Relax, You’re Not A Rat! 3


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Today I was studying my statistics to see how many of you ignored my blog recently. When I logged into statcounter, a flashy advertising banner appeared telling me that I instantly have to escape the rat race and that my boss is trying to kill me.

Well, I guess the fact that I don’t really have a boss saved my life today. Of course the following statement was (again) that you can become wealthy like Richard Branson whilst vacuum cleaning your living room. Of course without any effort, that’s important. Anyway, if you know me a little by now, you know how I think about this.

But this post is not about this kind of scams, so read on.

The reason I mention this is that while I was taking a shower I thought about writing a post on the rat race. This banner just remembered me of that. This rat race thing must be a kind of a trigger, as it’s mentioned in advertising so often. I decided to give it a deeper thought.

As far as I remember I once mentioned the so-called rat race in one of my articles. And  I have to underline at this point the word so-called (make it bold is OK too). Why is that? Because in my opinion:

There is actually no rat race!

I know that some of you are likely to say: ‘But I’m in it every day!’

Let’s take a look what different sources say about the rat race:

  • The dictionary says: A difficult, tiring, often competitive activity or routine.
  • The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms (© 1992) says the following: Fierce competition to maintain or improve one’s position in the workplace or social life. For example, You may not realize what a rat race it is to get research grants. This term presumably alludes to the rat’s desperate struggle for survival.
  • WorNet says: an exhausting routine that leaves no time for relaxation.
  • Wikipedia describes it as a term used for an endless, self-defeating pursuit.

This makes it pretty clear, but does not describe the actual feeling that comes along with the term rat race. In my experience the people who see themselves as rats in the rat race are often jaded. We talk about a feeling here and not just about a term. Becoming disinterested and disillusioned are the sad side effects of this.

You, I and everybody else have the natural urge to do something meaningful with our lives. Even if you deny this right now, deep inside you know that you want to add a certain value. If you see yourself as a rat that is just struggling to make the ends meet, it is probably not easy for you do recognize that you already adding value. Value to others, who at their turn maybe not recognize your and their own value as well. I recommend my article Recognition: Make Others Happy as a further reading on this topic.

Our collective blindness.

In other words: we could better talk about a collective blindness for our values than about a rat race.

Giving recognition to others would be a first step to open their eyes for the value they are adding to other peoples life’s. No matter how little it might be, it’s always bigger than we think. I talked about this in my article The Little Smile.

Did you ever caught yourself thinking or saying out loud to yourself a kind of the following statements:

  • I’m just a garbage man and I feel like garbage myself. What value has this?
  • I’m just a little employee working at the room service in a hotel.
  • I used to be a broker on Wall Street, now everything collapsed I’m just Bugs Bunny in an Entertainment Park. What a worthless shit!

You are not a rat!

Assuming that a rat does not add value to anybody, I want to assure you that you are not a rat. (Btw: I don’t like talking that negative about these animals.) Relating to the examples above I want to tell you this:

  • You are adding a big value to me and my neighborhood by collecting the garbage every week and I am grateful for this. Thank you.
  • Every time I stay in a hotel I’m very glad that you brought the new towels, filled up the mini bar and cleaned up the room, so I had a nice stay.
  • As a Bugs Bunny you bring enjoyment to the people who are in need of a distraction of the hard times we are all going through these days. Be proud of it.

Of course this list could be endless. However, it leads me to my final conclusion:

No rats = no rat race!

Think about it!

See you soon,
Mario

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