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Why Gen Z needs to let it go?
“If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasure ceases to please.” ~ Epictetus
I absolutely love the idea of working hard, achieving the biggest of dreams, living in a mansion, and creating a legacy, as they show in movies. I still glorify it, but the things we enjoy in films do not have to be synonymous with our real lives. Media allows us to live vicariously through these rich characters. It is fun to believe I am currently in a luncheon party at the Gatsby Mansion, with Leonardo Di Caprio, but I think I would draw the line somewhere between fiction and reality, to not disappoint myself. I think that’s exactly where the problem starts. We’re often disappointed with our realities. We want better. We keep wanting it because there is really no one definition of ‘better’. It keeps changing as we move forward, as we achieve bigger milestones because we’re never really satisfied. I wouldn’t call it greed, but overtly ambitious would work, I guess?
What Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, said about moderation applies to all facets of life, right? It’s risky to a great extent, to go beyond a moderate amount of something. There is no exact measure of moderation. You’re moderately into something when it doesn’t make you want to rip your hair off. the word ‘addiction’ comes close to explaining the problems with hustle culture, but also, it’s so much more than that.
I think the suffix, ‘culture’ exactly tells us the kind of phenomenon it is. It is not just some random phrase on the internet, it has created an impact on a large part of society. Hustle culture is the obsessive mentality of ‘work till you die’ in pursuit to achieve some ‘impossible’ dream. What life are we living if we don’t have some dreams to chase? But what life are we living if we don’t stop to rest? Letting go of this toxic culture means finding a balance between these two things. If you’re constantly on the run without giving your body the rest it needs, you’re tired much sooner, you’re weak, and you’re burnt out. I am not going to neglect the role of privilege in all of this, obviously. There are people who truly have to work till they die to make a living, even do things they are not passionate about. But, STOP glorifying this. As inspiring as it is, the hardships should not be romanticized, they were obligated, and you aren’t.
The rise of ‘Hustle Culture’ also stems from social media, obviously. It becomes a culture when it’s relevant on social media platforms. With the rise in the number of influencers, who supposedly work hard, commoners are attracted to this work culture. Being famous and successful at a really young age. When we’re forgetting, most of these influencers already come from a rich well-supported background, that could easily fund their ‘small businesses’, or “independent” lifestyles. Not to sound all cliché but what you see on the internet is never usually the complete truth. That’s what attracts us to social media in the first place. We have the control of showing whatever parts of life we want to. The social comparison theory discusses the motivations as well as the mechanisms underlying the notion that people assess their own ideas, values, accomplishments, and talents in relation to the opinions, values, and accomplishments of others. We are not satisfied with our achievements or feel the pressure to live up to a certain goal, because of our idealization of somebody else.
Please don’t burn yourself out trying to live out some fantasy. It is completely normal to not be rich and successful in your 20s, even if your social media says otherwise. Your idealization of somebody else is just that. An ideal. It is not the reality. You will never know the reality. It also goes without saying, that don’t push yourself too hard to live up to somebody else’s expectations.
Author: Pavitra M – A bit quirky and a lot inquisitive with the strangest humour ever. Basically, she laughs at anything and everything. Pavitra is currently pursuing her Masters’s in Media and Communication Studies and has an incoherent but deep passion for self-care and ultimately on a quest to understand the best ways to do it.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author.
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