Grit vs Hustle

by Zach Briggs

We need both of them, you know. Grit gets the attention; it's sited as one of the most common attributes of wildly successful individuals. Far beyond intelligence, the willingness to stick with a task long past the point of boredom or doubt. The ability to stay focused despite the nay-sayers telling them that it cannot be done. The capacity to string hours and hours together for a self appointed apprenticeship with no pay knowing that success would be mere years away.

What gets less attention is the hustle. That sense of urgency that's only ever felt by somebody fighting a clock. This isn't panicked rushing which only leads to frustration, but obsessive streamlining. The willingness to avoid escapist activities like TV knowing that those hours each week takes away from a pursuit of mastery. The ability to practice right now instead of waiting for the perfect time with just the right wind speed and pollen count.

I recently was faced with the fact that I'm pretty good at the grit and generally awful at the hustle. I'll stick with a task long-term, but I'll find other activities that must be done first or can never quite find the right time to practice consistently. 


My new philosophy is that the time to work on getting better at development is right now. When I figure out what my stupid bug was on a side project  10:00PM after spending 2 hours stuck on it, that leaves another 2 hours of possible work before sleep. 20 minutes of downtime while dinner marinates? Review some submissions on 5 minutes in line at the pharmacy? Review my index cards of stuff I had to look up yesterday.

TIme for me to stop crawling the path and walk it instead.