Being able to say a permanent goodbye to the evil that is the 9 to 5 grind (more like the 8 to 6 and that’s without travel times) is often seen by most people as the equivalent of the prince and princess living happily ever after. In other words an unrealistic fairy-tale.
Well. Like a modern-day Brother Grimm I am here to tell you that some fairy-tales are surprisingly real.
Apart from dramatically increasing your chances of survival in the event that 2012 truly does result in a zombie-apocalypse, working on your own terms allows you the freedom to explore those aspects of your soul that would make you into quite a different person from the one you may think you are.
It’s surprising how much leaving the rat-race behind has to do with changing you from the lazy, grumpy, I-hate-Mondays, work-dodger most employees would be described as being by their co-workers, into a hard-working, dependable, happy, power for good type of person. Or maybe not so surprising at all. Slaves are generally not too happy after all. Even if they get pension schemes and 2 weeks paid leave a year.
How to do it then, is the cry that the many unwashed masses roar.
Well. The truth is that until you rid yourself of a great deal of the slave-mindset, only a lucky few will be able to rise above the teeming masses. The main thing that holds us back is actually our belief system.
Not the explicit one you (think) you know about and have considered and then consciously chosen mind you, but rather the far more insidious one that you think is part of your identity, which actually made you “rationalise” the “conscious” belief you have duly “considered”. And which was placed there usually early on and usually by either tradition, culture, randomness or as a result of an ancient family meme.
In this brief post then I just want to give you a practical and summarised 3 step plan that also has multiple real-life examples to show you the way. And notice that the rabid dogs of internet marketing are still safely locked away in their cages.
So in a nutshell, this is how you get out of the rat race for good:
1. Get rid of your unhelpful patterns of Behaviour
You can start by familiarising yourself with the whole concept here. Just reading this 3000 word article (about 12 minutes average reading time total) and understanding the concepts in it (which are pretty simple) will put you ahead of 99.9% of humanity in terms of being able to control your own destiny. This is not an exaggeration. There are approximately 7 billion people on the planet. 0.01% of that represents 70 million people, which is a little more than the total population of the UK (just over 61 million). There are only about 10 million millionaires in the world, which we could assume for the purposes of this exercise to be considered more “successful” than the rest of humanity purely because generally on this planet more money means more freedom. Of course, I personally know several multi-millionaires and at least a couple of multi-billionaires, and trust me people. These are not the most successful humans on the planet by how I measure success (degree of happiness – see the first item on my FAQ for details). To allow for other types who may be perfectly content with a lot less money, let’s say that the number of truly happy humans is about 70 million then (I am sad to say that I think this is a pretty optimistic figure). A lot of those lucky people unfortunately are not happy by design. But rather by luck. And that is just not good enough if we’re going to get really serious about becoming truly happy is it?
Given a choice, which would you rather rely on:
- The random roll of the dice that puts you genetically, and –much more importantly– environmentally in just the exact conditions for you to be born in the exact right place that you form those patterns of behaviour that lead to real lasting joy?
- The reality of being born in imperfect conditions but with available to you the tools and knowledge to begin scientifically and with certainty to be able to shape yourself into exactly the kind of life you were destined for in order to be truly happy?
Given the stakes, it makes more sense to chose the second option I think. And the real key to that part of it begins with understanding how your mind-brain works. Most human beings on Earth actually have no proven model that reliably produces positive results on this. So by familiarising yourself with that one 3000 word article, you really are taking the most important of the 3 steps towards increasing your own personal freedom.
2. Get Inspired
This intermediate step is probably the least important of the three overall, but may still be a critical one for some people. Even if freed of the mental shackles we all end up with after spending some time here, many people are then left with the scary thought that now that anything is possible, they have no clue as to what they really want or want to do with themselves.
The short answer to this is, to do that which makes you happy. If travelling is your thing make travelling be your way to support yourself. If having the time to contemplate weather patterns is your thing, make that your work, and so on. But life can be a little more complex than that and for pure inspiration and many great examples too of people leaving the rat race, you can do worse than reading Tim Ferriss’ book the 4 hour work-week.
Tim is a decent writer and has possibly been one of the first to try and discipline the whole idea of getting out of the rat-race into a workable process. He has definitely achieved a lot himself personally and I salute his achievements. If perhaps not the way he achieved them. Personally I do have a little issue with the fact that although he doesn’t really ever lie, he does very cleverly omit certain key information. Nor do I agree with several of his business practices, but as an overall resource of inspiration his book remains a leader in the field and leaders often have to forge the hardest first path, so although you are not really going to get away with only 4 hours of work a week, his methods can at least inspire you to think about life somewhat differently and thus motivate you to produce real results that are far beyond what the average person realises is possible.
3. Put it into Action
In terms of giving you a solid, practical and very detailed account of how to do this, I have actually not found anything better than Chris Guillebeau’s free e-book 279 days to overnight success. Not only is it packed with real practical information you can use right away, but it even gives you a further 3 examples in 3 completely different categories of people who are living life on their own terms and earning their living doing what they love. Even more amazing, Chris’s book is small (a mere 79 easy-read format pages) simple to read and does not have any “filler” material. Every page is packed with usable content. If this book were an energy bar, they would use it when sending astronauts to Mars.
So there you have it. The 3 basic steps complete with usable information for each one.
I hope it helps to break you out from your personal gerbil-wheel-of-torture!
PS: Did you immediately notice that the rats in the cartoon are always turning right and therefore running in a circle?
If yes…good on you. If not…think of this as a tiny, much nicer and much easier to spot example of how our own ingrained , insidious and unhelpful behavioural patterns hide in plain sight.
PPS: And did you notice the smog and factories outside the box the rats run around in is increasing in each panel? No?
Maybe read that 3000 word article then.
 The number of millionaires in 2008 had risen by 6% on 2007 to more than 10.1 million people. It only stands to reason these have since been culled a bit by the crash of 2008 and probably also recovered a bit since then to remain around the 10 million mark. These people in 2008 owned total assets of $40.7 trillion, according to the CapGemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report.