Find Your Way OUT of the Rat Race

After a while, the rat race tires you out. Even if you are winning the race, you still feel like a rat – this is what someone once told me.

And, she ended up taking a very long journey through the east.

On her return, I asked her how she felt. Her reply was that she had moments of pure joy, but most of the time she still felt the same.

Unfortunately, her travel only served to confirm her biases, without expanding her horizons. She carried her whole world with her, wherever she went.

eagleBut I have seen several people get out of the rat race successfully, and I talked to them about their methods. Two key points I learnt are these:

   You are not a rat

   It is not a race

If you feel like a rat on a wheel, it is because you have allowed others to make you feel like one. Rats are mammals of lower order, mainly run by a limited brain capacity and caught up in the game of procreationnutrition and survival.

Obviously, for a human all three of these are important. But, if that is all that occupies your time then eventually you will feel like a rat.

So, what do you do to go beyond those three basics?

a. Invest in relationships: Relationships of the past were based on mutual dependence and need. They were really rooted in the three basics mentioned above. Only those who invest in relationships based on CARE, TRUST and INTEGRITY can manage to raise their consciousness above the level of the rats.

b. Speak your truth: Self expression is a necessary tool of expression. You can find many mediums – painting, novels, sculptures, inventions are just a few. The joy of creation will start to bring you up another notch.

c. Clear your perceptions: Constant barrage of 24/7 news channels is now supplemented with numerous social media channels with bait-and-switch headlines. Where does it end? You end up clogging your perception to such a high degree that you may not have a single original thought for months. What chance do you have of getting out of rat-race if this is all that occupies your mind?

d. Co-Create: Creating a child is only the most beautiful and pleasurable way of co-creation. But, that is not the only one. Join your consciousness with others’ and you will be surprised with the results. Those who do not see the need to do so must read this blog post on Steve Jobs.

Let’s talk briefly about the second point above. It is really not a race? Nobody took birth to race to his/her grave. If you don’t KNOW THYSELF and your purpose then you will surely get caught up in the race. Who has the biggest ‘______’ is not the way to measure the quality of your life?

It may be an expression of your contribution, or even of your truth – but there is no reason to stop your consciousness at that level.

Do not let your petty jealousies drive you – leave that job to your purpose.

Kids-painting-in-daycareSo, how do you KNOW THYSELF, and your purpose?

Generally speaking points a, b, c and d above would have already brought you that knowledge.

All you have to do is accept the truth as it surfaces, and live it. You will never get caught up in the rat race, no matter where you live and what work you do.

That will be a true human life that knows its own value.

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Vivek Sood

I write about "The Supply Chain CEOs", "The 5-STAR Business Networks", and, how to "Unchain Your Corporation". In my work, I help create extraordinary corporate results using several 'unique' supply chain methodologies. Contact me for interesting, high impact projects, or, to get access to my IP for creating transformations using these methodologies.

  • Gavin says:

    Great words about way of living! I just experienced it in the same way it explained above. I’m right on my place and speaking truly and honestly everytime. But in others point of view, I can’t explain it properly it.

  • Melissa says:

    You’ve got the itch. You want to quit your job. You know you’d do great as your own boss. But how and when? Don’t worry. Millions of people have successfully made the transition from 9-to-5 to the world of entrepreneurship, and they are out there with lessons to help show you the way. It can be a lonely, challenging road. But with a little mental preparation, your journey will be a lot easier. Now is the time to start freelancing and consulting if you haven’t already. You’ll need clients and customers, so here’s your chance to start building your base before you are out on your own. Start your new business while you are still employed.

  • Welsey says:

    I would define rat race as any exhausting, unremitting, and usually competitive activity or routine, especially a pressured urban working life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for leisure, contemplation, etc. Doesn’t that describe how most of us live today? Like the proverbial frog, we have jumped into the boiling pot of business and career, and without realizing it; we are being slowly cooked to death. It’s time to make a drastic change and reorder our priorities or we may wake up at the other side of life and realize we have spent the best part of our lives competing for empty trophies.

  • Cardona says:

    The rat race, an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. Almost 02 years ago I ventured out into self-employment after spending much of the previous decade in the Rat Race.
    It took me years to take this step. I finally realized that I just needed to start something, anything, if it failed, then it failed, at least I tried. I had to work to overcome my fear of failure because it was paralyzing me.
    I found myself spending way too much time trying to figure out the perfect plan even before I took the first step. The amazing thing is that as I started taking steps, the plan became clearer. It’s just like a horizon line. It stays the same until you start walking towards it. As you get closer you see things that you couldn’t see before.

  • Edward says:

    You are going to need shoulders to cry on when you have twelve jobs and no idea how you’ll get through all the work. You’ll also need friends to listen to your tales of woe when business is slow or your customers aren’t paying you in a timely fashion. Consider forming a business support network instead of becoming a part of the rat race. Another great place to look for support is a coworking space. These are springing up all over the world, and in general, they are filled to the brim with people who are just like you. Talk to them to find out what they wish they knew when they were in your shoes. This is how you can get out of that typical rat race thing.

  • Deran says:

    Good article Vivek Sood. We all are victims of the rat race. We just keep on following the people and trends blindly. We don’t really take time to think through and determine what matters to us. So we end up being swept away by the currents of societal expectations and popular opinion. Twenty years ago, did you consider a smartphone a necessity? Except when you’re using it for work or business, is it really a necessity even now? But do you know how many people are dying to get the latest iPhone? When you ask why you find that it’s probably because they want to do Snapchat and other fun stuff. Somebody described it as using the money you don’t have to buy something you don’t need, to impress people that don’t care.

  • Jenn McKeen says:

    Majority of those caught up in the rat race are doing it to prove a point or to keep up with the Joneses. What they don’t realize is that even the Joneses are broke! Do you really need a Mercedes Benz or do you simply need a good car? Maybe you can even use Uber or a similar service, effectively cutting out the guilt and pressure of owning an under-utilized high maintenance car. Do you need a bigger television or a gold watch? Do you really need to fly first class or even fly at all? If you can conveniently afford these luxuries, fine! But if not, why waste your time, energy and resources pursuing what you don’t really need? Most of the time, our sense of what we need is a result of subliminal cues from marketing campaigns that have been carefully designed to influence consumer behavior at the subconscious level.

  • Boylein says:

    When you were in college, you probably didn’t have much money. You split the rent for your crappy apartment with roommates, you didn’t have a fancy car, and you sustained yourself on ramen noodles. Whatever money you had left bought you some beer or a dinner out with friends. Yet, most people look back on those days fondly. Then you entered the workforce and started making real money. Suddenly, you needed a nice car to take clients around town and a big house to demonstrate your newfound success. But these things you accumulated didn’t do anything to improve your quality of life. In fact, the more money you made the more stuff you needed. When you get a promotion, you still can’t get ahead because your burn rate keeps pace with what you make.

  • Stephanie says:

    It’s difficult to pin down the moment you joined the rat race. It just sort of happened. The problem with the rat race is that there’s no finish line. There’s nobody waiting at the end to give you a medal and dump a cooler of Gatorade over your head. The wheel just keeps spinning. And the longer you’re caught in this cycle of consumption, the more natural it becomes. You forget that it wasn’t always like that. Once you escape the rat race, you’ll be able to move freely and appreciate the world around you without getting dizzy. Remember: Life is a journey, not the destination, and you don’t want to spend that journey on a treadmill going nowhere.

  • Riffee says:

    Nice article Vivek. The rat race is trending these days. People are just running after their hectic and boring routines. While you are trying to get out of this rat race you can follow some steps in this regard. The first step toward escaping the rat race is being able to see the rat race. When you’re just trying to keep up, it’s easy to saddle yourself with a hefty mortgage and an expensive car payment and then convince yourself that’s what will make you happy, but it’s important to realize that your stressors are entirely self-inflicted. The good news is that you got yourself onto the wheel, which means you can get yourself off of it.

  • Robert Smith says:

    The 9-to-5 grind is gospel in the rat race, but it’s not the best way to put money in the bank. Instead of focusing on putting out fires and generating immediate results, consider dedicating at least 15 percent of your time to activities that build on your quality of life and 40 percent of your time to developing new platforms instead of maintaining existing ones. What if you spent Monday, Wednesday, and Friday knocking out your daily priorities and dedicated Tuesday and Thursday to work on a new long-term project? What if you took some days off? It’s crazy, I know, but shaking up your routine can help you get off the wheel.

  • Rosaline says:

    Gentlemen, we live in an age of unprecedented rapidity of change. The world’s infrastructure, culture, and technology have changed more in the past 20 years than they have in the past 100. It is not an overstatement to say that job security is a thing of the past. So, what’s a man to do in such uncertain times? Well, I propose that you must take your own financial success into your own hands. It will no longer do to trust a giant corporation to take care of you, and to be honest, this type of thinking is childish and entitled. If you want to break free of the rat race and become financially independent, it is possible, if you’re willing to put in the work. Very many men in the manosphere have not only left their day jobs behind but are earning far more than they ever did before.

  • Lydia says:

    According to me, one of the most basic tenets of being able to escape the rat race is not just to earn money, but to protect your money and make it grow for you. In fact, this is probably one of the most fundamental principles of wealth: the poor work for money, the rich have money work for them. It only takes a modicum of thought to realize the folly of working for money. If you can only work 16 hours a day, you are limited to 16 hours’ worth of money. This is why it is crucial to shift your paradigm. Don’t think of money and time as a linear trade. Think of time as an investment in money. There are two types of investments: time and money. That’s it. You can either invest time, or you can invest money…and I would argue that you should do both. Every time you’re faced with spending your time to earn money, ask yourself: will this earn me money for just this hour? Or will this time investment continue to earn me money for the following years to come?

  • Raven says:

    If you talk to a rat that has been running the wheel for years, he’ll tell you that he earns 10 times what he used to, but his quality of life has not improved. The more he works, the more he spends, and the faster his income disappears. If you want to escape this vicious cycle, you must pay yourself first and sock some money away to accumulate for the future. Our culture of consumption is often what pulls us into the rat race in the first place. It’s drilled into us from a very young age that a big house with a yard and a white picket fence is central to the luxurious and dream life, but did you really buy a house, or did you just get yourself a job as a handyman or gardener? At some point, the stuff you own starts to own you. Whatever you spend your money on, make sure it adds to your quality of life.

  • S.Andrew says:

    When you plant your feet on firm ground for the first time in years, you might look around and notice you don’t have much company. The rat race may have even consumed your business. To help your employees escape the rat race, you first need to demonstrate proof of the concept in your own life. Then try giving them some time during the week to work on their passion projects, and encourage them to invest in themselves. After all, you don’t want a bunch of people running on the wheel for you when you worked so hard to get off of it yourself!

  • Braxton says:

    The well-intentioned article it is, no doubt. As many others, such as renowned entrepreneur have said and believed that if you want to make it big you have to follow your passion. Now, I get that this can sound like complete hippie garbage to someone who has been in the rat race for the last three decades, but let me explain. When you’re stuck in the rat race, you don’t see things the same way that an entrepreneur does; you only see the opportunities that are given to you. “Hmm, I could get this job doing something I hate for $150,000 a year or I could follow my passion as a teacher and get paid $35,000 a year…I think I’ll choose the former. This is how you go and think and fell prey of rat race.

  • Nelson says:

    I used to feel trapped in my job and it wasn’t until I’d made the left that I saw all the choices I had the whole time! Feeling trapped in a job that leaves you unsatisfied tortures both the mind and the body. Naturally, feeling trapped is the same as feeling that you are unable to move. The first thing you need to address is freeing yourself from the things that leave you feeling trapped. The second reason for being in a rat race is that a lot of us feel trapped is because we feel we don’t have the skills to transition into a different line of work, or lifestyle. Solving this problem is also simple; start practicing more. If there’s something else you want to do, start doing it more. No matter the profession you can practice the skills required to do it. Become a hobbyist and dedicate 30 minutes to an hour a day to bettering yourself in that area.

  • Barbour says:

    Working a 9 am to 5 pm job seems like an inescapable reality of life. If you’re not working in an office for a big company, you can’t eat, you cant save for retirement, you can’t be successful. What if I were to tell you that your seemingly inescapable reliance on being a participant in the cooperate rat race was in fact, absolutely escapable? The truth is that thousands of people do it every year and that there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t too. The thing you have to do is to make your mind for doing something different, dissimilar to the same hectic routine. You can try a new job, change your social circle and do anything that suits you. This would possibly help you out.

  • Mazua says:

    Incredible article Vivek. The first practical tip I can give you to escape the rat race is saving money. There are a million blogs out there that will tell you to walk into your boss’ office today, tell him/her to suck eggs and quit your job. Unfortunately, bold attitudes don’t pay mortgages. Because of that reality, if you really want to find financial freedom, you’ll want to make sure that you have a cushion of money saved up. Preferably a year worth of expenses or more. I know, I know… when your back is up against the wall and you despise your job, the thought of saving up and sticking it out can be tough. Still, if you quit your job too early, you won’t give yourself the opportunity you need to get momentum in your new life. That may mean you having to limp back into the life you left behind prematurely.

  • Jhonny Jarvis says:

    Rats run in a maze compete against each other to get to the cheese a measly reward but one for which they vie nonetheless. Your thoughts may be of harried, unhappy people working long hours for low pay and little recognition. Yet people continue to be participants in the rat race either because their families depend on their earnings or they may simply have a motivation to beat coworkers to the next promotion or salary increase. When considering the rat race, it typically means no work-life balance or independence. There are general dissatisfaction and high stress in life. While work is necessary for productive citizens, the real purpose is to have a fulfilling, satisfying and well-rounded life. Work is not a dirty, four-letter word.

  • Sacarello says:

    You’ve saved up, you’ve quit your job, you’ve cut unnecessary expenses from your life. Now what? You have, for example, ‘s sake, one year to find a way to make a livable income for yourself. You could spend that year trying new business ideas, growing your skills, and revolutionizing your life. You could also spend that year waking up at noon, watching movies all day on your friend’s Netflix account. I’m going to challenge you to be in the former party and make precious use of the time you have to reinvent yourself. If you misuse your time and end up back at a job you hate, you’ll forever regret not taking advantage of the opportunity you had. So set goals for yourself and spend each day taking small steps towards their achievement. If you do, I promise you you’ll find success.

  • Cristina says:

    The rat race, well the question here is that how can you escape this situation? First, you need to recognize your plight and make up your mind to do something about it. If your job sucks, maybe you are in the wrong position. Analyze your options. Get some good career advice and counseling. What is causing the unhappiness in your job? If it is solely because of your pay and benefits, recognize that everyone from the newest or entry-level employee to the CEO usually thinks they are underpaid. You may need to examine your lifestyle and spending habits. Set up a budget and stick with it. An in-depth self-evaluation may be necessary to accurately determine the next steps. You need to ensure you have not brought about your own demise and caused your problems. Things may not be as bad as you may first think they are. Examine your attitude, not only on the job but in your personal life as well. You may need an attitude adjustment and even major changes in your life. If this is the case, it will not be easy.

  • Victoria says:

    Such an enjoyable it is to read this article on this interesting topic Vivek. A ton of people who have escaped the rat race will tell you how integral a mentor was to their success. Nothing can fast forward your ambition of getting rich working for yourself, untethered from a cubicle than by working with somebody who has done it. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in building an online brand, selling products over the internet from your bedroom or doing anything else. Out there is somebody with incredible expertise that can help you navigate through every hurdle standing between you and your dreams.

  • Sweazy says:

    Dear all, social rate race became a common part of everyday life. Unfortunately! Generally, rate race begins with respecting others and some social rules but continually turns into ruthless competition for higher positions, more money and both society and some, often the majority, parts of it accept the new order of jungle fight that there are no rules only interests. We, people, should not follow the “rat race” otherwise follow the hard work path to gain something really good thing. Really, I am surprised why people do like this without any good aim means competition with someone or each other to participate in the race. For me doing work in the proper work with hard working and honest way in the stipulated time, NOT RAT RACE.

  • Ricky says:

    A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. The increased image of work as a “rat race” in modern times has led many to question their own attitudes to work and seek a better alternative; a more harmonious work-life balance. Many believe that long work hours, unpaid overtime, stressful jobs, time spent commuting, less time for family life and or friends life, has led to a generally unhappier workforce or population unable to enjoy the benefits of increased economic prosperity and a higher standard of living.

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