Why mere hustling isn’t enough?

There is a Chinese proverb that says: “Execution without direction is in vain.” If we were to understand it carefully, there is such wisdom in such a short, yet powerful proverb that not only tells us the importance of knowing where we are going, but also what we are up for at the end of the day by putting all our effort and hard work. This is especially true for the current era, where the championing of the hustling culture becomes prominent or well promoted. It is even more critical than before to understand the meaning behind this proverb today.

It is not wrong to hustle; in fact, it is part of the process to anyone who would like to attain great success and achievement or even impact in their respective professional arenas. However, how many times have we heard from stories around us or from our own that go something like this: “In the end, what does all my work account to? What am I working so hard for? Are my efforts even worth it?” Thus, if we still think that we can get what we desire simply through hustling alone (both success and fulfillment, and without getting burned out), think again!

So how can we avoid going down that route or path? We believe there are three major ways and they are:

  • Set a clear PURPOSE

As we might have already known, knowing and understanding our WHY is crucial when setting forth what we want to accomplish. Without a clear WHY, it is like driving to a destination but without knowing why we have to get there in the first place. Yes we can still reach our destination, but eventually we’ll ask ourselves: “Why did I even bother driving all the way here?” Sounds familiar when it comes to attaining our goals?

Besides, being intentional about our WHY can also help us remain focused in the face of distractions. Note that the key word here is FOCUS. The least we want is to have 100 goals in our list and then end up achieving none. Some of us might be good at multitasking, but having to multitask on our goals might not be a good idea. Hence, instead of having tens or hundreds of them, why not just pick THREE first which are the most important and relevant ones. I kid you not, the human mind is in love with the number ‘3’. It creates the sweet spot for us to work on and to focus on our goals.

  • Make consistent PROGRESS

Time flies! In just a glimpse of an eye, we have almost come to the end of the first quarter of the year. How many of us still remember the New Year's resolution we have set in the beginning of the year? And how many of us are still working on our New Year’s resolution? Research from Inc.com has shown that 80% of people have failed to achieve their New Year’s resolutions by February. Some of us have even completely forgotten about our resolutions too.

So instead of a New Year’s resolution, why not try a quarterly resolution? Now you might ask: “Why quarterly, or in other words, three months / 12 weeks?” According to Mckinsey & Company, a three-month or 12-week cycle provides enough “runway” to make tangible progress towards a goal. Moreover, this period also trains us to be concrete and specific in our goals, which decades of goal-setting research show is critical to goal attainment. Imagine person A having a goal to switch a career path or to change a role in an organization but is unsure whether his decision was a wise one yet. Having a three months buffer can provide A enough time to learn new knowledge and skills related to the new role and to discover whether he is suitable for such a new challenge and enable him to either rethink his choices or reaffirms his decision in the end. The three-month or 12-week cycle serves as a critical checkpoint for us to recalibrate or to realign our goals along the way when necessary.

  • Cultivate a habit of deliberate PRACTICE

Progress doesn’t just happen through sorcery or magic. It happens through deliberate practice. Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfection, but it does make progress, if given enough time. As martial artist Bruce Lee once said, “I am not afraid of a person who knows 10000 kicks. But I am afraid of a person who knows one kick but practices it 10000 times.” In short, to be a jack of all trades or the master of one, the choice is ours.

Another vital point about the process of practice is having someone to hold us accountable. It is part of our human nature to slack off at times, thus having someone or a network that we can trust to support us will give us an edge in our goal attainment. Remember that such a person or group of people has to be someone who is trustworthy and willing to provide us feedback on our progress and hold us accountable for what we say we will set out to do. They could be our teammates. other peers, managers, loved ones, or even better, a reliable coach! In addition to that, the process becomes a lot more fun and enjoyable when we have multiple sources of support, feedback and insights that will eventually multiply our potential to learn and grow in the pursuit of our goals.

  • Take a moment to PAUSE

I know in the beginning it was mentioned three ways, but here’s an additional bonus, and that is taking time to pause. Just like a vehicle needs time to rest after a long hours of driving, what moreover us as human beings. Pausing means finding adequate rest or even just to slow down to reevaluate our priorities once again. It is also a way to remind us that we are so much more important than all the goals we set out to accomplish. If we don’t learn how to take care of ourselves or our mental and emotional health, how can we possibly take care of our goals? So remember to take your moment to pause when it is necessary in order to replenish, recharge and revitalize your strength without waiting to be exhausted or till you are completely drained.

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Remember: we should never hustle in vain. Hustle with a vision and allow our core purpose to be the guide; that way, we can progress into the direction that we want through consistent and deliberate practice, at the same time, not neglecting our own self by having proper and sufficient pause moment (rest time).


Curious and want to find out more about how to get clarity and consistency in your 4Ps (purpose, progress, practice, & pause) to move into the direction you desire? Reach out to us today at Lighthouse Coaching for more information and let our coaches assist and guide you!

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