Lessons I learned from eating, breathing, and sleeping the grind over the past 14 years.
At some point in our lives, we all hit a crossroads.
This crossroads in many ways is a wake-up call, that we have arrived at to either realize something or decide something or whatever it is that the individual is going through at that time.
I hit this crossroads when I burned out from the grind.
You are probably wondering what I refer to as ‘The Grind’.
The Grind is the process that one adopts to get from where they are to where they want to be. It is also called the Hustle or in Social Media Language, chasing your dreams to success.
Having had the vision to build something for me, I have pretty much not only been privy, but I have also probably been one of the biggest exponents of The Grind since the time that I was 18.
And I went for the complete package. Here’s what I did to give you a sense
Started my own company at 18 (Pegasus Events)
Chose not to apply to any B-Schools post-graduation.
As I tasted success, started spending like an asshole to look rich rather than be rich. (This includes the meetings at Starbucks and just sitting at Starbucks, again like an asshole with his laptop, trying to look busy)
As work got serious, I figured I actually do have a chance.
Enter Social Media.
Became a social media junky. Started joining blogs, following gurus, going to advice blogs.
I decided I am going to be productive for every waking minute of my day.(Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur)
Started waking up at 5 am.
Started taking on more work than I could handle, thus getting the team overworked.
Started writing about success and spending money on seminars by my gurus.
Started trying to read a book a week.
Drinking like a fish.
Can you imagine what happened?
I fucked up, in my zest to be successful, I took a risk but it wasn't calculated. Lost everything I had built. While losing it isn't really important, the fact that I lost it due to focussing on the cosmetics of it rather than the substance is what got me really riled up.
Like a pendulum, my mind swung the other way and my ego stepped in. What was once a go-getter now started doing everything that I have mentioned above not from a go-getter perspective, but from the perspective of someone who could not believe that could happen to him.
And I eventually burned out.
When I did burn out, I realized it isn't about the constant Grind or Hustle. It isn’t about what the Tony Robins and Dan Loks of the world are preaching. They are doing what is getting them traction.
It makes fuck all of a difference to what you are trying to do in your life.
This whole The Grind, The Hustle culture is glorified by people who get an audience for it and it is nothing of substance.
Each person has their own individual process and one glove does not fit all.
You could put out one article on Medium in a day or you could work on one article on Medium for a week and then put it out. It is your process, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
From my experience, working on one article per week would bear better results.
80% of building something is working behind the scenes, 20% is cosmetic.
The 80% is where the real meat of anything that you do is. Be it research, development, art, design, songwriting, or construction.
It is as good as a law, if you have not done that 80%, frolicking across social media with a profile and trying to create content that others are putting out is going to count for shit.
And if you are lucky and you get some visibility, it will soon become evident you don't know what you are talking about and that would be even worse.
You are really focused only 4 hours a day.
We tend to be able to absorb and disseminate information at optimum levels for just roughly 4 hours in a day, and you get more done in those 4 hours than any other time during the day.
Again, each person peaks differently, there are days when I have gotten a day's worth of deep work done between 7 am and 11 am.
Beyond that point, all you are doing is giving yourself that chemical hit where your subconscious knows you were sitting at the office all day OR you can use that time for development.
You get isolated which is not a good thing.
Speaking from personal experience, I have lost a lot of friends and missed on stopping and smelling the roses in my ‘grind’ mode.
When constantly working, you hardly leave room for yourself to live and keep your mind fresh, inadvertently, isolating yourself from living a normal life.
Pretty soon, people stop expecting you to be around, friendships die out, and conversations stop happening. All you are left with is your work, which beyond a certain point needs to be stepped away from, but you realize you do not have anything else to step away to.
You can't think of anything else.
This is the worse of them all. When you focus all your energy on the grind, you do not leave room for anything else, thus creating a situation where all you can think of is work.
That is super harmful, as I have mentioned in other posts before…your mind can either be your greatest asset or your worse enemy.
It inadvertently so happens, that when you are overworked and continue to focus on work, overthinking happens and you tend to get anxious and you find you have no escape.
Do yourself this service. Stop with all the bullshit that you see on the internet and be kind to yourself, set some boundaries, and you will be able to do a lot better.
All the shit that is taught on the internet regarding self-improvement and rewiring your brain and being productive all the time is just that, shit.
Just focus on finding out what works best for you and do that, have fun while doing so.
As you stay consistent with it, you will see you will reach your goals a lot faster than by ‘grinding’ or any of that other dumb shit.
I built my company Ting Tong Marketing during the pandemic. When I made the shift from donkey at a sawmill to owning my time, I actually started seeing far better results. Ting Tong Marketing now works with some of the biggest clients in India for their activation campaigns and brand management.
Just give it time, enjoy the ride while you work towards reaching your destination.