If you have ever thought about escaping the rat race you have probably felt trapped by your current circumstances, unable to change by a growing feeling of discontent and disillusionment by what your life has become and is becoming. Trapped in your car on the way to work, stressing about the horrible day ahead which you have lined up usually brings such a thought to mind. The feeling builds up in your body and each little moment of stress builds a dam which is brimming over with discontent, ready to explode. You can’t take it anymore and desperation fills your mind as you search continuously for your means of escape, all the time pursuing the almighty coin which will eventually set you ‘free’..
The thought of being free is the furthest from your mind of course because your life is so full of ‘getting there‘. As you relax and recover from a week of mental and physical strain and stress, preparing yourself for the ensuing week to come, you enjoy the lifestyle you have bought into by numbing your senses with alcohol and cheer. However, it only makes the following week all the more difficult to bear since you now have a hangover and are further away from your zero balance, dipping into your overdraft before payday – where the whole process starts again!
Maybe your credit card is slowly giving you the ‘freedom’ to enjoy a few other luxuries, to help you endure another week at work by getting that ‘something special’, because you’re worth it! With each purchase comes a growing sense of desperation. Your credit card balance grows and so does your monthly interest payments. It is a slippery slope towards more debt, and your growing stress levels know it, and it is only alleviated by the next shiny new toy – spiraling more repayments. Stress builds on stress and before you know it your whole day is of miserable inconsequence. You are simply a money making machine, devoid of joy and creating more misery with each miserable thought or utterance! Your only contribution is lying in a pool of sick at the weekend and perpetuating the status quo in your job which you became disillusioned with many years ago!
It’s worth asking yourself how much you have bought into the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s‘ mentality. Society is built on structure and many communities have a very consumer driven focus which makes it difficult if you are not driven by things. Money is useful not just for things of course. You need money to survive in modern society and short of going ‘off grid’ and hunting your own food, we all need money to function in normal daily life. However when spending becomes an addiction to distract you from signals and information that something more fundamental should change, it further adds to the problems – especially if money is an issue for you.
Income is good. For a long time I struggled with ideas around money. Limiting beliefs kept me where I was financially. I had a ‘lack’ mentality for a number of reasons. Changing these beliefs helped me to change my income and outgoings. I didn’t need the retail ‘hit’ anymore and I started focusing on how I could bring more money in, in ways which suited me personally.
Some spending is unnecessary
After reading a great book called ‘The Automatic Millionaire’ by David Bach I took a weekly inventory of my spending and realized I had a habit of buying the unnecessary. A ‘pick me up’ if you will! What David Back calls it is ‘The Latte Factor’ – that daily treat which ends up costing you thousands of pounds a year!
Pay yourself first
Another great principle from this book (which has many to help you understand your habits, spending and ego), is paying yourself first. What this means is rather than paying all your bills, rent, mortgage and food budget and then deciding what to do with the remainder, is first before you pay anybody, you set aside a sum to be paid automatically to an account of yours, savings if you like. This goes out automatically, without your thinking about it. As time goes on you learn to live to the means of what is showing in your bank balance – effectively below your means. This has a compounding effect and builds you a nice fund in a separate account which ideally is hard to access so you won’t be tempted to get at it.
Money is only one aspect of escaping the rat race but there are many. Another is of course your peace of mind and general state of mind and health. If your work/ life balance is not how you like it then you need to make some changes, if only subtle ones at first. Work doesn’t have to be all consuming. If you can’t relax in your job then maybe it’s time to leave or find something else.
Working for yourself
Working for yourself has its own inherent problems and it takes time to build your own business. Many people start their own business alongside their current job and as the money from their business venture grows they slowly step away from their normal job. You can learn how to start your own internet business here with this free video series.
Changing your mind
Often it isn’t your circumstances that are affecting your experience but your reaction to them. Things probably aren’t as bad as you think, really. You are just reacting to events and circumstances in an emotional way, sometimes because of some other pain/experience. Focus not on the things that are making your life miserable, but instead on what in your life makes you happy and brings you joy. What is good about your life? When you are deeply routed in the negative aspects of your life, it is hard to find even the smallest thing which is good. Start with spending some time focusing on what you like each day and slowly build your attention around these things rather than the things which are more of a challenge. Gratitude is the common thread which mentioned in many self’ help books such as ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne and ‘The Science Of Getting Rich’ by Wallace Wattles.
Building a ‘shrine for your mind’
Make some space in your day to get into a nice state of mind. Take time away from your desk or even sit and meditate at your desk. The important point is to give yourself time to switch off and focus on nothing. Giving yourself some space can help lower your heart rate, calm your mind and thoughts and lower your stress levels. Make time to do this frequently throughout your day and you will be consciously altering your mental state. Over time and with practice you can do this when things get stressful to give yourself a ‘shrine for your mind’.
“I couldn’t make it work because I wasn’t a sociopath” – Max Igan
How much do you really want it?
Remember that life is short! How important is the holiday home, the extra holiday, the bigger, faster car and the nicer home? Is it important enough to kill yourself for. Much of the extra stress in life is placed on our shoulders by ourselves because we buy into the idea that we much have these ‘picture perfect’ lives.
Remember that many millionaires commit suicide:
“Among the extremely wealthy, suicide was the cause of 23.6 percent of their deaths between 2008 and 2010. Some ended their lives by hanging themselves, some by taking drugs and others by jumping off buildings or into water. That death rate was similar to the police, the job with the highest risk factor in the country. “Suicide among millionaires and billionaires […] is a social problem, which shows more people cannot cope with the pressure they feel to maintain their wealth after they’ve become successful,” said Hu of Fudan University.
You can’t measure the mental pressure you put on yourself – although it feels very bad eventually leading to dis-ease.
Take some of the weight off.
Listen to your body. Practice relaxing and remember how this feels often. Martial arts or meditation are great for this especially Tai Chi because they ‘tune in’ to your natural relaxed state. Once you can discriminate between the states of ‘stressed’ and relaxed you can begin to be more conscious about your chosen ‘state’.
Build a business you love
We often choose careers which seem like a good idea at the time but over the years we become disillusioned with them. Perhaps your job no longer challenges you and is limiting your personal growth. If money is the only reason for doing something eventually it becomes a chore. “Find a business you love and you will never work a day in your life”. If you are passionate about something it isn’t a ‘chore’. Take a look at this video series and learn how thousands of people are switching to lifestyle businesses which allow greater personal choice, more time, freedom and flexibility.