Hustle by Neil Patel

In a world of boundless abundance, the only thing standing between us and the fulfillment of our dreams is self-imposed friction and the fear of doing the uncomfortable. The antidote is to hustle. Hustle is decisive movement toward a goal by which the motion itself manufactures luck, surfaces hidden opportunities, and charges our lives with more money, meaning and momentum. Hustle is the most important tool to assert power and own our dreams.

To fully own your dreams, you’ll need three fundamental forces: money, meaning and momentum. Your hustle aims to cultivate and amplify those forces throughout your life. You don’t have to be privileged to hustle – you only need to give yourself permission.

Part One: Heart

The work we choose to do reflects who we are. There once was a time that nearly anyone with a decent work ethic could build a solid career with stability and upward mobility. But now, most people live check to check and can barely keep a job let alone progress in one. Today’s system is a rigged game designed to trap us with student loans, credit cards, mortgages, unfulfilling work, and quickly commoditised jobs.

Owning your dreams means taking action and assuming rightful ownership of your destiny. But too much dreaming leads to too little doing. Move forward. Hustle.

We need to burn into our brains that the goal is not to avoid risk and failure altogether. The goal is to achieve success by taking bite-sized risks.

To own your dreams you must be ready to commit to doing some things a bit differently and be open to surprises along the way. Hustling is about shaking things up, letting go of old patterns that suck the life out of us, and beginning anew.

There are infinite opportunities out there. You don’t have to be stuck feeling “meh” about your job or your life. You are not helpless – you can control your destiny.

When we look at ourselves in the wrong mirrors, we learn to be blind to our talents. But another problem is believing that we have an abundance of talent that we actually don’t.

In order to find and see your true talent, you need to understand two distorted mirrors that prevent you from seeing your true self.

The Lake Wobegon Effect: In the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average. Statistically speaking, it is impossible for everyone to be above average. The Lake Wobegon effect is your ego subconsciously protecting itself from bad thoughts – the truth that you aren’t necessarily above average at everything. Overconfidence has its benefits but when it comes to accurately judging your own hidden talents, the Lake Wobegon Effect hides your truth.

The Kangaroo Court: Just as we often overestimate our abilities in a field in which we want to succeed, we also let ourselves be judged harshly by people who can’t necessarily judge accurately. These people are the kangaroo court of talent. You yourself must determine what your talents and abilities are, and you can’t necessarily rely on others for guidance and support.

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We need to know our talents in order to know which ring to enter. So take a good look at your strengths and don’t let distorted mirrors lead you astray.

Do something that excites you or energizes you. Do something and see if you can recognize your talents in the process. Try lots and lots of different things.

If you diversify your personal and professional life correctly, you can steal the positive side effects of one success – such as confidence, toughness and vision – from one part of your life to help drive other parts of your life. We all fail. But if we fail in one aspect of our life, we should be able to take refuge knowing we are successful in other parts.

Before you start a new project or venture, write down your expectation about what you think that project will entail from you and what you will be asked to give and do. After the project ends, record the results. What did you do well? Was the project a success? What did you do poorly? Record and revisit your reality to see yourself as you truly are. If you do this consistently, patterns will surface to reveal your strengths and weaknesses. Once you identify your talents, work to improve them.

Most of us equate risk with danger – something to be avoided. Instead, think of it like oxygen. Both too much or too little can harm you, but it is essential and inescapable. You must take the right type of risk. The right amount of risk motivates us to discover success.

Your hustle isn’t about becoming perfect superhero. Hustling is where you learn what you love and love what you learn. Perfection squashes risk, and therefore it is perilous. The gift of imperfection is that you can learn to rewire along the way.

Part Two: Head

Small doses of stressors and risk surprisingly strengthen our biological systems. Exercise is a good example of this. With repeated pain, our muscles grow. And as we grow stronger, we can push ourselves harder. Infrequent exercise won’t push our body enough to strengthen. And if we push our bodies too far, we can damage our muscles.

Finding the right level is key. You can do this with anything. If you want to be a better public speaker, seek out small doses of pain. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone repeatedly, and soon, you will be a master speaker. If it doesn’t hurt a little, you’re not moving forward.

Build incrementally. Ask yourself, “What is the smallest thing I can do today to reap a long-term benefit?” It must be small, slightly annoying and promising in some way. It can be anything from a short workout, breaking out of your routine by eating a new sandwich at lunch, or learning a few new words. Something is always better than nothing.

As you get more familiar with hustle, you will learn that luck is not beyond our reach. Our commitments make us luckier. Chasing our dreams puts us in a position to manifest and take advantage of luck. By hustling, moving and doing, you can harvest more good fortune and capture more luck.

No matter how good you are, there is an inescapable element of luck in what you will face. You are bound to strike out sometimes, but that’s okay. Remember, avoiding failure is not the goal.

The Three Unseen Laws of Hustle

Rule #1: Do Something That Moves You

Look into your heart and do something that moves you emotionally and moves you to take action. Your emotion will feed your hustle. This emotion can be anything – anger, frustration, excitement, greed or revenge – anything that moves you. We often end up feeling trapped because we make decisions purely on logic instead of listening to our hearts.

Don’t follow your passion. If you love to surf, opening a surf shop will often cause initial excitement, but it will quickly fade into unhappiness. That’s because your passions change frequently. So don’t base your career on a fleeting passion. Focus on your innate talents – these don’t seem to change much over time.

To get started, don’t forget to think about your strategy and tactics. Consider unseen obstructions and keep in mind that things change. Continuously revisit your plans and strategies.

Rule #2: Keep Your Head Up and Your Eyes Open

When you do this, you will see and seize opportunities where most don’t.

Before you can hustle, you must learn to see differently. What most people see as fear and pain, hustlers see as opportunity. Opportunity lies in every conversation or interaction you find yourself in. It may not be apparent on the surface, but it’s there.

Look for work that is simple to understand, but hard to do. Write a book, launch a start-up, get a job promotion. This blocks the naysayers and allows you to charge ahead while absorbing small doses of pain.

Set deadlines to keep your momentum.

Rule #3: Seal the Deal and Make it Real

This is when you close the gap between what you said you would do and what you have done. Sealing the deal doesn’t have to be a seven-figure check, but it does have to be a concrete commitment. Sealing the deal will make it real and give you confidence in growing your abilities.

Your identity is not fixed or consistent with your past. Yesterday’s you is not the same as today’s you. Betray your old self so your new self can gain momentum.

Momentum is your secret weapon. Just by reading this summary, you are well on your way to internalizing the Three Unseen Laws of Hustle, and they will change the way you think and do. You are on your way to success.

Your Indirect Path to Your Dreams

The shortest distance between two points isn’t always a straight line. Conventional wisdom isn’t always the best way to get something done. Instead, look at your resources and use them to take you in whatever unexpected, unpredictable direction you choose. Sometimes it will be the longer path, but it is the path that will lead you to your dreams.

You may not realize in the moment, but each step you take creates opportunities and luck that would not have existed otherwise. Your hustle will lead you.

The route you set on, even if it is meticulously planned, will always change. As you hustle in life, you will start in one direction and realize that the path is not leading you exactly where you thought it would. But you readjust and move forward.

As a hustler, it is crucial that you always design your own way and create the path optimized for you. Start at point B and reverse engineer your way back to point A. Do things in an unconventional order and you will get more results.

There are four pathways of hustle:

The Outside/Inside Hustle: This is getting a foot in the door. Be different and unexpected. Move yourself from the outside to the inside.

The Inside/Upside Hustle: This is an ascent characterized by growth and new challenges within an organization. This is for you if you’re already established in a regular work station, and you have a firm existing role in a company. Provide value and earn a promotion.

The Inside/Outside Hustle: This requires you to leave the comforts of someone else’s company, allow your entrepreneurial gear to kick in, and absorb the terror of taking risks. Be brave and confident that you’re on the right track, even if you fail a few times. Move from the old (inside) to the new (outside).

The Outside/Upside Hustle: This requires a commitment to beat the odds. This hustle always leads to discovery, reinvention and massive breakthroughs. This is accelerating epic entrepreneurial and creative achievements.

Part Three: Habits

Now you’re ready to build up your Personal Opportunity Portfolio to ensure you’ll have all the elements you need to move forward. To do this, break it down into only ten minutes a day. Every day, do something that moves you and advances you for ten minutes. The short time required forces you into a focused and disciplined bubble, and after you can decide if you want to pursue the pursuit of opportunity for a longer period.

Your career is made up of four key elements, potential, people, projects and proof, so put in effort to beef up your POP in these areas.

Finding and adding to your potential is the most powerful thing you can do to hustle. A combination of mediocre skills makes you more resilient to changes in the labour market and will lift you from mediocre to excellent.

People make up the second piece of your POP because everything begins and ends with relationships. Don’t network with the intention of, “What’s in it for me?” Focus on their interests, their challenges, and their needs. Build a bridge of connection, and those connections will lead to opportunities.

Projects, not careers, are the foundation of your hustle. Work has become project-oriented, and those that pursue projects will be the most successful. Hustling means choosing projects that move you forward and allow yourself to execute at a high level.

Proof is the seen and unseen creativity, initiative, skills and talent you possess. For this, the most important thing you can do is offer a way for people to find you and your talents. Proof provides concrete evidence that you are unique. It is what sets you apart from the herd. Use proof to help decision makers and people of influence find and identify you.

The unofficial P in your POP is profit. You should always look to profit from your work, whether monetarily or otherwise.

Wherever you are, and whatever you want, hustle teaches you that you can always begin anew and continue the journey. Nothing is fixed. Permanence is a false comfort that prevents us from aspiring to greatness. Choose to hustle, and you will be surprised by how many doors you will be able to open. It doesn’t matter where you begin. The most important thing is to begin today.

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