Sunday, May 31, 2009

Don't Run the Rat Race

Since young, I have always heard this phrase : " Don't run the rat race."

It is only now, 27 years of age, that I finally think I understand what this phrase means.

After working for a number of years, I suddenly realised that I was actually running the rat race! I was working hard at my job, looking for my next promotion, next pay raise. I was also constantly comparing myself with others and checking out what cars they were driving, where they were living, what sort of restaurants they go to, etc , etc.

All these resulted in me neglecting other aspects of my life - spiritual, social, emotional.

Getting Out of the Rat Race

At the turn of 2008, while I was doing my own personal reflection, I realised that I had hardly grown as a person be it in terms of character, knowledge, etc. Yes I did grow but I would not say that the growth was great. Again I compared myself to my peers and saw how some have actually leap frogged past me in terms of qualifications, knowledge in specialised fields, promotions, pay, etc.

I also noticed one thing. I looked at my bosses' lives and did not admire what they were going through. Little family time, weekends spent doing work and going through reports, lots of pressure from the bigger bosses above... I asked myself: " Do I really want to be like them?" The answer was a simple "NO."

It was then that I decided that I needed to get out of this rat race - badly. This rat race was consuming my life. As Lily Tomlin puts it: "The trouble with the rat race is even if you win it, you're still a rat."

I stopped listening to my bosses' "encouragement" to take on more responsibilities so that I could get my next promotion, pay raise, bonus, etc, etc. I told myself that I would no longer run a race that was so meaningless. I would instead run a race that I set out for myself. A race that at my dying bed, I would know was worthwhile for my family, friends, loved ones and myself. Simply, a live that was well-lived and worth living. All things I placed in the context of that final day when I lie at my death bed and ask myself: "Was it worth it?".

A lot of things are simply not worth it. Working long hours and missing dinner with loved ones. Working over the weekends. Getting so tired that I had no time to spend with friends.

For those of you who know, one of the race that I have set for myself is to achieve financial freedom (i.e. earning more in passive income than my expenditures). My spendings and investments have also taken a turn as I now see everything in terms of what will increase my passive income and what I can do to decrease my monthly expenditure.

This blog chronicles my journey. I have journeyed for 1 long year already. Everyday, I am getting closer to my goal. I have also learnt tremendously from fellow forummers and bloggers.

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey. The race is still on and I challenge you to take part in this race too.. the financial freedom race.


  1. i am also 27year old and my net worth is about 10% of yours. I will work(invest) hard to get out of the rat race too. Gambatte!

  2. No worries reader. In case you might be mistaken, this networth is my family's networth (including my wife). So it is not alot actually. The thing I guess is not to compare but to set a goal that you are comfortable and contented with.

  3. I am 37, spending 12 years running the rat race. I have stopped looking forward for promotion and am happy to go home on time to spend my time with my family.Now I looked upon my wife who is enjoying doing everyday ie her job. I felt that to achieve freedom is not just earning passive incomes but to free yourselve from debts then you'll have e courage to do whatever you enjoy doing. Good luck!

  4. Well said. Clearing up of debts is indeed an important component that I forgot to speak about.

  5. I totally agreed with everything you memtion about the rat race. I had been caught in the rat race for many years and I can never see the finishing line. We, humans, can never be satisfied and contended with what we have. The more $$$ we have, the more $$$ we spend and more debts.
    My passive income is only a fraction of yours, think I must keep the hard work building up my passive income. I enjoyed reading your post as it keeps me motivated to move and build up my passive income and towards financial freedom!!!

  6. Thanks Rolex for dropping by.

    What you said is indeed true! The more $$ we earn, the more we spend. Think about it..if we were able to keep our spending constant while increasing our income CONSTANTLY...what results we can achieve.

    But of course that is very difficult because we will have to deny ourselves the fruits of our labors (e.g. a good meal, a nice house, a nicer car) which we always think we deserve.

  7. Hehe...very good wakeup call. :) I'm 29 and also keep reminding myself not to get sucked into the rat race that so many of us unknowingly become a part of. At the end of the day, i guess its most important to be happy with what you have and live within your means.

    Of cos, it doesn't hurt to increase our means of living and extend the boundary of the comfort zone. :)

  8. Yes, it is so easy to be sucked into the rat race. Always remember never to become a RAT =)


Popular Posts