Why You Should Step Out Of The Rat-Race And Embrace The Unknown

Why You Should Step Out Of The Rat-Race And Embrace The Unknown

"The trouble with the rat-race is, even if you win, you're still a rat"
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"Timmy's resume has 6,000 hours of volunteering. He's smarter than me"

"You're a theater major, that must be hard-- it's a dead-end with fewer jobs"

"Oh you're a freshman in computer science, you should have more than 4000 lines of code, 3 internships and sleep less than everyone else"

"She's popular because she is prettier than I am."

"I am happier than you."

Life is hard enough without comparing ourselves to other people, and to lose sleep over Timmy's resume is ridiculous. That being said, the rat-race of life will go on forever. People will continue to exhaustively fight for wealth and power, no matter how much they already have. Because that is what we're taught, right? Regardless of how much we have, it's worth nothing if the people around us have more. We could work our hardest, out-do ourselves, and push boundaries that we have never pushed before, but we instantly feel like our accomplishments are trivialized because there's someone else who has done something more. But how effective is this negative reinforcement?

And more importantly, how healthy is it?

I learned what a touchy and sensitive topic this was in today's competitive world when a friend asked me one night what the one thing I learned freshman year was. I genuinely thought of a quantitative list of new things I had learned and responded saying, "As someone who didn't write a line of code before college, I think that learning how to program was a big part of it." He looked at me, handed me a coding challenge, and said: "Oh so you learned to code? Would you be able to solve this now?" I was so taken aback. Not only was my personal accomplishment (no matter how small) trivialized, it was compared to a standard, some sort of imaginary level that I hadn't reached. I feel like all of us at some point need to define success for ourselves, but we need to understand that it is personal, as well as subjective. And as college students, this happens to us all the time. We are constantly questioned about our career choices, surrounded by people who use academic rivalry as a fuel to be better, and more than anything, thrown into a place far far away from our comfort zones. Freshman year college wasn't easy, nor was it easy picking a major I knew NOTHING about, nor was enrolling in a top 5 program for it. But through the course of being dropped in the deep end and being forced to swim, I learned the subtle, fine distinction between "the hustle" and the "rat-race".

Yes, everything in the world is relative, but the difference between the hustle and the rat race is that in the former, you are your own competition, but in the latter, you compare yourself to people around you. I realized that so often, people get the two mixed up and end up aimlessly chasing a goal that ultimately doesn't make them happy. Hence, resembling lab-rats, and hence, taking part in a rat-race, where people are so desperate to get to the finish line, that it is almost a blurry, distorted image of what they perceive success to be.

So I would say that no matter what happens, and how much you're struggling with anything in the world, remember that you are the best version of yourself that you can be. I so often go back to what Theodore Roosevelt said-"Comparison is the thief of all joy", and try to change the way I look at the world. I look around, take a deep breath, and replace all of the toxic, comparative words I hear with separate, unique identities because that is what we all are, and deserve to be.

"Timmy's resume has 6,000 hours of volunteering. He's smart"

"You're a theater major, that must be hard-- it's a dead-end with few jobs"

"Oh you're a freshman in computer science, you should have more than 4000 lines of code, 3 internships and sleep less."

"She's so pretty."

"I am happy."

Cover Image Credit: https://w-dog.net/wallpapers

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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