When I worked for Marquis Jet, I had the privilege of interacting with some incredibly wealthy people. (And when I say interacting with, I mean cold calling them until their secretaries finally put me on their calendar and I could woo them with the charm of my pocket square) But in that close proximity to the 1%, my definition of wealth changed. Previously it had been something to the effect of "someone with a lot of money" but this new understand of wealth was most clearly articulated by my boss, John Daut, "Wealth is defined by having more options." Growing up in middle class America, my life wasn't too hard. I didn't live on the wrong side of the tracks or have to get a job when I was 12 to support my family. But I also had to learn the value of a dollar saved in order to buy something that I wanted down the road. I started saving to buy a truck when I was 14 years old. Two months after my 16th birthday I finally found the truck of my dreams and handed all the money I had in the world over to get it. That 1985 Chevy Silverado was and still is my favorite vehicle I've ever owned.
But, looking back on it, the process of hunting for that truck that I first learned about the freedom that comes from wealth. The scope of my search, or the options that I had in making that purchase, were limited by the money that I'd managed to save for those two years prior. In the same way, when thinking about life after high school, the number of colleges that I got into was another variation of wealth. The more options I had, the better the choice that I could make. Again in job offers after college and career moves since then. The more options you have, the more wealth, not just money, you have accumulated.
I was asked recently if I could define "hustle." (And no I didn't just tell them to Google "Andy Ellwood") And while there are a lot of variations of how I've heard hustle thought about for various situations, the short answer I went with was this:
Consistently taking action toward an ultimate goal or objective.
For me, I hustle for options. The more I hustle now, the more options I will have in the future. The more options I have in the future, the more freedom I will have to spend time with people I respect creating things that I'm passionate about. It isn't about hustling for hustling's sake. It is about knowing why you hustle and taking advantage of the options you create along the way.
So, on this 4th of July, here's to your life, your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness.