One of the internet’s sublime capabilities is to simplify wisdom in a simple, snarky image – the meme. There is one floating around social media with a picture of John Hamm in his role as Don Draper, the main character from the television show Mad Men. The meme has the overlay of text saying, “You work a 40-hour work week? I remember my first part-time job.”
It is true that hustlers tend to work more hours than most. But that isn’t what separates a hustler from a non-hustler, or even a would-be hustler. What really separates the hustler is their focus on outcomes.
A Focus on Outcomes
If you watch people who are working hard to succeed, you will notice that they tend to be more focused. They have certain, well-defined outcomes they want to achieve, and they invest their time and energy in those outcomes. They aren’t easily distracted by novelties, fads, or by current affairs.
While non-hustlers are tied to their small screen of infinite distractions, the hustler is in a face-to-face meeting or on the telephone. The hustler’s work ethic is about producing results, not time spent at the office.
Hustlers tend to be overcommitted. There is an old saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” Busy people are busy because they get things done. The sense of commitment drives the hustler to move from one task to the next, making progress on each, and producing real work. Hustlers create. They ship.
Non-hustlers and would-be hustlers don’t produce outcomes at the same pace. Instead, they work in reactive mode, waiting for other people to prompt them into action. When they have finished one reaction, they wait passively for the next nudge, almost always in the form of an email.
Hustlers don’t count their hours. They measure their outcomes.