Reject the Hustle: America runs on rest

America runs on Dunkin’

By now, you most likely can associate this slogan, “America runs on Dunkin'” with the company, Dunkin’ Donuts. The slogan was meant to convince overworked/entrepreneurial, American consumers that they can maintain their busy and exhausting lives with caffeine and sugary donuts. Although I love me some donuts (does anyone not like donuts??), this marketing is just a representation of our toxic hustle culture, especially in America. Listen, it’s time to reject the hustle. Did you know that this slogan was only used for the United States? Dunkin’ Donuts does not market to other countries the way it markets to rundown Americans. Why?

Because we have a bad tendency to wear our exhaustion and busyness as a badge of honor. Tracy Brower of Fast Company states that busyness makes people feel important. She states: “They think that those who are busy have an essential set of skills in high demand, and those with too much to do are highly valued and sought after.” And this is so true, is it not? It makes us feel important to say we are swamped with work, to look at our overwhelming calendar, to be exhausted and grind it out anyway.

But here’s the reality, y’all.

Our hustle culture is toxic, and it’s significantly affecting us.

We think we are doing ourselves a favor by hustling to the point of burnout, but the truth is, America needs to run on rest, not on hustle and caffeine.

The American Dream

I think it’s important to first talk about why we have developed this mindset. Back in 1931, historian James Andrews wrote a book called The Epic of America, and in this book, he describes the American Dream. He describes the American Dream as a dream for a better, richer, and freer life. The phrase took off from there and became a national term and anthem for Americans. It inspired them and instilled the mindset that if you just work hard enough and then work even harder, you can achieve more and more money and status.

The American Dream served its purpose in its time, but the problem with the American Dream is that it never stops. How much is enough work? How much more can we achieve? Robert K. Merton, a sociologist in the 1930’s, wrote an essay called “Social Structure and Anomie” in which he describes the problem with the American Dream. In his essay, he states: “…in the American Dream there is no final stopping point.” Anthony Brandt of American Heritage puts it this way, “to stop [pursuing the American Dream] would be to accept limitations, to wake up from the Dream…The Dream stretches endlessly and forever toward the horizon, then, the lure of ‘more’ and ‘better’ pulling us on; no matter what we accomplish, individually or collectively, it lies just out of reach.

I know, that was wordy, but let me break it down.

When we buy into the hustle culture, we are striving for an endless goal, an endless dream. If we buy into the hustle culture, we will never have enough, be enough, do enough.  

What started out as a dream became our shackles. Can we reject the hustle and accept that we ARE enough?

Back to Dunkin’ (I just really love donuts, ok?)

So what does rejecting the hustle look like? Rejecting the hustle looks like rest, like pausing, like connection. For example, instead of running through Dunkin’ Donuts and grabbing a donut to fuel my never-ending hustle, I sit down with some girlfriends to eat donuts and catch up. Rejecting the hustle looks like slowing down and connecting with your loved ones.

In fact, here’s a challenge to you today…call up (or text, dm, send smoke signals…you do you boo) a girlfriend ,and schedule real time with them. I just did this…I met a girlfriend at Crystal Bridges, and we had the best time seeing the new crystal exhibit (go see this!) and talking and laughing with each other. It was just what I needed, and I’m willing to bet you need it, too. It’s a small step towards rejecting the hustle and making time to stop.

C’mon, let’s do it together.

Listen, I know you have an exhausting to-do list (or three), I know work is crazy, I know you still don’t know what’s for dinner, I know the kids probably need to be chauffeured somewhere…I get it. Been there, done that, still have the t-shirt! I also know that there are areas in your life that you are saying “yes” to when you’d rather say no.  I just want you to say no, more. 

Have you taken the pledge yet? Let’s pledge together that we are going to “reject the hustle” and not be swayed by this toxic busyness culture.  We are going to stand up for ourselves and say NO so we can say YES to the really big and fun things. Like saying no to scarfing down a donut when you could sit down with friends, take your time, and eat 3 donuts. 🤷

So what do you say? Let’s reject the hustle.

Will you take the pledge? 

Take the Pledge!

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