The relationship between you and your life strikingly resembles the one between a hamster and its wheel. No matter how hard you try, you won’t move ahead. It only gets more exhausting.
You can’t win this race, you know that by now but you can’t stop either. This would destroy the illusion. You have kept it alive for too long to just let go. In a way, it gives you comfort, the rattling of the wheel, the even pace, the continuity.
You did improve though. You are enduring the situation much better now since you have come to terms with it.
Somewhere along the way you left your dreams, goals, and life-changing ideas behind. You wanted to get back to them later, but you forgot about them “along the way”. You even forgot that it was you who stepped into the wheel yourself.
Now you are too busy with getting nowhere fast, not seeing your dreams that are stuffed away somewhere.
Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes.
And all of a sudden it is there, the last day you walk the wheel. Either it will break down or you will be too tired and have to step off.
As you turn around you are stabbed straight through the heart:
Your ideas, goals, and dreams, all dust-covered in the corner!
How could I forget? What could have been more important? What did I do all these years?
But that’s is not all.
The biggest regret in your life is yet to come. Sit down if you have to because this is not for the faint of heart.
Someone is walking out of the shadows towards you. While you are standing between your unfulfilled dreams your eyes go wide as you recognize who it is:
The person you could have become.
As your eyes meet in silence your eyes fill with tears and you ask:
-I didn’t have a choice, did I?
The person you could have become looks back to you with a sad smile:
You always had a choice, and you made use of it. Every single day. That is what the hamster wheel all is all about: Making the same choices over and over again.
The question is not what you could have done more, but what you could have done differently.
Let me show you.
9 Signs You Dismiss Your Dreams For A Life In The Hamster Wheel
1) You hit the snooze button
“When you hit the snooze button repeatedly, you’re doing two negative things to yourself. First, you’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality. Second, you’re starting to put yourself through a new sleep cycle that you aren’t giving yourself enough time to finish. This can result in persistent grogginess throughout the day.”
— Robert S. Rosenberg
The above quote is from the book The Miracle Morning — The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM)[affiliate link] by Hal Elrod which I can highly recommend.
I have been snoozing extensively throughout my life. In this book I learned how I can use my morning, every morning, to tap into my full potential before the day even starts. Although I have been a snooze-aholic myself, the 5-Step Snooze-Proof Wake Up Strategy provided in the book actually works. I haven’t missed a single day since I started and made 5 AM the new normal.
The last time I remember being that excited was as a 6-year-old before watching The Bugs Bunny Show first thing in the morning.
Every day is a new beginning of your life, and being able to wake up to it is one of the greatest gifts that is given to you. How do you worship it by hitting the snooze button?
It may sound trivial but this tiny action has a more profound impact on your life than you can imagine. If your very first action is an act of resistance, then this resistance will prevail on a subconscious level throughout the day.
What is your approach to life if you cannot greet it with joy? Why do you even wake up each day? Because you have to or because you choose to?
Your entire life happens always TODAY and every day starts with waking up. A day in five or ten years from now starts with you getting or not getting out of bed.
Do you want to continue to snooze your way straight into the hamster wheel or do you want to get up with INTENT and have a look at those dusty dreams of yours?
This is your life and your choice!
2) You go forwards in reverse mode
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
Going through life in reverse mode means that you constantly focus on the past in order to get ahead. Rather than taking life head-on, you review past situations and the choices you did back then.
This way you automatically project your past into the future.
Let me clarify:
Imagine sitting in a car and trying to decide whether to turn left or right. It depends where you want to go right? But just like most people, you don’t know where to go or what your path is. So you look into the rear mirror to find out what you did last time.
You may turn left just because you turned left the last time or you might go right just because you did that already three times before. Guess what? You either end up running in circles or get completely lost.
Of course, it is important to base some of your decisions on past experiences. It is done in engineering all the time. Whenever something breaks the cause is determined and mitigated as best as possible to minimize the risk of the same failure occurring again.
The secret is to do what works and to avoid what doesn’t work. How do you know what works or not?
The first step is to look for people who are the best in their field who can give you the best advice.
Here are two examples:
Don’t ask the (even successful) employee how to start your business and don’t seek advice on how to turn your life around from someone who never did.
The second step is to get into action and to leave the past behind. Learn from it but don’t attach to it.
Otherwise, you will get what you always got because you keep doing what you always did.
With the big picture in mind, this is a choice you can always make, one turn at a time.
3) You hope that politicians will solve your problems
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
— Groucho Marx
You have been waiting your entire life for politicians or someone else to solve your problems. How often do you think this ever happened throughout human history?
Is a politician (or anyone or else for that matter) really responsible for your inner fulfillment and happiness?
You see my point, right?
Can you really expect of any politician to prioritize his interests over yours? Can you even blame him for not doing so?
And still, you keep watching the news every day, soak in all the negativity that one way or another has to find its way into your life.
Not only will you feel unable to change anything for yourself, but you deliberately waste your precious time with even more toxic thinking. This is draining and drowning at the same time!
And yet nobody is forcing you to do that. Nobody is forcing you to “stay up to date”. Nobody has experienced enchanting side effects of constant negative input.
Don’t get me wrong, I know how you feel.
I spent time reading the news going to work, during work, and after work (and even on the weekends). Not because I wanted to but because I had nothing better to do.
The only time politicians helped to solve my problems was after I stopped listening to what they say. And I wish I would have realized that years ago.
In this case, I stick with the Chinese and their proverbs:
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
So get the shovel ready…
4) You prefer doing what is easy
“Do what is easy and your life will be hard. Do what is hard and your life will become easy.”
— Les Brown
Do you know your comfort zone? The problem with comfort zones is that you never know how big they are until you get to the edge (or the edge gets to you). To illustrate what I mean have a look at the sketch I have prepared.
In order to discover what lies beyond CO.Z.Y (comfort zone of yours, I know it’s a crappy acronym), you need to step out of it.
As you do so you will feel uncomfortable first because you leave behind what’s precious to you.
The good news?
Having nothing to lose is where freedom begins. You have to give up short-term pleasure to gain long-term rewards.
You then will realize that you have never actually left your comfort zone, you merely made it bigger. You extended it beyond what you believed was possible.
What most people don’t understand is that comfort zones shrink over time up to a point where you will be forced out of it. But you don’t need to wait for that to happen.
Your efforts to make it bigger will ultimately give you the freedom to experience life to its fullest because you will never be uncomfortable again.
It has always been your choice to define the size of your comfort zone.
5) You see success (or failure) as final
Distrust both success and failure as impostors [because] both are deceptive.
Life is a constant up and down and can be a roller-coaster sometimes. There will always be a change in life, advance and retreat, rising and sinking, growth and decay.
This truth is embodied by the Principle Of Rhythm, which is one of the 7 Universal Principles.
Knowing that the pendulum always swings both sides you should never see anything as final.
When you experience success, be grateful and move on to get better. When you experience failure, be grateful and move on to get better. Once you start moving through the cycles, you will realize that rhythm is actually a spiral because nothing is ever the same.
And as successes and failures keep spiraling faster through your life they will eventually lose their hold on you and be neutralized.
This is when the magic happens.
They not only have become convertible but are also the fuel to unleash your full (and ever-increasing) potential.
Neither success nor failure is final. They are just the beginning (if you let them).
The choice is yours.
6) You keep waiting for tomorrow
“People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all life for happiness.”
With routine comes comfort. With comfort comes lack of urgency. And with a lack of urgency, tomorrow always will be there for you, pulling you forwards.
Just slightly out of reach. But that is okay with you. You stopped caring a long time ago. You even stopped thinking about it altogether.
And as life goes on you see change and call it progress. The difference is not important to you. And yet there is something that will stay the same over time.
There will always be a yesterday. There will always be a today. And there will always be a tomorrow. This is clear to everybody.
But stay with me here because now comes the tricky part.
Most people think that tomorrow will eventually arrive. As obvious as it sounds it is self-evidently wrong.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, tomorrow is defined as on or for the day after today.
So by definition, tomorrow is just another way of saying never.
Forget about tomorrow and stop living in the past. Today is all you have and ever will have.
Today consists of 24 hours or the time between waking up and going to sleep. This is all the time you can rely on and make use of.
The good news:
It is all you need.
Today is the day and if you learn to master it (every single time) you will master your life as well. One day at a time, because…
How you do one thing, is how you do everything.
7) You think you have no luck in life
“Your level of success will seldom exceed your personal development.” — Jim Rohn
Success comes with personal development (as within, so without). If you are truly honest with yourself, you couldn’t handle a much different life from the one you are living right now.
A different life would not reflect who you are at the moment.
People like to dream about living a better life but rarely think about the person they would have to become to live that life.
Many people believe that luck is necessary to be successful and that it will magically arrive someday. And while they keep slaving away in the wheel every day, they are waiting and hoping for better times to come.
Here is the truth:
Luck doesn’t happen just to some people and others not. In fact, there is no such thing as luck, there is only cause and effect. And only you can be the cause for certain things to happen in your life.
Get better in ONE area of your life and all others will improve as well. Get better in ALL areas and you will go beyond your wildest imagination. Once you gain momentum, nothing can stop you from becoming the BEST version of yourself.
The power lies within. Whatever area in your life lacks success is the area you need to become a better version of yourself.
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” — Jim Rohn
8) You see life as a fight against others
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Pablo Picasso
The nature of any fight is that it creates an equal amount of resistance (that’s another Universal Principle)
So why is it then that you go through life with a dog-eat-dog mindset? Why do you face so much opposition all the time?
Although it is clear that you have to help yourself first before anything else, it is not said that you should never give anything back.
Some of the most talented people never get credit for their extraordinary work because they are unwilling to share it with others. They think they lose their competitive advantage or become obsolete if they do.
They have never understood the importance of giving back. Inevitably, this makes life much harder. Understand that unless you open doors for others, no doors will be opened for you.
Here are some examples:
- The best way to learn is by teaching others.
- The best way to make money is by creating value for others.
- The best way to get anything in life is by giving it to others first. It can be no other way.
Before you can receive you have to learn to give.
Once you stop comparing yourself to other people you will make an interesting discovery. For the first time, you will notice that the people around you are trapped in their own unique hamster wheel as well.
And all of a sudden you can relate to how they feel. You know their problems and you start thinking about how you could help them. Nobody has your story, your knowledge, or experience.
This is the way out of your hamster wheel for you AND for them.
The choice, you guessed it, is yours.
“Life isn’t about getting and having, it‘s about giving and being.” — Kevin Kruse
9) You are concerned with being normal
“Comparison with myself brings improvement, comparison with others brings discontent.” ―Betty Jamie Chung
In an achievement-oriented society, how can it be that being normal plays such an important role? How can so many people try to be and not be normal at the same time?
And how is it that up to now, nobody could even tell me what it means to be normal?
At a first glance, being normal seems to be an unspoken social consent of the ideal average.
At a second glance, it simply refers to the people who chose the way of least resistance in their lives, which, unfortunately, happens to be the majority.
And here is the thing…
If you are normal you love to compare yourself to others.
Hierarchical levels are all over the place such as your financial status, fame and influence, social image, number of friends, body weight, fitness level, and the way you dress etc.
Always with the aim to look or feel better (and tell others about it). It is the only way you can fulfill your human core desire of feeling important.
If the object of comparison is beyond what’s reasonable it is classified as not normal.
This is nothing but a form of self-protection to keep all those sophisticated excuses of a false self-image neatly in place. Because it must not be, what cannot be.
Abnormal (speak: extraordinary successful) people not only stand outside of the crowd they are also incomparable. They are just off the charts. They keep going no matter how much money they have or how successful they are or what other people think of them. Nothing of this makes no sense to normal people.
The surprising truth is normal and “not so normal” people are very much alike. The only difference is how they use comparison in their lives.
Successful people have understood that there is no point to be concerned with anything except their own performance.
They have taken responsibility for their lives and for where they stand. They have no interest in being or looking perfect, all they care about is to be authentic. They know that the only way to get there is to become the best version of themselves.
So, if being normal represents the majority of people, let’s start to change majorities, one individual at a time.
It is your choice to be extraordinary and make it the new normal.
In a world full of wonderful individuals everybody is extra-ordinary. Start refining the very essence of what makes you unique and give rise to your true authentic self.
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” — Coco Chanel
…you wake up and wonder what a nightmare you just had.
The hamster wheel, your dust-covered dreams in the corner, and the reasons why you never reached them. And of course the regret you felt meeting the person you could have become only after it was too late.
Fortunately, it was just a dream.
As the image of the dream fades away you get ready for the day and you hope that this time, you woke up for good…