Monday, March 17, 2014

The Walls of The Rat Cage - Don't Stop Digging

The walls of the rat cage are thick.

Trust me, it took hundreds of years for men to devise a system - a system so great, that we automatically become a part of it the moment we're given a school uniform & a name tag. The system taught us to strive for grades, productivity and hone our job interview skills so that we can get a first class ticket into the rat cage.

Little did we know that the system is flawed. It put into our minds that it is 'normal' to have a 9-5 job, to work on weekends, to reward ourselves with material possessions funded by credit and to finally retire at 65 with barely enough money as we wither into our twilight years. Yes, over time this became our definition of what's 'normal'.

You see, my fellow white collar rats, the system has walls around it. These barriers prevent the paycheck prisoners (a.k.a. corporate rats) from escaping. Through decades of sophistication, these walls are strengthened by the allure of consumerism, the temptation of debt, the need to keep up with the joneses and of course, the social challenges of trying to escape ("What will people think of me if I don't have the symbols of success? The cars? The giant houses?").

The more we try to show people that we have 'made it', the faster and harder we have to run on the treadmill, chasing a carrot that we voluntarily hang in front of our own heads. This is success as defined by the system. 

But beyond these walls, there is a better definition of success. 

It may come as a shock to you, but beyond these thick walls, there is time to spend with your loved ones, time to pursue your real passions, time to travel, time to see places and time to do things that really matter - all these without having to worry about chasing a paycheck.

The walls of the rat cage are thick, but we have to start making scratches on it. Soon, the walls will start to chip away, cracks will be visible....and finally, there will be a hole in the wall - one that is large enough for us to escape.

It takes time. 

It's slow. 

Don't stop digging.

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