The 5 Steps You Need to Escape the Rat Race – An Introduction

Have you wondered why you do the things you do? You know the same things you do every day and I mean every day. Some call it a routine but when you take a step back you suddenly realise it’s the very thing holding you back from having a meaningful life. You see once you are caught up in this wheel it’s hard to get out because that’s the nature of a wheel. It just keeps going around and around.

How do you know you’re in the wheel

Hamster WheelIf your typical day looks something like this then you may be in a wheel.

Morning – Wake up, have breakfast, grab a coffee to wake you up again,  watch some news, brush your teeth, get ready for work, commute to work

Early-Morning – Arrive at work, grab a coffee to wake you up, read through some emails, catch up with your work colleagues, do some work, have some meetings.

Lunch – Pay some bills, have some lunch.

Afternoon – Have some meetings, grab a coffee to wake you up, do some work, grab a sugary snack to keep you going, surf the internet until home time, clock off.

Evening – Commute home, do some food shopping, make some dinner, watch some news, grab a coffee to keep you awake, watch some more TV, check in with Facebook, brush your teeth, then go to bed

Ok, so you’re probably thinking yeah but I choose to live like that and I still have my own free will. Sure you do, but just try and completely change your routine for just one day. My educated guess suggests you can’t, because you are stuck and the only way you get unstuck is by self-medicating and taking a holiday.

Yep, needing a holiday is also sign that you are in a wheel.

A holiday is a chance for you to clear your mind, sometimes it takes a week before you even start relaxing. On this holiday, it’s normal to get your head in order to work out a plan for your future and then you return to your daily cycle. And when you do, how long does it take before it no longer feels like you’ve even been on a holiday? One day, half a day or even just a few hours after you’ve returned to work. Don’t worry, before the end of the day you’re back in the wheel and life just continues on.

But it doesn’t need to be like this.

Life outside the wheel

Leaving The WheelLife outside the wheel can be similar to life inside the wheel but with one simple difference, the freedom to choose. Choose when you wake up, what you eat, when you exercise, when you socialize, and when you work. Yes, being outside the wheel still requires work because it’s unlikely you’ll learn to live without money in the short term.

It’s taken generations of marketers, to ensure your world revolves around money, but it wasn’t always this way. Long before marketers existed, people would trade their goods and services. Money was invented to make this easier. as you might not have been able to trade apples for apples. Now we trade our time for money and use the money to help free up time. It’s a vicious circle.

When you live outside the wheel, you have time, but perhaps no money. If you can only have one, you should choose time, because it’s a lot easier to turn time into money than it is to turn money into time.

Turning time into money can be a casual transaction, for instance doing a job for someone in return for money is easy if you have a skill they desire. However, when you turn your money into time, this also means you’re not earning money when you use the free time. There are loses in that system and it’s not sustainable unless you earn your money through passive means.

Now life outside the wheel is more about doing the thing you love, and not necessarily doing nothing. If you aren’t growing then you’re dying, albeit slowly. Growing and living life are very similar things and usually satisfy one of our desires for fulfillment. You need time to grow.

Saving for the nest egg

Retirement Nest EggIf you are in the wheel, your exit strategy usually involves retiring with a nice nest egg, so you can continue to live out the rest of your life doing the things you’re still capable of. Yes, there are limitations when you get older so knock off those high impact activities sooner rather than later, or you may live with regret.

Only a few decades ago, you’d expect to live another 20 years after retirement if you were lucky, but times are changing and this number is creeping towards 40 years. However, being alive doesn’t equate to being capable, just remember that. The truth is less than 10% of workers have saved enough money to live a similar lifestyle as they lead now, so be prepared to take on part-time work during retirement.

If you continue to live within the bound of the wheel, then make sure you’re covered longer into retirement, either through pension funds, superannuation or tangible assets.

There is another way forward

I’ve always believed there is another way to live but the wheel has kept me locked in because I never truly gave it my best shot. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt kept me believing there wasn’t any alternative and I lacked belief. It didn’t help the people around me also had no answers for the questions I needed answering and the only advice they could give was to find another job, one that you like more and to keep growing that nest egg.

At one stage in my life, I looked towards growing my net assets to be worth a million dollars, but now more importantly I just crave a happy and fulfilling life, minus societies trappings. I value experiences more than possessions as I soon realized craving possessions was another way we self-medicate our dissatisfaction for life.

Can you ever remember thinking, life is so awesome I might just go and buy lot things? It’s more likely life wasn’t so great and you just bought more things to satisfy some short term need. I know I did.

So what’s this new way, I hear you say. Let’s have a look at the chart below.

Profits vs Purpose

 

The Four Quadrants of Profits vs Purpose

Survival

This is where you start out and is most typical of people in the wheel. Living paycheck to paycheck, and believing the only way forward is a job and plenty of self-medication. It’s the daily grind, making money to spend it, spending money to make it. Without the knowledge of the other quadrants, it’s possible to live a whole life in survival mode. You lack purpose and have little profits.

Earning

People who command a steady job and an ever increasing paycheck usually find themselves migrating to this quadrant. Their life might still lack a strong purpose, but the money is coming in which allows them access to self-medicating toys such as expensive cars, boats and houses. People in this quadrant spend most of the money they earn and might begin to develop investment strategies. Money in this quadrant only buys short-term happiness and more money is required to fill the void. You are likely to still be in the wheel whilst in this quadrant.

Giving

Typically, people who reside in this quadrant do volunteer work, often working for free or sometimes for little money. They survive on the generosity of others and in turn give their time to worthy causes. Often people in this quadrant have found meaning and fulfillment but lack the money to make more of an impact. When you give your time to a cause you are limited by the resources and vision of the leaders of that cause. It is unlikely you are living in a wheel as you have the freedom to move from one cause to another.

Thriving

In this quadrant, you have both money and purpose, to realize your dreams. This is where you can make the greatest impact and despite the notion that ‘money is evil’, when used by the right person it can lead to a contented life. It’s no coincidence that you find philanthropists operating in this quadrant and most have made their way here via the Earning Quadrant. People in this quadrant are balanced and are capable of making a serious impact to society. Again you are unlikely to be living in the wheel whilst in this quadrant as you’ve discovered how to scale income whilst balancing passions.

So which quadrant do you live in? And which one would you like to live in?

My goal is to live a life in the Thriving Quadrant and in the next five weeks I’m going to outline what steps you can take to escape from the rat race too, so you can live a fulfilling and thriving life. However, breaking from the wheel will be uncomfortable, challenging and yet rewarding, so take back your life and join me in the coming weeks as I reveal what I’ve learned that changed my life.

The truth is I’ve been happier in the last few months since leaving wheel than I’ve been in years, and at the time I wasn’t even sure it was possible. It all started with a mind shift and a new belief that I was capable of greater things, but before that happened I had to fix my self-esteem.

More on that next week…

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