Fantasy vs. Reality
I didn’t start out as a fan of the sport of hockey. As a sport full of toxic masculinity, racial discrimination, and convenient tokenism, the values of the game are as far as it can get from what I stand for. However, I do acknowledge that the mechanics of hockey are fun and exciting, and the very Canadian nature of this sport has a nationalistic appeal. So, I find myself now in my seventh year participating in a fantasy hockey pool.
For those unfamiliar with the game of fantasy hockey pool, it’s a type of betting game in which you select and trade for various NHL players to build a team that you believe would succeed across many statistical categories within the game of hockey. There are many other players in the pool who do the same, and you draw on the real-world statistics of your selected players to compete in this fantasy version of the game.
Believe me when I say that running your own fantasy hockey team is very much entrepreneurial in nature. You – one of many participants in your pool – must constantly make hard business decisions on how to improve your team. From whether to trade certain players for others to whether you hold onto underperforming players in hope that they will pick up their form, every tough decision you make is closely tied with the success of your team. The bottom line is: you care deeply about your team. You may lose sleep at night if your players had a bad outing. You may beat yourself up over a poorly made decision, even if it only became apparent in hindsight. Much like you want your business to function sustainably, you wish the same for your own team.
At the end of every NHL season, there is only one winner in the pool. The victor often receives material rewards such as cash from other participants in the pool, and will definitely have significant bragging rights over their peers. For hardcore players such as myself, the only metric of success that matters is winning it all. Everyone has fantasized of being the winner at some point, but the reality is that only one team prevails at the end of it all.
Yet now, in my seventh year of participating in the game, something about it doesn’t feel right to me anymore. After an entire year of effort and time investment from everyone in your pool, why must one victor prevail over all others in this game? Why should history be written by victors only, and not by the many involved? Why must victory come at the cost of fierce competition against others in a community, when others might have cared as much about their fantasy hockey team in this game as you did? Why can’t we all be winners who laugh together and find success in collaboration instead?
These hypothetical questions led me to reflect on my life journey and purposes. Along the way, it hit me that I’ve been a victim and a servant of capitalism all along.
Back in high school, I witnessed that awards of excellence were far too often given to less than a handful of students. In the basketball games I competed in, only one team wins when the timer stops. In the very few post-secondary business courses I have been a part of, I was taught that resources are scarce and that business success comes at the exploitation of resources of others. From all of this, I too have subconsciously learned that my success can only be achieved by taking away from others and taking over others with everything I do. Just like what I’m doing in my fantasy hockey pool.
But the reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. In this moment, deep inside my heart, I realized that I want to live in a world where everyone can find ways to be a winner – and be acknowledged as a winner – in their own way. A path forward like this is too good to remain a fantasy, and should materialize as reality.
Hustle vs. Antihustle
This lightbulb moment was what inspired me to join antihustle.ca as a curriculum designer. I wanted to use my stories and experiences to help folks understand that success and winning can come in many ways, and that’s what antihustle is all about.
When you hear the phrase “hustle culture,” I think folks more commonly associate it with overworking and rushing to get things done quickly. Personally, I think the notion of winning and competition are a big part of hustle culture as well. Within hustle culture, a lot of focus is placed upon economic success as folks compete over resources. When you’re rich, you’re winning. If you worked extra hard to be rich at the sacrifice of other aspects of your life, good for you for that level of dedication. You now have the bragging rights to share how you got this rich in your social media stories, contributing to the hustle culture history like the winner you think you’ve become. But deep inside, perhaps there’s something in you that’s lost or missing in all of this success.
While I wouldn’t outright say hustle culture is an incorrect approach, I can confidently say that the antihustle approach has even more to offer. Economic capital is only one of many forms of capital, along with social capital, cultural capital, and much more. I’m a believer in that true happiness and victory lies in achieving a diverse and balanced portfolio of many different capitals, rather than leaning heavily on a single one. As much as money is important to survival in the modern economy and as much as it buys us degrees of freedom, it’s equally important to have genuine and authentic relationships with friends and families. Beyond that, we should strive for work that aligns our passion, strengths, intention, and purpose with our intrinsic values. We should also make time and effort to look after our physical wellbeing, our mental health, and our personal growth, so that we have greater capacity to look after our entrepreneurial efforts – and even our communities.
Here at antihustle.ca, I aim to inspire you to win and succeed by accumulating wealth across different forms of capital. Much like how fantasy hockey gave me the life lessons necessary to contribute to antihustle.ca today, I look to guide you along the antihustle journey to help you discover your stories, as well as what true victory means to you in your business.