We hear about the rat race every day. Some claim to love it (I sometimes wonder about that one), others hate it.
“We are living in challenging times”. That can also be a statement that can be taken in more than one way.
For those of us who love challenges, it can be exciting. Everything happens at an incredibly fast pace. No wonder we also live in the age what they call “instant gratification age”. We do not have the patience to wait for what we want. We want it and we want it now.
Technology has developed to the extent that we are now talking about the global economy. We travel at speeds that make it possible to visit one country today, and be in another country on the other side of the globe tomorrow.
But then there is the other side of this life style…. How many of us are already feeling the effect of high levels of stress and exhaustion? We long for just one day of some peace and quiet. Yet, you can’t ever afford to relax, because you never know what the competition would be up to. You always have to be ‘on top of your game’.
Take It Slow.
Taking it easy is out of the question….or is it?
There are of course areas where it seems like time is almost standing still. But to enjoy this kind of atmosphere you have to head out to the country side.
Many third world countries are not part of the “rat race” either. But reality is that you will have to do without many of the luxuries too. Some of these places have no internet connectivity either. If they do, it is very slow.
Many people has become so “anti-rat-race” that they gladly give up many of their luxuries and comfort in exchange for a life at a much slower pace.
We get caught up in ‘Busyness’.
The majority of people modern people are caught up in their own ‘busyness’. The busier you can be the better. One of the most frequent responses I hear from people when asking about their well-being is; “Wow, I’m so busy, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. There are just not enough hours in the day.” It almost sounds like it’s an achievement.
I fell into the same trap myself. At first you don’t even realize it. Eventually I was tired constantly. I started becoming moody and irritable for no reason. It only started dawning on me one day when I was in town with my wife.
Going to town is not one of my favorite pass time activities to begin with. But suddenly I realized; we were rushing from one destination to the next. I stopped and asked my wife, “Hey, where are we rushing too?”
She obviously couldn’t answer me – it was over the weekend and we had no particular commitments to attend too. Do you know what effort it took to slow down?
Shortly after that I started listening to myself while in a conversation with someone else. Oh dear, we were both going on about how busy we were. I started wondering how on earth we could afford to stand talking to one another if we both were so busy.
It got me thinking: If you are so busy, you must be extremely productive. Yet I was not nearly as productive as I would like to be (thinking about how busy I was). Well, that means I’m also not fully in control of things happening in my life. Am I wasting time on non-productive activities? No wonder my stress levels were going through the roof.
I realized there and then that I need to take a serious look on what I’m spending my time on.
Set Your Own Pace.
For many of us it’s not always possible to just pack up and go somewhere quiet. It’s not so easy to escape the rat race and go somewhere where we can find peace and tranquility for a few days.
The answer lies within you. You don’t have to remove yourself from society to enjoy peace and calm. It starts with a decision.
“Yes, but you don’t understand how busy I am. I’ve got so much to do, so much responsibilities”, you say. Here we go again….listen to how busy you are…lol.
We need to start prioritizing. What is really imperative? What has to get done today? Secondly, what is important? It needs to get done, but it can be done later…maybe tomorrow…or even next week. Thirdly, what would you like to do, but it’s not really all that important.
Work out a schedule and take control of your time. Don’t book activities back-to-back, especially not if it involves other people or meetings at different venues. One delay and you whole day turns to chaos.
Stick to your schedule, learn to say “no” and stop trying to please everybody. There is no reason to be rude to anybody though. Make peace with the idea that you only have twenty four hours in the day. You are human and there is only one of you. You can only do so much and nothing more in one day.
What Is The Worst That Can Happen?
When you feel the pressure mounting up and you feel you just can’t keep up, ask yourself this question; “What is the worst that can happen?” You will probably find that 99.9% of the time, life will carry on as normal. Nobody will get hurt in the process.
I’m not saying you should become irresponsible or develop a ‘no-care’ attitude. But be realistic. Do your best. Complete your tasks as fast as possible, but never sacrifice your calmness and peace.
Finally take control of what you can control and let go of the uncontrollable.
Still think you can’t do it? Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV) says; “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”.
Even if you find yourself in the center of the biggest city, right in the middle of the rat race, don’t allow it to take its toll on you. Take control. Create your own space. Be anxious for nothing, present your requests to God and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.
Over to You.
How does the fast pace of living affect you? Can you keep your cool in the midst of it all?
What do you feel is creating unnecessary stress in your life? Tell us about it and what would you like to do about it?