Do you need to CRUSH IT! to be successful?

I heard someone talking again about how we need to CRUSH IT! and HUSTLE! to be successful. I just don’t agree. I think it’s the wrong focus, especially if you want to be happy. That’s what this audio post is about.

This is my first audio post. You’ll have to let me know what you think. I like it. But it’s not about me, is it? :-)


(subtitles available. transcript below.)

[ transcript ]

Hey, it’s David Levin. Author of Raise Your Inner Game.

I heard someone today, some online guru, talking about how you need to CRUSH IT and HUSTLE to be successful. You’ve probably heard the same idea yourself. I have to say, I am just so sick of that. I find it so incredibly wrong-headed and unhelpful.

I don’t want to crush anything. Pop cans maybe for recycling. Mosquitos.

But really, I just want to be happy, right? And I think that’s what most people want — and should want. To have a comfortable, fulfilling, happy life. And it just seems wrong to me when people suggest that there’s something wrong with that, that that’s somehow not enough to be successful.

We don’t need to CRUSH IT. We just need to be happy.

Now, I want to be clear, happy does not mean easy necessarily. I’m not talking about parking in front of the tube all day with a beer in your hand. It takes a LOT of focus and self control to be the person you want to be, to have a fulfilling life.

True happiness—and this is something that’s been known for basically ever. This is just basic, human nature. True happiness only comes from being the best person you can be and from being of real value to the people in your life. And that takes work. In fact, it’s the hardest kind of work—inner work, relationship work, self-improvement work.

So I’m not talking about slacking or being lazy. I’m just talking about a different kind of success.

HUSTLE is about external success. It’s about money. And numbers. And resumé. And I have no problem with that. EXCEPT that it doesn’t lead to happiness. We certainly know that now. Happiness comes from INNER success which is really just about who you are.

Here’s the truth: Nothing you accomplish in the world matters 1/10th as much as who you are as a person and how you support the people in your life.

And if you doubt that, just go to a funeral and listen to the eulogy. Do they talk about how much money the person made or how successful they were? No. Never. They talk about the kind of person they were. Even celebrities, creators, people who make a dent in the universe. They talk about who they were as a person.

That’s what’s important. That’s where we should focus OUR efforts. And that’s what we should celebrate and support in each other.

So please, don’t get sucked into this whole CRUSH IT, HUSTLE mindset trap. It’s external, it’s superficial, it’s focused on the wrong things.

Instead, work on being the best person you can be and on being a positive force for the people in your life. That’s what real success looks like. And if you can do that, you will feel successful every day of your life.


  • Georgine Madden

    March 13, 2018

    You are a rock star David Levin! I want everyone to hear this blog. Thank you for your leadership.

  • Lee Lowery

    November 17, 2019

    Great points! The “crush it” mentality has invaded practically every aspect of life now, and not in a good way. Anger and frustration do not beget happiness.

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