How the Hustle Brag Phenomenon Is Hurting Your Mental Health

How many times has a coworker or friend complained about how many hours they worked that week, how many meetings they sat in that day, or how tired they were? It starts to feel like maybe they get a level of satisfaction out of bragging about how tired and busy they are. 

A century ago, Americans worked 100 hours a week. Since then, the government has limited the workweek to 40 hours. But if you’re in a startup or in a client-oriented industry, sometimes 40 hours isn’t enough to get the work done. And once you hit that overtime, so begins the bragging. 

Entrepreneurs need to know that more work doesn’t necessarily produce more results, and the workaholic mindset is a recipe for emotional and physical disaster.

Hustle ‘Til You Drop

Social media makes it easier than ever before for people to share every waking minute of their life. Today, countless entrepreneurs take to Instagram bragging about their nonstop work ethic. Oversharing on Instagram, however, can quickly lead to lost social capital.

Now, the next generation of social media platforms — such as Snapchat and Periscope — enables users to share every minute of their lives, without bombarding users’ newsfeeds. Social media platforms come and go. It remains to be seen whether these newer social media platforms can survive. Meanwhile, the intuitive share-at-will nature of the platforms has created a whirlwind of sharing. Resultantly, entrepreneurs and thought leaders have flocked to next-generation social media outlets to share their lives and hustle brag.1

Today, advocates of the hustle hard mentality leverage the advanced visual storytelling capabilities of the platforms to document their every move. In part, they use the platforms to preach their belief that success is determined by how hard people hustle. They proudly brag about how their work ethic has helped them achieve their goals. 

Consequently, it’s not uncommon to see entrepreneurs on social media get up at 5 AM for a workout and then go on to stream live meetings into the wee hours of the night. There’s a growing instance of entrepreneurs on social media networks showing everyone how they work 24 hours a day (or at least they would if they didn’t have to sleep). However, those who develop a habit of using every waking moment for work can easily fall into the “busy trap” — the concept that success only comes for the busy.

It’s easy to remain busy, however. The trick is remaining productive.

The Hustle Brag Is a Self-Destructive Habit

The hustle brag takes America’s excessive work culture to a new level. Everyone knows that stress is emotionally and physically harmful. Nevertheless, countless entrepreneurs take to social media displaying how they subject themselves to phenomenal pressure for all to see.

In America, most workers feel stressed on any given day. Unfortunately, stress is a normal part of working life in the nation. Accordingly, many people are unsatisfied with their quality of life.

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to show everyone that they work all day, every day using social media. What’s difficult during their broadcasts, however, is making truly remarkable progress when they’re drop-dead tired.

Entrepreneurism takes a lot out of an individual — even without working all day. Business leaders must generate enough revenue to make payroll, troubleshoot problems and recover every time their business experiences a setback. 

Coupled with these kinds of pressures, adding the hustle brag to the mix is a surefire route toward burnout.

Finding Middle Ground

The United States ranks 29th out of 40 countries in work life balance, according to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).2 More than 11% of American workers work 50 or more hours per week, with less than 15 hours per day devoted to personal care.

A survey conducted by Monster found that 80% of respondents “are not happy with their work-life balance,” citing technology as a significant contributor to a lack of balance between work and personal roles.3 A growing number of people can do their jobs from anywhere. Furthermore, technology enables them to continue working during non-work hours. People who use technology to stay constantly tethered to the office are more likely to feel overworked.

The stress that develops from excessive work is often a recurring theme well before adults land their first job. In college, for instance, 30% of students report feelings of overwhelming anxiety, according to Statistia.4 This kind of sentiment highlights the need for self-care. Self-care is about your relationship with yourself and caring for your personal needs. In an always-on, high-pressure work environment — self-care is not an option; it’s requisite. 

By staying in tune with the need to feel whole, entrepreneurs can find work-life balance. More importantly, they may realize that nonstop hustling is nothing to brag about.


  1. Kerpen, C. (2016). HustleBrag: How Working Nonstop Has Become The Latest Badge of Honor. Retrieved from
  2. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2019). Work-Life Balance. OECD Better Life Index. Retrieved from
  3. Peterson, T. Do you have work-life balance? Retrieved from
  4. Percentage of U.S. college students that had ever felt overwhelming anxiety as of fall 2018. (2019). Retrieved from

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