THE deadline for this column is Thursday morning. Sadly, that means it still falls within the 10-day Molly-Mae discourse window and so I’m legally required to mention her in this week’s piece.

Molly-Mae Hague (please don’t say “WHO???” in the comments...) is an influencer and former Love Island contestant, whose role as creative director at fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing led to her appearing on The Diary of a CEO podcast in December.

In a clip that went viral last week, she says that we “all have the same 24 hours in a day” and adds: “I understand that we all have different backgrounds and we’re all raised in different ways, and we do have different financial situations, but I do think if you want something enough, you can achieve it.”

As far as horrendous takes go, it’s up there with “actually, some of his solo stuff is on a par with Definitely Maybe” when talking about former Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, and who can forget the more recent Novak Djokovic case of “actually, the rules shouldn’t apply to me because I’m good at tennis”.

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Molly-Mae is only 22, and while her comments were ignorant, insensitive, misguided and uncomfortably Thatcherish, I’m pretty sure we all said ridiculous things in our early 20s. Most of us, however, didn’t have massive platforms filled with people buying into everything we said.

Unfortunately, her comments carry weight. This is someone with more than six million Instagram followers, many of whom are at an impressionable age and therefore susceptible to this kind of mentality.

In another video that resurfaced this week, she says: “You can’t just be happy with where you are. There’s always more to be achieved.”

This fallacy is a prime example of “hustle culture”, which ensures that anyone who fails to live up to its absurd standards feel inadequate. It tells us that without a certain, unspecified amount of money, we can never be content.

In a country plagued by social inequality, this is a particularly harmful message, and Molly-Mae is far from the only one perpetuating it.

On Tuesday, I saw a post on Instagram that most people reading this column online will have seen a variation of.

It began: “You’ll watch an entire series on a streaming service even when the first episodes are slow just because someone told you ‘it gets better’, but what if you looked at your goals like that and watched your life get better instead?”

It ended with a picture of a man holding a different pill in each hand. One pill said “read the caption and improve your life”, and the other said “complete another TV series”. The man holding the pills was Morpheus from sci-fi blockbuster The Matrix.

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Many men, and I include myself in this, are quick to sometimes mock women for their “live, laugh, love, prosecco” social media posts, but we’ve not got a leg to stand on.

Show us a heavily filtered black-and-white image of Cillian Murphy in BBC period drama Peaky Blinders with the words “a wolf never stops hustling for his pack” and we’ll lap it up.

We’ll watch male influencers platform racists and peddle vaccine disinformation, but as soon as they tweet “sometimes you’ve got to strive if you want to survive” we’re giving it “I don’t agree with everything the big man says but he’s bang on here”.

It’s a culture that prizes money over love, self-care and empathy, incentivising our youngest adults to park their morals at the door in the name of a quick buck.

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of us will never build an empire, so chasing that dream will almost certainly lead to unhappiness.

Relaxing with some good telly is an infinitely healthier use of your time. Life’s too short to be trapped in a never-ending hustle.

After all, we’ve only got 24 hours in a day.