seek out introductions to new people, use storytelling for a broad group of worldviews, recognize opportunities for collaboration between others, find the good in different perspectives, introduce others when they might benefit from becoming associated, and forge connections for those with the same issues.
Projects Make You Stronger
This is the proof and the production. You must be clear and set metrics:
- Name your Project
- Clarify a Goal
- Set a Deadline
- Figure out a list of collaborators.
- Determine the pieces. What work needs to be done?
- Who will do which parts?
- Prioritize which pieces come first.
- Execute through problem-solving by creative means with measurable results.
Proof Makes You Bulletproof
Visible production is the new normal—while resumes increasingly become a waste of time and paper. What have you done? If you haven’t created any work, then shots will be fired and nothing is going to stop the bullets (figurative of course) from poking holes in your façade.
Money: The Means of Momentum
“Financial success is what allows us to remain uncompromising in our art and our career.” You need a balance of money and meaning in order to survive, do great work, and create change while providing for your family.
There is no meaning without others. You need to approach each “situation and interaction with kindness, support, and openness, as if it will have a positive, mutually beneficial outcome” for all parties involved.
Heart: Make 10,000 Mistakes
"Most people think they know what they’re good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they’re not good at – and even then more people are wrong than right."
Success is the product of hustle, luck, and your unique talents. You probably noticed that I didn’t write 10,000 hours, I wrote, 10,000 mistakes. This is because we all know that hard work will help you with your goals, but that is not the only ingredient for success. You need to highlight your unique talents and experience in order to be successful. A crucial elements of developing that experience is your ability to embrace and learn from failure.
The saying goes, “home is where the heart is,” and your heart will drive the 10,000 mistakes into something successful. By embracing your past mistakes, you will be able to assert your unique perspective, and demonstrate your ability to hustle. Simply putting in time will not be enough, you must be constantly challenging yourself to learn and grow.
Embrace Mental Exercise
"The more we practice our new modes of expression, the more we might be able to bolster our neurological health and recovery and delay the onset of traumatic brain diseases like Alzheimer’s."
“Too little exercise and we don’t grow.” The exercise the authors refer to is not just physical. Each part of what makes you who you are is driven by exercise, i.e., physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual. We need to continue to exercise our brains because growth will only occur when “we engage in cognitive activities.”
Unfortunately, we often seek out experiences that involve little to no cognitive effort. Television is a dopamine driven instrument that creates a numbing effect. This numbing effect inhibits our cognitive exercise.
To combat this effect, seek out challenging experiences. Do cognitive exercises, read deeply (either fiction or nonfiction), and engage in debates with people who have different beliefs than you. Embracing mental exercise will keep you sharp as you work through mistakes, strengthen your relationships, and maximize your hustle.
“A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.” ~ James P. Carse, Hustle, page 211
Putting all of the lessons in this book into practice will not give you overnight success. This is a lifelong journey that may come with a lot of pain: but, it’s important to remember that in this context, pain can be good. A degree of pain lets us know that the mistakes are happening, and we are growing as we learn from challenges. In addition, hopefully, we are connecting with people who have the same dreams and ambitions that we have, to make our hustle all the more worthwhile. Remember, when the finite game comes to an end, we still need to recognize that there is only one infinite game. That game is always being played; “there is no end and no beginning. The rules are fluid, and if the rules threaten to make an infinite game finite, the players must change them… the purpose is to keep playing.”