My New Hustle Manifesto

Shakeel Mohamed
4 min readSep 8, 2021
Photo of Shakeel Mohamed covering his mouth in surprise. Text reads: “My New Hustle Manifesto”

There’s no avoiding it, the pandemic has changed everything. Spending more time at home has forced me to pause, reflect, and turn inwards. Instead of spending 2–3 hours per day commuting and a few trips each year (physically hustling), I struggled to turn off the mental hustle for a long time. During this recent bout with burnout (which took a good 3 months to recover from) I knew something was seriously wrong and had to change for good.

How did I get here?

As someone who grew up struggling financially, when I saw a path towards financial stability I obsessed about reaching the proverbial finish line. Through college, I began working on my goals more intensely because I was seeing results for the first time in my life. I would work so hard that I began to expect burnout multiple times per year as the cost of success. I was hustling. After 11 years of going full throttle I’m realizing the consequences of the “hustle culture” I once idolized.

Music has always inspired me to keep going when I’m exhausted, it’s a shame that we’ve lost so many musicians to mental health issues over the years. In this behind the scenes video of the late Tim Bergling (aka Avicii) in the studio with Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay. Tim is receiving praise from one of the biggest musicians, yet he can’t see beyond making the track perfect. I saw the following comment and I nearly teared up, because I could see where my future could lead.

This moment resonated with me so deeply. For so long I’ve identified with making things better at all costs, including my own physical health. I had no problem pushing through mental health issues in the past, I would only stop working when my body gave out. For example, there were a few weeks in college when I was so wired from stress that I was sleeping only six nights a week. One day every week I wouldn’t sleep the entire night or day because I refused to rest. Needless to say I’ve experienced some scary symptoms of sleep deprivation including dissociation and hallucinations, I do not recommend it.

Hustle as I knew it

Shakeel Mohamed

Graphic Design MFA Candidate @ ArtCenter College of Design | Developer Turned Designer