To Hell with the Hustle - Jefferson Bethke | Book Review
Jefferson Bethke’s To Hell with the Hustle is a fresh perspective on current cultural and societal pressures to adhere to the infamous “grind” mentality many of us are faced with today. Written in a sincerely stimulating style, the book is relatively easy to read and accessible to people of all different backgrounds, but with a focus on those walking with Jesus.
There are so many preconceived notions of what the Christian walk should look like, but Bethke masterfully breaks these down and presents fresh information in an utterly inspiring way, very applicable to our overworked worlds!
Of course, one must personally dive into this book to reap the full benefits, but here are a few of my favourite takeaways!
1. Don’t Set Goals
Bethke offers the suggestion that rather than setting goals, we should be open and willing to experience personal formation, in order to achieve growth. He explains that goals involve reaching a finish line, a checkbox to complete and satisfy, a process of doing, whereas formation involves systems and minuscule habits, it is a process of becoming. Bethke goes on, explaining how our “informationally obese” society holds swathes of data and information, literally at our fingertips, resulting in an almost complete shift in our inherent telos (Greek for “ultimate end or aim”). Many of us have bought into the mindset that we should aim to be more efficient, productive, ambitious and achieve more. Motivational speakers and entrepreneurs, although not inherently bad in themselves, can create a distorted image for us to try and live up to something that was never intended for us in the first place, and can even be a catalyst for burnout and fatigue. However, Bethke reminds readers that as Christians, we are called to become like Christ, therefore we need to follow not only his teachings but also his way of life. Jesus was the representation of true humanness and in order to successfully reflect that as followers, we must come back to our true human roots, also.
By asking ourselves one simple question: “what do I love?”.
Not just a surface level “I love coffee” or “I love music”, but a true, deep, intimate desire that sets your soul on fire. The author explains that as humans, we become what we love, and we become this person by the daily rhythms and practices of our everyday lives – “we are the sum of our habits”, and in order to become a true full reflection of Jesus, we have to meet with Him to understand His heart and shape our lives according to how He does life.
2. Live in Rhythm
Throughout the book, Bethke does not shy away from the fact that generationally, we have the worst cases of anxiety and depression than ever before and that comes as no real coincidence. In a time of immense connectivity, as a society, we seem to be insanely disconnected. Bethke puts this down to a lack of true meaning and purpose. He suggests that by coming back to rituals and rhythms in life, one can experience a sense of depth and richness that society’s ‘quick fixes’ and ‘life hacks’ cannot give us.
The author calls rhythm, “living life with music and cadence” and says that maybe instead of being swept away by the busyness and noise, we should “embrace the slowness of Jesus”. Slowness as a concept cleverly seeps into each chapter of the book, given as a caveat for a number of other frameworks, presented by the author. Notably, in the fifth chapter, ‘The Power of No’, the concept of time, Bethke explains, is what we, as humans are “submitting to”. Our lives are ruled by time, we have become slaves to our clocks, Bethke takes it one step further and suggests, “we are becoming our clocks.”
3. Say No!
It is not uncommon to often feel unproductive and even worthless unless we are running out of time, fuelled by busyness, in this fast-paced world, yet the author encourages the reader to utter the one-syllable word we are all so afraid: ‘no’.
“Make your default answer no”, Bethke says. By doing this, we can focus our efforts and energy more on the yesses in our lives, and can ultimately love our neighbours better.
“It’s not about being selfish or weird or introverted. It’s about creating a life centred around priorities.”
These were just a few of my favourite lessons from this book! It is truly packed with information, anecdotes and advice, and I have no doubts recommending it as a sure read for anyone who wants to learn how to live today without fear of burnout!