“This idea that unless you are suffering, grinding, working every hour of every day, you’re not working hard enough … this is one of the most toxic, dangerous things in tech right now,” Ohanian said, according to Say’s report. “It’s such bullshit, such utter bullshit. It has deleterious effects not just on your business but on your wellbeing.”
Ohanian’s frustration is supported by psychological and scientific research, which repeatedly proves that getting insufficient sleep and exercise is among the worst things you can do for your memory, heart health, and general health. Alternatively, when entrepreneurs do make time for sleep, they’re calmer and more focused at work.
Ohanian also noted that the “hustle” ethos discourages entrepreneurs from reaching out for help when they’re struggling, for fear of looking weak or unsuccessful in the eyes of investors. The key to entrepreneurial success, he said at Web Summit, is overcoming this anxiety and engaging in hard conversations with co-workers. “When you’re struggling, talk to someone. It can be a professional, a family member, or even a stranger can be helpful in getting you into a better headspace.”
And remember: like most porn, hustle porn is not a valid representation of reality.
I’m tired of the “X porn” labeling of things, but there is a definite fetishism of the “hustle” ethos. Here in Japan, it is culture.
I know and accept that I am not my best when I’m run down. I just got off a four week stretch where my days were crazy long and stressful. Two of the weeks are when I hosted my son in Tokyo and I would not trade those for the world. Add two weeks of colleagues from overseas, some financial stress, too much drinking and eating, and not enough sleep; the I-almost-visited-the-hospital migraine I got is not surprising in the least.
That is an extreme example. More routine for me is when insomnia impacts my cognitive abilities or when I don’t exercise. Then my energy is low.
The Japanese Salaryman ethos is no help either. Twelve hour office days isn’t conducive to creative endeavors, or even much in the way of productivity. When I exercise and sleep well I can produce well in that environment, but that doesn’t leave time for anything resembling a personal life. At 19:00, 20:00, or later colleagues will go out drinking, nap as they take their hour plus train ride home, sleep for a spell in their own bed, nap on their morning train ride back, and start all over again. Some people do that six days a week.
How anything gets done of value is miraculous. That the Japanese have such long life spans is remarkable.
As for me, not having been indoctrinated into such a lifestyle in grade school (minus the drinking, obviously) I am also not bound by the social norms. I can work a shorter day in the office, be available on-line of needed, and get a good night’s sleep (let’s not talk about my social life) because I can generate good to great stuff for longer in a given day … in theory, anyway. YMMV.