The “Go hard or Go home” myth debunked


“Study while others are sleeping, work while others are loafing, prepare while others are playing and dream while others are wishing.” this is a quote posted by someone I know and it triggered me in such a way that now I have the burning desire to write a whole rant on the topic of academic validation, but I’m going to make some references to other wild concepts as well. Today, we are going to debunk this “Go hard or Go home” type of mentality and buckle up because the show is about to begin. Joking around, I swear that giving me a platform was the worst idea ever. 

What I hate the most about hustle culture is that it feeds your ego a lot because it’s rooted in individualism. Quotes such as “Let them party, one day they will work for you” promote the idea that you are better than everyone because you work while these losers around here are living their lives. You are the underdog now, but one day you will be their boss because you are the one who is entitled to have success, there’s you against the world. Come on! Are you sure? The fact that you are happy with these things instead of admitting that you’re traumatized scares me.  


lol:/ #fyp #foryou #academicvalidation #alevels #study #booktok #recovery

♬ original sound – montellfish

Why do people thrive off academic validation? 

Truth be told, I could write a dissertation on this topic, but let’s begin with explaining why some people strive for academic validation and how draining is that. Most probably, this craving started back in the day when your parents used to praise you when you got a good grade and you fell in the trap of thinking that you are defined by your essays, your assignments, your school work in general when actually, you are so much more. 

Grades are just numbers that don’t define your actual skills and also, they don’t guarantee you a bright future. Basically, there’s why you shouldn’t feel lesser just because you allowed yourself to relax for a day or two.  

You keep feeling guilty when you are not the best because this is your trauma-response. According to psychoanalysis, a Freudian concept, every behavior is a result of a trauma that you experienced in your early childhood. So, we will always crave what we lacked when we were children. Getting that A used to be on your parents’ toxic list of terms and conditions that they used to decide whether they will validate you today or not, but this isn’t what unconditional love is about, that is actually emotional neglect 

Generally, parents want us to be perfect but as time passes, perfectionism turns into the imposter syndrome because you have so many doubts that you experience the knowledge paradox – knowing more is knowing less. Been there, done that, but now I want to cherish my mental health more. 

Another possible weight on your shoulders could be the financial insecurity trauma. Basically, that means that you were stressed out in your childhood because of poverty and you thought that working “to the bone” would eventually solve the problem. That was the fairy tale that you used in order to ease the pain and no one is entitled to blame you for that because this was the coping mechanism that helped you survive. 

financial insecurity trauma

Who is promoting the “Go hard or Go home” mentality? 

The “Go hard or Go home” mantra is generally promoted by people who have already reached the success that people like you and me just keep dreaming about. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you struggled for those 10,000 hours to perfect your craft or not. The rich kid will always be 1 step ahead of you. 

Growing up I used to love Eminem and some other rappers that preached this mindset, but I’ve never believed it. I’ve always thought that the inequality of chances is a real thing, the networking in a certain field helps a lot and also, I shouldn’t let success control my existence. I want to do what I love and that’s enough for me. 

Also, I don’t agree with giving kids 7 hours of school and after that, thousands of assignments. As a kid, you should figure out who you are and have a lot of experiences. The fact that we prepare kids for the never-ending grind that will get them fed up is quite sad.  

Promoting this toxic mindset that could lead easily to depression is convenient. On Instagram, motivational content is posted daily and it works. It’s something simple that generates a bunch of likes because it spurs us on. Basically, our psyche has a positive response to pretty lies. We all have our idealized little worlds inside our minds and social platforms portray these idealizations quite well.  

Just like conspiracy theories, this “Go hard or Go home” mindset makes you believe that you know the truth. It makes you feel more in control with reality. That’s also the reason why self-help books such as “The Secret” sell. 

Living inside your head like that is dangerous because it gives you that God complex – you are special, you got the secret. Arrogance and empathy are trauma-responses as well. Generally, in psychoanalysis there are 2 possibilities – you can choose to be a victim or you can empower yourself. In the moment when you choose to be a victim, you have this “outlaw mentality” because you are broken inside and you have trust issues.  

The "Go hard or Go home" obsession
SpongeBob SquarePants

Why aren’t we all qualified for success? 

Just imagine how toxic this oversimplification of success is for people who are not able-bodied – or they don’t deserve to be successful because they don’t generate profit in a capitalist society? It’s a harsh reality, I know, but our world has always been one-sided.  

Personally, I didn’t even know if I will go to college because of poverty and you are still telling me that we all are born equal. So, let’s not forget about the white, middle class, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, thin people privilege and stop intoxicating people because it sounds like hypocrisy. 

Also, why are people with tattoos/piercings considered to be unprofessional? How can a tattoo change your skills? Or again, maybe is that related to the fact that all the people at the workplace must look the same?  

Another reason why working hard isn’t enough is that people will always be…well, people. Maybe you are the most professional of all people who applied for the same job, but somebody else will get the job just because someone already working there recommended that person. That’s why I’ve said that networking plays a role too. There are a lot of situations when life isn’t fair. 


Ok, what was the purpose? 

As you can see, I don’t romanticize waking up at 5 a.m., studying all night, being obsessive over things and not taking a day off in years. If all these things were for real, my dad would’ve become a billionaire until now, but – Guess what? that didn’t happen and all these extra hours spent at the construction site affected his health. So yes, “No pain, no gain” – first things first, life isn’t supposed to be painful. Life is not a crazy race in which the winner is the one who achieved the most. 

But let’s be real, I know people in their 40s who still think that they will run a business one day. I know people who try to mirror billionaire’s daily routines and they still don’t believe me when I tell them this is wrong. I know people who work even if they reached the retirement age because they are afraid of poverty and they don’t know how to live their lives if they are not burned out.  

Resuming, this article was meant to be a kind of awareness, but if you think that I’m delusional or whatever, it’s ok. I’m just trying to say that some of you have wet dreams about all these cringey quotes because you are traumatized and you basically lie to yourself to make your wounded inner child feel better. Wanting success is normal, but turning it into an obsession and being in denial like that is dangerous. But what do I know? Keep minimizing your worth if you want to, Mr. Krabs. Do you still “wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad” as Bruno Mars would say? 


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