Escape the Rat Race: The Ultimate Guide on How to Start Living a Free Life

escape the rat race - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

2 years ago I was clocking into an office job every day, making a wage that was hardly impressive and was chronically depressed.

Like most people, I didn't like coming into work. One day as I tried to push myself out of my car door after I had parked at my office, I asked myself, "If you're so unhappy, why are you here? You could literally put the keys back in your car's ignition and drive away right now. The keys are in your hand. Do it."

I didn't though.

I had convinced myself that this was the way things were done. You go to college, you get a job, you push yourself out of your car every morning and repeat the process. I told myself that for years until one week I went on vacation, came back and on a whim, put in my notice that I was leaving.

Getting to that point had been a process I had passively prepared for but something I thought I'd never be able to pull the trigger on. But out of nowhere, I was fed up and did.

With that, I took my first step towards an "escape the rat race" lifestyle without knowing whether or not it would work out for me. That leap paid off and today I work for myself, I'm happier, more affluent and freer than I ever imagined an adult could be.

If you want that for yourself, I'm here to tell you that you can escape the rat race too. Below, I'll break down what the rat race means, how to get away from it and will also explain why it's okay if you choose to stay in it.

What is The Rat Race?

When people say, "escape the rat race" they're typically talking about escaping the 9 am to 5 pm grind of working a soul crushing job. Work is a big part of the rat race. Perhaps even the biggest part.

For me though, the rat race is so much more than where you work. It's a term that's symbolic of every conventional thing you've been told regarding how to live your life. It's:

  • Getting a college degree
  • Clocking into a 9 am to 5 pm desk job every day
  • Chasing financial stability as opposed to your dreams
  • Finding romantic partners who grew up within 10 miles of your childhood home
  • Getting married before you're 30
  • Having kids before you're 35
  • Buying a condo or a house as soon as possible
  • Not having any friends who don't buy into your belief systems
  • Having goals that are purely based on things like upgrading your home, your car, your phone, etc.
  • Traveling to tourist-friendly places twice a year for a combined total of 10 days per your job's vacation allotment...

(This list could go on forever.)

If the conventional nature of the life I've laid out above makes you feel uncomfortable, I have news for you: You have the power to ditch any or all of those things and still live a fantastic life. So then...

How Do You Escape The Rat Race?

Knowing that the rat race doesn't appeal to you is easy. Escaping it is a lot harder.

There is pressure coming from your family/friends/partner to buy into "the system". There are financial pressures. There's fear which pull you away from the road less traveled and towards what's easiest.

The best advice that I have for you is to not let all of those pressures overwhelm you. Take your transition out of the rat race step-by-step and ignore the negative noise. Here are the steps I followed to put myself in a position to escape the rate race.

Step One: Ask Yourself What You Want?

You never want to move away from something without any idea of what direction you should be moving towards. So, what is it you want? And I'm not talking about that "reasonable" thing you think you want like another equally depressing job that pays a little more. I'm talking about, if there was no one around to judge you and you weren't allowed to judge yourself, what does your perfect life look like?

Do you want to be a blogger?

Do you want to be a big shot investor?

Do you want to be a housewife/househusband?

Every single one of those things is possible and 100% okay! Seriously, anybody who tells you that your aspirations aren't worth aspiring to isn't worth your time.

Be honest with yourself, figure out what it is that you want your life to look like in a few years, write it down and then move onto the next step.

Step Two: How Can You Start Moving Towards What You Want?

Now that you know the life you want to work towards when you escape the rat race, it's time to take a few moments and think about the steps you'll need to take to get there. For example, if you want to be a blogger, I can tell you that you need 1a subject to write about, 2an awesome website, 3lots of time to batch out content, 4patience as you market the crap out of your blog so you can build your audience and 5a monetization strategy (a plan on how to make money).

What does it take to do what you  want? What "action steps" can you start writing down so you'll have a blueprint to follow to move towards your goals?

If you don't know, don't worry. Most people don't.

Start your quest to find action steps by asking Google! With a little research, you'll find online resources, you'll get turned onto courses, you'll discover books and other things that will tell you everything you need to know.

This process can be a little daunting and time consuming. I promise you though that, if you allocate time to putting together a sound step-by-step plan on how to achieve your goals, your odds of meeting them will skyrocket!

Step Three: What's my Timeline?

You know what you want, you have an idea of the action steps you need to take to get there... Now it's time to understand roughly how long it's going to take you to get to where you want to go.

To give myself a baseline to judge my progress against, back when I was still working a 9 to 5 job, I would build two "goal timelines". One would be a timeline that told me how long it would take me to do something if I kept working my day job. The other would tell me how long my goals would take if I quit and solely focused on my goals.

To give you an example, here's an infographic that estimates the timeline around becoming a blogger. Estimates are built on my personal work-ethic, action steps and situation so yours would probably look a little different.

How to escape the rate race blogger example - F*ckity bye - funny travel blog

Most of you would prefer to achieve your dreams faster than slower, right? That means, in a perfect world, you'd be able to ditch your job and opt for the fast-track timeline.

Is it financially feasible for you to do that? If it is, I recommend that you do.

There's something about the desperation of not having a money safety net that makes people follow through on what they want out of life. You'll find that if you try pursuing your dreams of leaving the rat race on the side while you're working full-time, you'll come up with a lot of excuses to procrastinate your goals and run a high risk of them never coming to fruition.

If you'd like to focus on your goals 100% but don't have the money to leave your job, estimate how much money you'd need to take a year or a half year off. Save up the money and once you have it, quit your job and start doubling down on your dreams!

What's Stopping You From Taking Steps Towards Your Dream Life Right Now?

If you've read up to this point and spent some time thinking about each of the steps I've presented, you have everything you need to escape the rat race and live the life of your dreams. What's your excuse for not using the time you have right now to start putting things in motion?

Is it fear of change? Sure, change is scary. In almost all cases though, once you've undergone change, your life will be 100 times better for it.

Is it laziness? It's biologically natural to not want to do work that's "not required" of you even if that extra work will eventually take you to the places you want to go in life. Hell, I'd rather be playing video games right now instead of writing a 2000 word blog post on how to escape the rat race. The truth is though, if you do what everybody else is doing (only what's required) you're going to get what everybody else gets (predictable life, average wages, declining levels of happiness).

In order to do something special and achieve your ambitions, you need to go beyond the call of duty. Don't give your spare time away to things that will mean nothing in the larger scheme of your life. Unplug yourself from convention and start investing your time in your future.

Take what you've learned here and use it to empower yourself to be the person that doesn't force themselves out of their car into a life they don't like every morning. Be the person who sticks their keys back in the ignition and drives away.

Wrapping Up How to Escape the Rat Race

A lot of people love to complain about how much they hate their conventional life but almost none of them do anything about it. If you wanted to, right now, you could define your dream life, figure out what it's going to take to get there, create a timeline and start working towards it.

But maybe you like your conventional life and don't want to escape the rat race? (If you're reading this article, I doubt it - but hey - who knows?)

Bottom line... Always chase happiness.

If living a predictable, conventional life make you happy, then be the most conventional person on the face of the planet. If you want more from your life though and you want it now because you feel that flame of passion and hope dying in you, don't waste another moment. Follow my advice above and feel free to drop me a comment in the box below if you need any guidance as you take strides towards your dreams.

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