We work in order to achieve our goals. But then, when we do, we create more goals that demand even more work. It is like an endless circle with no end in sight. Or as most commonly known: the rat race trap
Understanding the rat race trap
Let’s start with a few questions. What is enough for you? What will happen if you achieve all the goals that you have in mind right now? Just think about when you were 5 years younger.
You most probably never had the same aspirations that you have today. Maybe you then hoped to get into a great university or get your next career promotion. And you made them. What now? Are you satisfied?
Chances are you now have completely different goals. We always want more and it is logical to do so. This means we are pushed to work harder and harder to satisfy our ever-growing wants. This is the essence of the rat race trap. In some way, we are conditioned to live in this trap. We are educated and built into thinking we have to work hard to achieve what we want.
Only problem is that what we want changes so often. We may work so hard for something that will mean nothing to us in a year’s time. The question arises: why all this struggle? Is it worth it?
How deep are you in the trap?
People think there are only two cases: be in the trap or not be in the trap. If you look at it, it looks that almost everyone is in this trap. Some are deeply fallen on the trap. Some may be entering it just now.
You can think of the rat race trap as more like a moving sand trap and less than a real mousetrap. The more you move when you are inside the trap, the deeper you sink into the sand. The same is true for this social phenomenon called the rat race trap.
So the real question is: “How deep you are in the trap?”. This is the starting point. When you are honest enough to admit to yourself the extent you are trapped, only then can you hope to get out of it.
To help you answer this question, you can think of your life in terms of how competitive it is. Do you compare yourself to others a lot? Are your life and career characterized by competition? The more this is true, the deeper you are inside the trap.
Getting out of the trap
First of all, this trap does not need to be a miserable situation. If you enjoy working most of your waking hours, then you can use this trap to make a difference in the world. No one denies that. It is only that most people get sad and miserable in the process.
So if you enjoy living in the trap, you can stay there. The word “trap” may have a negative meaning but in this case, we are referring to a social phenomenon. You can use everything for your growth, and that includes this ‘trap’ as well.
If you decide you don’t want to live this kind of life, then there are things to change in your life. Change is not always easy nor it is always positive. However, change is a requirement for growth. Once you embrace change, growth happens faster.
In any case, there are lots of things to do and steps that you can take to get out of the rat race. From career changes to lifestyle amendments. Most importantly, however, is that you first understand you are in the rat race trap. If you don’t see that, you won’t get out of it.
Once you see that, ask yourself why do you work? Then everything else will fall into place.
- You always want more and it is logical to do so. This means we are pushed to work harder and harder to satisfy our ever-growing wants. This is the essence of the rat race trap.
- When you are honest enough to admit to yourself the extent you are trapped, only then can you hope to get out of it.
- If you decide to stay in the trap, it does not need to be a miserable situation. You can use everything for your growth, and that includes this ‘trap’ as well.