The lies…the constant lies…the in your face lies and misinformation we were told as children. Go to school > Learn a trade > Get a good-paying job > Start a family > Go back to school > Change careers > Retire > Teach our children to repeat the cycle without filling in the blanks.
Rat Race is a term used to describe a hard-to-break cycle and illusion that ultimate success is within reach–and all one has to do is work a little harder to secure a reward that will lead to happiness.
Other definitions of a Rat Race:
- An endless, self-defeating, and pointless pursuit.
- Climbing a ladder to nowhere, in a constant state of discontent.
- The situation in modern society in which people compete with each other for money and power.
- A life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for relationships, leisure, and contemplation.
- A way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for fame, wealth, or power.
Where do you fit in the above definitions?
Here are some indicators that you might be stuck in a rat race.
- You are dissatisfied with your job/career.
- You are continually revisiting the past.
- You lack enthusiasm and purpose in your life.
- You feel powerless to effect change.
- You have become a liability in relationships.
- You have a cynical outlook regarding the future.
- You have given up hope of life getting better.
We will inevitably find ourselves stuck in a rat race whenever we associate our happiness with the pursuit of…whatever “it” is. Life is more than the pursuit of happiness. Having more does not equate to increasing one’s overall satisfaction.
No matter how noble our intentions, if our entire existence is bound up in some future state of escape through materialism or pleasure, we are, in essence, conceding our right to freedom—our right to live a purposeful and meaningful life.
So, how do you escape the rat race?
- Knowing the “why” for your existence.
- By choosing your attitude in any given set of circumstances.
- Realizing that life expects something from you.
- Putting aside selfish interests to serve others.
- Giving yourself to a cause that benefits humanity.
- Devoting your life to giving rather than taking.
- Finding a hobby or creative work that relaxes you and helps restore balance in your life.
Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to be happy. A fulfilled life is found in the responsibility to something greater than the self. –Viktor Frankl
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Featured Image: Steve Cutts