Choosing not to be a part of the rat race

Choosing not  to be a part  of the rat race

The question that lingers on everyone’s mind is what next? Most of the time, a lot of time, mental peace and energy are wasted in deciding what is to be done next.

Let us ponder over this story: a rat was singled out from the perpetually ongoing rat race, and interviewed. What follows is a brief excerpt from the interview:

Interviewer (I): Hello, What are you doing?
Rat (R): Can’t you see, I am running. (Obviously annoyed at being stopped)
I: Why are you running?
R: Because everyone else is running.
I: Why is everyone else running?
R: I don’t know (showing some more
irritation)
I: At least tell us, where are you going?
R: Where everyone else is going!
I: Okay. So where is everyone else going to?
R: I don’t know (showing some more
irritation). Please let me go as I have
already started lagging behind the race...
I: Sure, go ahead. Good Luck!
And the rat happily goes back and joins the race.
The real meaning
Here, the interviewer can be interpreted as one’s logical mind and the rat as someone performing actions without any set goals. The most important lesson to be ;learnt here is that it is very important to define some goals. Once you have the end in sight, it becomes very easy to pave  a path to achieve the same. And when I say define goals, I mean anticipate:

 the consequences,
the problems that could arise,
the means to overcome it,
planning for taking such measures,
expenditure in terms of money, time, obligation, human resource etc.

The goal can’t arise in the mind off hand or from nowhere. There must be a firm footing to decide upon a goal. As Dr A P J Abdul Kalam says, “You have to dream before your dreams can come true,” one must dream so much such that a passion develops. The passion reveals a number of ways to fulfill the dream. The goal can be set only after meticulous planning about ones capability and resources in hand. Keep thinking about the goal. Then the routes unfold in both conscious and subconscious strata. Once there is clarity about ‘why’ (purpose) and ‘what’ (advantages) of the goal, the ‘how’ takes care of itself.

Next step is how to go about the things to reach the set goal. Remember this :0

doing = will power = action
wanting = desire = thought

Clearly, a thought is a pre-cursor to any action, although it may be very difficult to distinguish the two in any situation. So, a thought arises in the mind, and by will-power, one does the action. If there are multiple goals, one needs to prioritise things in terms of demand, necessity and interest. All the three are inter-related, one derived from the other. Also, few goals may be demanding but not interesting. So choose your pick.

The three rules

Goals should be setup at an early age. The following illustration throws light on why. Once the Kannada poet G P Rajaratnam analysed the following write- up put up in an auto rickshaw: “Start early, drive slowly, and reach safely.”

Start early – If we decide on something  at an early age, we have ample time to strategically plan our move. Sometimes, it may be necessary to take a U-turn and come back to the starting place or parallel road and start the journey all over again afresh. But as long as it serves the purpose, don’t worry about this. Another advantage about starting early is time management. You can save so much of your precious time when you get an early start.

Drive slowly – One should weigh the situation cautiously and only then make a move so that the obstacles and errors are avoided. Remember ‘haste makes waste.’ So, take your time and do due diligence for every decision. 

Reach safely – If you have followed the first two instructions properly, then you are guaranteed to reach your destination successfully, having realised all your goals.

So, take a breather and choose not to be a part of the rat race, blindly doing what others do. Set a pace for your life depending upon your interests and capabilities, work towards it and win the real race. Slow and steady always wins the race.

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