Why Do We Hustle? January 11, 2018 – Posted in: hustle

The Science Behind Why We Hustle

“I just think a hustler’s ambition is that I never stop. I start off hustling and said I’ll never stop hustling. An ambitious hustler is the one to hustle the hustlers. When I grew up, my heroes were hustlers. Now I’m their hero.” -Young Jeezy

When is the first time you remember being ambitious? Was it as a child mowing lawns for money? Was it in high school when you wanted to afford a nicer car? People have different levels of ambition, but what is it that causes us to be ambitious in the first place? Why do we hustle?

Scientists have tried to figure out what makes us hustle. They’ve looked at parental upbringing, economic background, and of course genetics. Here at HSLTR Wear, we decided to do some research on the subject, and what the experts found might surprise you.

Men and Women Compete Differently

Men and women tend to view competition in different ways. Women are more choosy about when they compete, more often being keen on picking their battles. After completing tasks for a chance at winning 50 cents per task, 40 men and 40 women were offered the same opportunity to win 50 cents per task, however this time they would have to compete in a large tournament against other contestants. While 75% of men accepted the tournament challenge, only 35% of women did.

“Males are built to go for quick, competitive reproductive hits and move on. Women are built for the it-takes-a-village life, in which they provide long-term care to a very few young and must sail them safely into an often hostile world.” – Time Magazine, Ambition by Jeffrey Kluger

Most Hustlers Are Middle Class

Economic background can have complex effects on the ambition of children. Some kids who grow up with money turn out lazy, while others start life with all the tools they need to be successful, thusly encouraging them to give it a go. Some kids who grow up poor end up having all the ambition they need to go for their dreams, while others grow up hopeless. But on the whole, middle class kids seem to have the highest likelihood to grow up ready to chase after their goals.

“On the whole, studies suggest it’s the upper middle class that produces the greatest proportion of ambitious people — mostly because it also produces the greatest proportion of anxious people.” – Time Magazine, Ambition by Jeffrey Kluger

For lower class families who are worried about basic necessities, for the most part ambition is a luxury out of their reach. For upper class families, hustle is largely unnecessary. However, for middle class families, the environment is generally just right.

Immigrant Hustlers are Getting Faster

Not all cultures put the same emphasis on ambition and hustle as ultra-competitive cultures like the United States. Many immigrants have moved to America and had to hustle up the economic ladder to become middle class. These days, immigrants are doing that much faster than they ever have before.

“One hundred years ago, it took people two to three generations to achieve a middle-class standard of living,” says Suárez-Orozco. “Today they’re getting there within a generation.” – Suárez-Orozco, Time Magazine, Ambition by Jeffrey Kluger

Out of Control Ambition Causes Health Problems

Hustling too hard can cause some serious health problems, not only in humans, but animals too. An obsessive focus on achieving in high school students has shown dangerously high levels of stress and depressed mood, and the physical side effects of being ultra-ambitious often show themselves throughout a lifetime.

“Heart attacks, ulcers and other stress-related ills are more common among high achievers — and that includes nonhuman achievers. The blood of alpha wolves routinely shows elevated levels of cortisol, the same stress hormone that is found in anxious humans. Alpha chimps even suffer ulcers and occasional heart attacks.” – Time Magazine, Ambition by Jeffrey Kluger

Why We Hustle

In the end, there’s no scientific exact answer to why we hustle. Largely a mixture of genetics and cultural upbringing, many factors affect our levels of ambition. However, there is one thing that seems to me a major leading factor in why we hustle.


When you’re in a position where you believe that you can greatly improve your life or the life of your family, that makes you hungry. When you add to that self confidence and feeling like you have the tools you need to make that improvement a reality for you and your family, a hustler is born. You could be a millionaire that wants to be a billionaire, or a penniless person who only wants a car. When opportunities present themselves to those who believe in themselves, most of the time we try to make the most of them, for better or worse.