It’s OK To Put The “Hustle” On Pause
I’m a Gemini and let me just lay this down that I really buy into my star sign characteristics. In fact, I say “but I’m a Gemini!” to explain or defend my actions a lot, which I think is why star-signs were created in the first place – a social loop-hole of sorts. Being a Gemini is a part of how I make sense of my strange ways, and this comes down to the “two-sided” nature of Geminis (two-sided doesn’t always mean two-faced!). Gemini is the latin word for ‘twins’. I’m taking my twin sign as a positive thing, and I’ve embraced my different sides. The hot, cold, the loud and quiet, the contradictory road I walk down with two extreme points of view sitting so close together. I definitely have lots of sides, and perhaps this is why I’ve written a book called The Multi-Hyphen Method which is all about the longterm benefits of embracing your many different sides in and outside work. I’m part extrovert, part introvert; I’m aggressively ambitious and equally the laziest person I know.
There was a period of time where “being outwardly ambitious” felt synonymous with the future of feminism. Ambition meaning the same as empowerment. I am a guest lecturer at a college in central London and I’ve seen a lot of guest speakers come in and tell the class (of mostly women) to be ambitious. Ambition is not a dirty word, they’d say. Be ambitious. Of course this was only meant to uplifting and inspiring, but it also made me feel uncomfortable, because surely we should be saying “be ambitious if you want to.”
But when did ambition become synonymous with feminism?
Why must “being ambitious” be the only way to succeed?
What if we go through phases of really, really not feeling ambitious?
Millennials are a very ambitious generation by the looks of it. Bestselling author and work “guru” Simon Sinek described Millennials in a viral interview as a generation that “were told that they were special – all the time, they were told they can have anything they want in life, just because they want it”. This is why we get the label ‘snowflake’ or ‘entitled’ because we go after stuff we want and believe we can get it. It’s not inherently bad to reach for the stars (although I do blame S Club 7 for infiltrating my young mind with those lyrics) but we can start unlearning this frame of mind too, if we want too. It’s really OK not to reach for the stars. We should spend less energy relentlessly hustling down a vague path, and more energy figuring out what we personally want.
As I said earlier, the duality of my personality comes with these two opposites: on one hand I do want the stars. I want the moon too. I want to move house one day, I want loads more money, I want success, I want to be my work to reach big audiences, I want a big family, I want material objects, I want holidays. I want whatever my young mind thought “ambition” was. But on the other side, I often want none of these things. I want a quiet Sunday afternoon, watering my plants, reading a book, cooking something simple, with an early night and no emails.
It’s a constant yin and yang.
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