Are you killing it at work, or is work killing you? The toxic stories we’re told about pursuing success

Entrepreneurs from Gary Vee to Elon Musk talk of extreme hours, weekends in the office and cancelled social lives as the price of building a great business. Back in the real world, these stories can also send people into burnout, ostracise friends and strip joy out of life, resulting in anything but success.

Gavin Wren

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Elon Musk once said “…if somebody is working 50 hours [a week] and you’re working 100, you’ll get twice as much done in the course of a year”. Startup culture is awash with narratives about entrepreneurs grinding seven days a week in pursuit of success. These stories provide cocaine-charismatic narratives about the extreme personal sacrifices required to reach the top of your game, littering the internet like rumours that veganism is a universally healthy dietary choice.

The most pervasive rumours about achieving success, improving health or reaching a buddha-like state of personal enlightenment often prove to be the most harmful, or at their very extreme, give rise to a cult-like mania in their followers. The grinding-it devotion to work…

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