Escape the rat race

What did you feel when you read that title?

  • A feeling of anxiety and stress?
  • The sudden urge to be somewhere else?
  • Yourself running inside a large spinning wheel?
  • A feeling of relief and gratefulness?
  • You can’t really relate?

If you cannot really relate then you are most likely in the 15% of the workforce who are thriving in a fulfilling work environment. Count yourself lucky.

If you are feeling relieved and grateful then congratulations you were part of the 40% of workers who indicated that they wanted to leave their employer AND you took action.

In a 2021 Harvard Business Review study 85% of workers said that their well-being declined. 89% said that their work life was getting worse.

I want to escape the rat race. Why?

Let’s delve a bit deeper into this term: Escape the rat race.

A few dictionary definitions:

“If you talk about getting out of the rat race, you mean leaving a job or way of life in which people compete aggressively with each other to be successful. The rat race is a continual routine of hectic competitive activity.”

  • Cobuild Advanced English Dictionary

“The unpleasant life of people who have jobs that require them to work very hard in order to compete with others for money, power, status, etc.”

  • Merriam Webster

“A way of life in modern society, in which people compete with each other for power and money.”

  • Cambridge dictionary

“A job or way of life in which people compete aggressively with each other in order to be successful.”

  • Collins dictionary

“The way of life of people living and working in a large city where people compete in an aggressive way with each other in order to be more successful, earn more money, etc.”

  • Oxford Learners Dictionary

These all sound pretty dystopian. 

How did we get to this point?

I’m not going to go there because this article is starting to get dark and that is not my intention. 

All the dictionaries also had an example of how the term is used in a sentence. 

These are the examples:

“She is quitting the rat race to spend time with her family.”

“He decided to get out of the rat race, and went to work on a farm.”

“I had to get out of the rat race for a while and take a look at the real world again.”

“The novel is about a couple who get out of the rat race and buy a farm in France.”

So, interestingly none of them used the term in a sentence describing the rat race. All of them used the term describing people wanting to escape the rat race.  And that is human nature.  We naturally want to escape a space that is toxic, a place that is not in sync with our souls.  Our soul knows it, we know it. 

But sometimes circumstances prevent us from wanting to admit it.

I am here to tell you that it is possible.

And the more senior of an executive you are the easier it actually is.

Many people, including myself, have walked this path of giving up a life of deadlines to live a life of purpose.  People of different ages, different backgrounds and different qualifications have taken the leap.  When you talk to them, there is always one common observation that comes up. 

They will do whatever they need to do to ensure that they don’t have to go back to that previous life.

My new life after escaping the rat race

Some of my own reflections from the island of Lombok, Indonesia.  These are the things that I will not want to give up.

I spend every day outdoors in nature exercising.  This is part of my commitment to living a healthier life after suffering a heart attack in 2021.  This also happens to be my falling upward moment.  The event that triggered my exit from corporate.  When swimming in the ocean I have to almost pinch myself as a reminder that this is not a dream.  This is my life.  Swimming in the warm turquoise blue ocean surrounded by palm trees and white sand. A life I would never have thought possible before my heart attack.

My calendar is blank, literally blank.  Lots of white space.  Before my heart attack, I remember trying to find white spaces in my calendar to go have coffee with my wife.  Now I spend my day working on things that I’m passionate about.  I’m doing a lot of reading and writing and meeting interesting people every day.  These interactions are happening in person and online.  I am learning new skills, unlocking my creativity and seeing things very differently.  I’m enjoying my coaching which is happening on my terms. Learning Bahasa Indonesian is ongoing.

Living on a tropical island you become part of this way of life.  We have immersed ourselves in local culture and traditions.  Everything is laid back.  That’s a big adjustment coming from a fast-paced urban lifestyle.  Not being constantly exposed to the multibillion-dollar advertising industry is liberating.  No designer stores, sports cars or extravagant lifestyle.  You realize that you don’t need much to live a very comfortable life.  In my previous life, I was part of the problem.  I was contributing to the world of overconsumption.  Now I’m pursuing a simpler life.

Escaping the rat race is possible. 

You just have to make up your mind that you want to liberate yourself.  Speak to people who have done it. Speak to people who are living the life that you desire for yourself in a few years. They will be more than happy to share their stories with you. 

This will give you clarity and help you overcome your own doubt.

You don’t have to go to the extreme of selling everything and moving to a tropical island to live a simpler life.  You get to decide what your desired future looks like.  Just remember the longer you stay in a toxic environment the more you kill your spirit.

Don’t do that.

You are one decision away from changing your life.

Reach out if you would like to have a 1:1 chat

I will share with you my Futures Framework that I used for my successful transition from a life of deadlines to a life of purpose.

PS: Selling everything and moving to a tropical island has been a pretty awesome experience, LOL.  Highly recommended.

My brother and his son enjoying the sunset in Lombok

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  1. Hey, thank you for this post, it’s exactly what I needed to read.  We all get caught up in this crazy rat race and before you know it we do not know how to escape. You are totally right and I agree with all you said. Lately, I’ve had some big problems in my office so I quit my work. I’m so glad that I was able to get out of that environment and now I’m pursuing working for myself. I’m so happy. I will share this post with my colleagues too. Thanks a lot.

    1. Author

      Hi Liam, thanks for visiting my site and reading my latest article.  Yes, the rat race becomes all-consuming and then we believe that is the way life is supposed to be.  Through the pandemic, many people lost their jobs but have also reevaluated what work means to them.  People are realizing that getting caught in the rat race cannot be our purpose in life.  There needs to be more to life than just earning more money and accumulating more “stuff”. Please reach out if you would like me to share my futures framework that has helped many people refocus their lives.

  2. Hey, thank you for sharing your personal journey and the valuable insights you gained from your experience. Your tips on finding clarity, setting goals, and taking action are practical and encouraging. I also appreciated your emphasis on the importance of taking care of oneself and finding balance in life.

    Any tips on how to navigate financial challenges and uncertainties when pursuing a new path? I think this is often a major obstacle for many people. Especially if they have family, commitments, etc.

    1. Author

      Hi Ronnie, thanks for visiting my site and for your comments on this article.  Glad you found the information valuable.  That is the first question many people ask.  How much money do I need?  The journey to a desired future does however not start there.  Finances is obviously a very important part of the journey but it’s not the ultimate decision.  I did not have a lot of money when I made the change.  I also know many other people who did the same thing with minimal funds.  Once you have clarity about your desired future you can systematically move toward that vision.  In my mentoring program I explain how I did this and how you can also follow this path.  Feel free to claim your free 45 minute introductory session and we can chat further. Regards.

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