ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Rat Race Quotes

Updated on September 16, 2011

Most quotes about rat race is rather negative. Take for example ...

"It's not natural; it's not right. We weren't made to be in the rat race. Not even rats were made to be in the rat race."

This quote is by Tal Ben-Shahar on an NPR radio program titled Finding Happiness in a Harvard Classroom. Tal Ben-Shahar teaches Positive Psychology at Havard (which at one time is the most popular course on campus).

In general, Ben-Shahar does not have much good things to say about the rat race. What he has written is that ...

"The rat racer is sustained by the hope that his actions will yield some future benefit, which makes his negative emotions more bearable. However, once he reaches his destination and realizes that material prosperity does not make him happy, there is nothing to sustain him." [p57 of Happier]

and ...

"The mind-set of the rat racer is antithetical to emotional intelligence and thus to a happy and successful life." [p85 of Happier]

and ...

"Because the life of a Perfectionist is an endless rat race, his enjoyment of success is short lived." [p19 of The Pursuit of Perfect]


Nothing Good About Rat Race

Apparently, he is not the only one who sees rat race as a negative. Found in The Happiness Hypothesis, it says ...

"Buddha, Epictetus, and many other sages saw the futility of the rat race and urged people to quit." [p87]

On page 40 of The Joy of Not Working, Ernie Zelinski writes ...

"we often use the term "being in the rat race." It isn't an appropriate term, however, simply because it's demeaning to rats. Rats wouldn't stay in a tunnel without cheese."

Page 21 reveals the advice ..

"Opting out of the rat race and putting more leisure time into your days can lead to a far richer life."

And who are most likely to want to opt out of the rat race? According to 20sMoney.com blog ...

"Generation Y is a generation that loves the topic of escaping the rat race. The stuffy corporate job where we were a minimum of 9-5 in an office building just isn’t an attractive option for today’s up-and-coming work force. No, we prefer flexibility, mobility, a wide range of opportunities, work/life balance, corporate responsibility, etc. Those that take this a step further prefer to escape the rat race altogether."

In the book The Science of Happiness, it says ...

"The rat race -- the chase after recognition for money and status -- doesn't pay." [p 211]

That is because ...

"big ambitions have a more than average likelihood of being accompanied by anxiety and depression." [p211]

Lily Tomlin has this quote which had been seen on T-Shirts ...

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." [reference]

What is the Rat Race

Even Wikipedia which is impartial defines rat race in a somewhat negative light ...

"A rat race is a term used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit. ... The rat race is a term often used to describe work, particularly excessive work; in general terms, if one works too much, one is in the rat race. This terminology contains implications that many people see work as a seemingly endless pursuit with little reward or purpose."

Other definitions include ...

"any exhausting, unremitting, and usually competitive activity or routine, esp. a pressured urban working life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for" leisure, contemplation, etc." [Dictionary.com ]

and ...

"Rat Race is a term used to describe a frustrating, hard-to-break financial lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that is lived by countless people, oblivious to the very nature of it, to a degree that even when called upon, vehemently deny it." [UrbanDictionary.com]


David Foster Wallace speaks of the Rat Race

Author David Foster Wallace said the following as published in the Wall Street Journal Online

"The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the "rat race" -- the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing."

That article was adapted from adapted from a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College. He had said to the graduating seniors that they had no idea what day in and day out really means. Sometimes it "involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration". To explain this type of "rat race" thinking, he gives the example of going grocery shopping after a long 10-hour workday and being hungry. He emphasized the importance of mentally choosing how we think.

Wallace suffered from clinical depression. Three years after giving this speech, Mr. Wallace committed suicide in 2008 at the age of 46.


Alternatives to the Rat Race

If rat race doesn't sound so appealing, what can we do about it. The book Happier (p153) asks that question:

"What can we do, then, to enjoy our lives more despite the fast-paced rat-race environment so many of us live in?"

It answers by saying ...

"We must simplify our lives; we must slow down. The good news is the simplifying our lives, doing less rather than more, does not have to come at the expense of success"

The Wikipedia entry for "rat race" also mentions ...

"The increased image of work as a "rat race" in modern times has led many to question their own attitudes to work and seek a better alternative"

But is there a better alternative to the rat race? Can one make a living without the rat race? Read the article in the link to find out.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)