5 Ways Hustlers Set Themselves Apart From Everyone Else

by Ross Simmonds
Open Road Films

There are two types of people in this world: hustlers and everyone else.

I started my first business when I was in high school and sold do-rags from my locker. I didn't get rich from that business, but I immediately knew I would be an entrepreneur when I start making more money than my classmates and wasn't required to listen to someone else for permission.

Since then, I've been a part of the growth of many businesses and startups as a consultant, employee and founder. One thing I've noticed in my career is I enjoy working with hustlers more than anyone else.

And, when I say hustler, I'm not talking about someone who does shady business or sells illegal products. I'm talking about someone whose ambition and aspirations line up together; someone who knows what he or she wants and is willing to make short-term sacrifices to get there.

Hustlers don't make excuses when they don't achieve their goals; they look at the issue square in the eye and accept it as a challenge to improve.

Hustlers are a rare breed in this day and age; yet, it feels like every day, someone is talking about becoming a hustler without having the track record to back it up. I get the idea that hustlers are cool, but let's not confuse a work-mule with a hustler.

A work mule is always busy doing things -- often doing things anyone else could do. A hustler is smart enough to know where he or she should best spend time to achieve results and optimize life accordingly.

A hustler is willing to hire someone when he or she needs help. A hustler is willing to say no to a project when it doesn't align with his or her vision.

Hustlers value smart work over hard work.

A few years ago, I was grabbing coffee with a friend who runs her own technology company and she was telling me about the challenge of finding hustlers fresh out of school. She expressed that she was looking to hire someone who has all the attributes of a hustler, but that the traits were rare.

I had the same conversation a few months later at an event with a couple of executives and again recently when helping a friend recruit talent for his startup.

For some reason, the world isn't producing enough hustlers. Yet, it's hustlers like Elon Musk, Jay Z, Richard Branson, Gary Vaynerchuk, Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg who shape culture and industries, create movements and have helped moved society forward.

Here are a few of the mindsets that differentiate hustlers from the rest of the world:

1. The Willingness To Die For The Cause

While it's been misquoted to almost every great author and professional, the quote, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything" is spot on with the hustler mentality.

Hustlers believe in an idea or vision that is bigger than the person they see in the mirror. Whether it's a vision to help women around the world break through the glass ceiling and achieve success or create a cleaner and more sustainable world, hustlers have dreams.

Upon identifying these dreams, they then seek out on quests to make these dreams come true and leave their marks on the world.

2. An Intolerance Of The Status Quo

Hustlers hate the status quo. In fact, they not only despise the status quo, they have a true intolerance for the idea of accepting things as they are.

To be told they cannot make a difference or make change is the equivalent of slapping them in the face. Hustlers refuse to accept the status quo and strive to constantly challenge it.

3. An Undeniable Love For Their Craft

Call me crazy, but I wake up thinking about my craft, my projects, recent reads and my hustle. I love it.

Don't get me wrong; I also think about my family and all the other joys of life, but my craft, my industry and everyone in it have a piece of my heart. It's just the way hustlers are configured.

Jay Z has stated many times how much he loves his team. Richard Branson lights up when given the chance to talk about the future he's trying to create. Hustlers love their craft and are committed to improving themselves and the world.

4. Rejection Is Fuel For An Internal Fire

What do Tim Burton, Madonna and Andy Warhol all have in common? Believe it or not, they were all rejected.

People didn't believe in their talents and told them to go try somewhere else. Madonna was told she wasn't ready for the industry and this rejection letter fired her up to succeed.

Hustlers accept rejection. In fact, they take it, remember it and use it to their advantage. Call it ego, or call it spite; regardless, it's a motivator that drives hustlers to work harder and succeed.

I've had people tell me my ideas were crazy; I'm too young, and my industry is too saturated. I even had a teacher tell me I wouldn't make it back in junior high. Even today, that fires me up.

Hustlers find their fuel in the non-believers, critics and haters.

5. Willing To Stumble So You Can Rise Back Up

To succeed, you must be willing to fail. You must be willing to risk everything to achieve your dreams and achieve the life you see for yourself and the world. It's a crazy mindset, but one that all hustlers have in common.

In a recent interview, Elon Musk said, "My proceeds from PayPal were $180m. I put $100m in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla & $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent." It's this willingness to put it all on the line for your passion that differentiates hustlers from the rest.

So, tell me, what do you do that differentiates you from the rest of the pack? How are you building your own competitive advantage? Does a memory of rejection fire you up? Leave a comment; I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Ross Simmonds writes at, where he shares a research-backed studies and his personal perspective on entrepreneurship, life, communications and technology.

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