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Outpace the Rat Race
By - Shiv M Kumar
Human race is in rat race!
Is your new year resolve to overcome this state of life? Here is an insight.
A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless effort. Simply refer to the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. Corporate rat race is no different!
It is a result of 3 factors,
To fear 'negative consequences' (whip) - if I don't achieve results, I will be out of my job; and how will I pay my bills?
And to live expecting 'good outcomes' (carrot)–by doing well, I will get promotion & rewards; I will be respected in my circle!
And keep doing it in a time bound fashion, time and again, in circles.
Whip makes us to wake up every morning, and the carrot makes us to jump into the car and go to office. And there begins the rat race.
The vicious circle of rat race urges one to finish in time. This time limit varies from seconds to decades and the race continues...
Finish this job by today EOD (end of day)
Monthly salary to pay bills (for e.g., buys the car to go to work, and goes to work to pay for the car!)
Yearly appraisal to get hikes
20 year loan to get that dream home
Retirement plan to take care of after 60 years
In a limited 'time' you have to sow, grow and reap to survive over 'time'. And to continue the same again in circles! At the very end, if one turns back and looks at one's own life, it looks hollow.
Do you want to feel victimized? Or you want to win over the rat race?
Here are some ways to escape the rat race.
To begin let us demystify this myth that 'becoming an entrepreneur' will break you out of rat race. In fact, it intensifies.
3 stages of time syndrome: The solution is in some key realizations. 'Time' is not to be chased. It is something to be lived. Winning over this chase of time is possible. Here is how you, I and everyone can do it.
The 'Time Syndrome' that locks us into a rat race, can liberate from it too.
The 'time syndrome' is dealt in 3 stages, as shown in the chart :
1. Rat race stage: Chase in circles and get tired
2. Fighter stage: Win at times and lose at times, but don't give up
3. Principled stage (Eagle): Fly beyond time
Stage 1: Rat Race 95%+ of human race is in this stage. They keep running 'behind time'. Never have the mind-set to challenge it. This mind-set is developed thanks to the perceived time limitations that are taught by natural and by man-made references.
Natural references: Morning to evening is time bound. Hunger reminds of a time. These are some of the natural references that have set the basis for this mind-set.
Man created references: Man-hour, work week, project schedule, biweekly wages, quarter-ends are some examples that are man-made.
The chart shows people at this stage, whether the traditional rats or the modern tech geeks - are bound into the walls of perceived time limitations. They run inside these perceived walls of time. To make it worse on top of each other.
This is not only restricted to individual people or teams. Turn around and see many businesses start and end as small businesses, as they don't have time to think, prepare and expand. Millions of businesses and billions of people are in this stage.
Stage 2: Fighter Stage Here is when people start asking 'why?'
Why should I be bound by time? Birthdeath is time bound, but isn't that a long enough period to slog it up to top? Let me sell Rolex for a living.
They live. Give a good fight. Sometimes win and at times lose. Struggle is a word that can explain this stage.
Have you recently met with any CEO who says how it feels like to get stuck at a 100 million dollar business and struggling to grow year on year. Some years boost up at a 50% growth and the next year a mighty fall of 40%. Same is the case of executives in corporate ladder hit by a glassceiling.
Reasons why they are stuck?
They chase time and chocked to their brim (25th hour will be good).
They chase to show a % growth quarter on quarter to keep the stocks alive.
They enjoy the game of winning and losing alternatively. Over time they start believing that struggling is a good thing. In fact, they miss it badly and correlate that if there is 'no struggle' then there is 'no growth'!
Some brilliant ideas put to action, but hindered by short-term challenges. This causes the ups and downs.
Consultants who spend time with struggling CEOs or growing corporate executives will not fail to watch these self-limiting behavior. The chart represents high-jump as the way of life. They jump. Jump against time. Jump again. Rejoice on a just in time finish. Sulk when overrun by time. Struggle again.
Watch around to see tens of thousands of businesses and millions of people languishing at this stage.
Stage 3: Principled Stage (Eagle) Here is when people start asking 'Why not?'
Why not I leave time behind? Birth-death is a cycle. We don't keep count on how many generations our family has lived and how many more generations to continue. Not seeing end anywhere. There are business organizations that are running for centuries together that are created by men and women. Can I build the real time machine as the Rolex-next?
They fly. Like a mighty eagle. Principled. They think 'ahead of time'. They lay paths and create way of life. They enjoy the journey and see the abundant bounty of everything around.
Making big waves in the market, while enjoying quality time. They rule the markets not by luck. They sit back and enjoy the ride to victory. This applies to successful individuals and working professionals as well.
2 reasons why they relax yet win?
They do things ahead of time. No chasing.
They sit back and focus on what is important.
Good part is while their business soars, the stocks follow suit (not the reverse). Growth in corporate ladder is a result, and not a goal, for these executives.
One may ask “how can I think ahead, when the organization is not?” The simple answer is to think ahead in the areas that are in one's control.
One can quickly recall the few hundred businesses and few thousands of people world-wide belonging to this stage.
Like it? Go for simple baby steps:
Print the chart and keep it framed in front of you.
Spot where you or your organization is in the chart.
For every job/objective in front of you – ask these few questions: Is this as per the plan? - If yes, is it important? - If yes, is this to be completed in next 10 periods (years/quarters/weeks)? - If yes. Can I do it now? - Rest 9 periods, think what will take it to next level? – Got the next big thing to do? Do it ahead of time.
Take time to sit back and think!
Plan it ahead of time.
Equip yourself for excellence in what you do.
Don't race along. Do it ahead of time. Yes, outpace the rat race.