What is a hustler?

One day, I was sitting at the dining room table eating breakfast and my little nephew looked at me and said, “Auntie, you’re not a money hustler!”.  I was wearing an oversized t-shirt which I  “borrowed” from my father.  The t-shirt is very worn, with holes, but it is still one of my favorite things to sleep in.  The front of the t-shirt bares a graphic design with a wad of hundred dollar bills and the phrase, “I am a hustler”.

I pondered what my nephew had said for a few seconds and then asked him, “What is a hustler?”.  He told me that a hustler is a dope dealer or robber.  Although, it bothered me that he thought this way of hustlers, it didn’t entirely shock me.  This conception is really a prevailing thought in the way that many people perceive hustlers.  Since the word “hustler” carries a negative connotation,  when it is uttered, it instantly conjures up imagery of pimps, prostitutes, the con man, the booster (professional thief), strippers, drug dealers, cliques, etc.

The media has also influenced the way that we view hustlers.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s and am very familiar with shows like Starsky and Hutch.  I remember quite well, the character Huggie Bear played by Antonio Fargas, a small time hustler/informant.  If you have ever watched the movie “American Gangster”, starring Denzel Washington, you probably know that it is based on the true story of Frank Lucas who rose from small time hustler status to global hustler/ heroin importer. These are just a few examples of images that come to mind when we hear the word “hustler”.

But really there are different types of hustlers.  Yes, the characters that I just mentioned do play roles in the game of hustling, but they are just different types of players in the game.  You might agree or disagree with me on this, but here’s my definition of a hustler, as explained to my nephew:

A hustler is a person that seeks and knows how to take advantage of ways to earn money in order to improve his or her quality of life. A true hustler (one who has mastered the art and science) always has a solid plan with clear objectives and takes consistent, right action to achieve the objectives.  He or she simply knows how to “make it happen.” A true hustler also, understands how to enhance their mind in order to improve his or her quality of life.

Being a hustler can encompass many characteristics, but it is not limited by gender, sex, race, age, religion, socioeconomic status, or geographic location.  It doesn’t matter whether you are single, married, or have children.  Like I said,  there are different types of hustlers.  Employees, self-employed small business owners, and investors are examples of hustlers. Lil Wayne, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, and Beyonce are all hustlers (at least by my definition).  Some people are better at their hustling game than others, and some people choose legal ways of hustling instead of  illegal means.

This situation with my nephew is partly what inspired me to start this blog.  The other part of it is that, I don’t claim to be an expert or guru at hustling or making money.  This blog is focused on discussion and exploration of ways to make money.  The economy is in a slump and many people are either having trouble finding or keeping a job.  We are living in a world that is shifting more towards a globalized economy. We have shifted into the Information Age and relying more heavily on technology.

Society is placing more value on technological and scientific advancement. Just to give you an example, I was watching a TV show about John-Deere.  This company uses multimillion dollar computers and machinery in order to manufacture most of their products.  Their manufacturing process turns out a more accurate and precisely put together product.  It also speeds up the manufacturing process and reduces the need for human beings, thus cutting jobs.

As another example, look at what is going on with the United States Postal Service.  This organization is not able to keep up with the fast paced changes in the way consumers communicate and ship packages. Consumers have greater options for making bill payments and communicating. The end result is that the United States Postal Service will need change its business model to keep up with the times or else. Therefore, those whom have not prepared themselves (companies and individuals) and adapted to the changes in technology are getting left behind.

With all this said, we are living in an era where it has never been easier to obtain information and make money.  The advent of the Internet and the computer has made it almost seamless to communicate with others and conduct business from almost anywhere on the planet.  The Internet and advances in technology have made it easier for companies and governments to outsource jobs overseas.  I want people to come to the realization that they should not rely on the government or a job for income. Don’t wait for the government to create a job for you. Don’t expect for your job to be safe and secure for the next five to twenty years, either.

Although, I mentioned above that some hustlers choose to engage in illegal activities to earn money, I have no interest in illegal ways to make money.  Some people don’t care how they make money, but I am concerned about ways of earning money which are strictly legal, because I value my freedom and reputation.  Oftentimes, the risks of engaging in illegal acts to make money are not worth the reward.  I must also point out that I have no interest in get rich quick schemes.  Also, it is beyond the scope of this post to engage in a philosophical discussion on the ethics and morality of hustling.

What are your thoughts?  Post a comment below.

© Copyright 2013   Susan Broadbelt