Hustler (n.): A hard-working, passionate person who’s determined to succeed.
Successful entrepreneur, investor, and author Gary Vaynerchuk is a self-described hustler. When he first started out, he spent every day hitting the pavement for his small business, Wine Library, trying to get as much local exposure as possible.
His hustle paid off. In five years, Vaynerchuk grew Wine Library to a $60 million business.
“When you have passion around something, you’ll do whatever it takes to execute on it,” Vaynerchuk says. “When you’re truly in that hustle, you are maximizing every last bit of energy you have in order to produce.”
Do you hustle like Gary V.? Read on for six signs of a true hustler.
1) You’re Unconcerned With What Could Go Wrong
If you take risks, you’ll occasionally fall short. But hustlers don’t waste any mental energy imagining what could go wrong -- or stressing about the inevitable setbacks. A study of 800 entrepreneurs found the most successful had two major things in common: They had a hard time imagining failure, and they were unconcerned with others’ opinions.
Because they weren’t dwelling on all the things that could go wrong, they went after more ambitious goals.
Do you find it easier to envision successful outcomes than unsuccessful ones? If so, you’ve got at least one hustler trait.
2) You’re Insanely Dedicated
There’s nothing wrong with pursuing things at once. But that’s not the hustler style -- hustlers devote themselves intensely to their craft.
Kobe Bryant is a great example. His work ethic has always been impressive: In high school, he’d get to practice at 5 a.m. and stay until 7 p.m. These days, he trains four hours a day while in season (and even puts in sessions on game days).
It takes a lot of discipline to commit to a single focus and pursue it relentlessly, week after week. But that’s how hustlers fulfill their crazy dreams.
3) You Play the Long Game
You can tell if someone’s a hustler by looking at a breakdown of how they spend their time.
According to Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there are four categories of tasks:
Most people never get beyond the tasks in Quadrant 1. They spend most of their time putting out fires.
Hustlers, meanwhile, always carve out space in their schedules for important but not urgent activities. These might not yield any results in the short term, but they’ll be incredibly beneficial over time. In this way, hustlers set themselves up for success for years to come.
4) You Create Your Own Opportunities
You're faced with a challenge, and you have two options for dealing with it, but you don’t like either. What do you do?
Most of us will choose the slightly better option. Hustlers, on the other hand, will create a third choice.
The ability to chart their own path is why so many hustlers are successful entrepreneurs. As Jon Burgstone, author of Breakthrough Entrepreneurship, puts it:
Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action. You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option and try to make it fit. Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available."
5) You Believe In Your Own Potential
Hustlers view their abilities differently than their peers. Instead of seeing their abilities as static, hustlers believe that with hard work and practice, they can develop any skill in their repertoire.
Carol Dweck, the Stanford psychologist who first identified this crucial difference, explains,
These are the people who go for it. They’re not always worried about how smart they are, how they’ll look, what a mistake will mean. They challenge themselves and grow.”
Dweck found that people with “fixed mindsets” are discouraged by failure. However, those who think they simply need to try harder, take a different approach, or gain more experience were actually motivated by setbacks.
Similarly, researchers from Stanford and the University of Michigan found that failure makes people more successful -- as long as they keep trying. After following 4.6 million businesses over 21 years, the researchers found 71% of the owners whose companies folded didn’t try again. However, the 29% who did were far likelier to succeed than first-time business owners.
6) You’re Always Moving
For better or for worse, hustlers rarely stay content for long. Once they’ve accomplished one goal, they’re already looking to the next one.
This trait plays to your advantage if you’re in sales -- having a standout month or quarter is great, but you can’t get complacent if you want your success to continue during the next month or quarter.
Hustlers also apply this mentality to learning. They see skills as building blocks: Once they’ve acquired one skill, they start looking for another skill that’ll strengthen or complement it.
Major League Baseball coach Don Zimmer once said, “What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110% all the time.”
If these six characteristics resonated with you, good luck and keep up the hustle.