If you want to get out of the rat race, have a lot less stress, and start living life without limitations, keep reading. I’m going to reveal exactly why you’re stuck in the rat race and give you practical steps for how to get out of it in relatively short order.
The rat race sucks, doesn’t it?
Everyone knows it sucks. Everyone complains about it. But few people ever seem to escape it.
There’s a reason for that…
You’ve been trained to be a rat.
You’ve been trained to stay in your cage, find your wheel, and run and run until you die. It’s as simple as that.
Who trained you?
Well, without going full history class on you, it all started with the 15,000 hour rat training system we call “school.”
That’s where your parents and your parents’ parents learned to be rats. It’s where you learned to be a rat. It’s where your peers all learned to be rats.
Nothing taught in school is helpful for getting out of the rat race. Every single minute of it is designed to steer you toward that fucking wheel.
Thankfully, you have the internet and articles like this to help you wake up and realize that life has so much more to offer you than the rat cage you’ve been stuck in for so long.
So, let’s not waste anymore time. If you’re ready, let’s plan your escape…
Step #1 to Escape the Rat Race: Stop Buying Stupid Shit
The easiest thing you can do to begin your escape from the rat race is to get control of your personal finances and reduce all unnecessary spending.
The degree to which you do this depends on your income. The lower your income is, the more you have to skimp and nickel and dime stuff (but we’ll take care of this issue in a moment).
It’s all about percentages. If you’re a six-figure earner and stuck in the rat race, your “stop buying stupid shit” plan is going to look much different from someone who makes $36,000 a year.
The bottom line is that you’ve gotta do something you might not like the idea of and something you probably haven’t done before:
If you do those two things, you’ll be primed for step two…
Step #2 to Escape the Rat Race: Change Your Relationship With Money
As I mentioned in Six-Figure Grind Podcast #086: Three Things Winners Do With Their Revenue (listen below), rich/successful people have a completely different relationship with money than broke people do.
Broke people love to protect and hoard when faced with opportunities to invest and grow their money but spend frivolously in all other scenarios.
If they make $2000, they pretty much spend $2000.
There’s another kind of “medicore broke” who is very thrifty with money and invests in safe and secure, “traditional” investment vehicles over the long haul. They’re pretty well off, but they’ll never be super successful.
Successful people, on the other hand, make their money make them more money.
In other words, they put their money into growth engines, also known as “income producing assets.” More on that in a moment.
Before you can graduate from Step #2, you have to start seeing money as a tool and something that’s abundant in the world.
You also have to believe 100% that you deserve it and that you can put it to work for you.
Change your money mindset…
Step #3 to Escape the Rat Race: Stop Trading Time for Money
Alright, now that you have your spending in order and you’ve flipped the frown on your money mindset upside down, it’s time to get real about the numbers.
If you’re trading time for money, you have an income ceiling. And unless you’re already super successful, it’s a low income ceiling.
To just make mediocre numbers work, like $60k a year cost of living and a 40% “growth engine” (which we’ll discuss in Step #4), your hourly rate has to be more than $100.
Good luck making that happen in most 9 to 5s.
You simply can’t get ahead trading time for money. There has to be a way for you to control how much your time is worth and provide an avenue to income without being “on the clock.”
For most people, the easiest path to making this happen is to start an online business or an online side hustle.
Being an entrepreneur gives you unlimited income potential. The problem is that being a traditional “brick and mortar” entrepreneur is costly, risky, and provides very little freedom.
Being an online entrepreneur, on the other hand, requires very little capital, very little risk, and creates the ultimate freedom (especially if you build a lifestyle business).
I’ve been shouting from the rooftops that everyone and their mom should be building online businesses. Even if you don’t plan on leaving your current job, you can build an online “side hustle” in your spare time.
Pro Tip: If you want a killer framework for launching your online business the right way, check out my 8-week Freedom Business Boot Camp.
Oh! And this applies to your spending as well. If you know your time needs to be worth $100/hr+ to reach your goals, stop spending time on things you have no business doing, like spending two hours to mow your lawn when you could just pay $50 to get it done (versus 2 hours of your time at $150/hr).
Step #4 to Escape the Rat Race: Make Your Money Make More Money
This is the biggest one.
While schools don’t talk too much about entrepreneurship, most kids at least grow up to know it’s an option.
What most kids NEVER grow up to know is the concept of making your money make more money.
Sure, you’ll hear about “good investment vehicles” but this is almost always focused on super long-term retirement-type stuff and buying a home. Stuff that will NEVER make you rich or help you escape the rat race.
In fact, this bad advice and the absence of great advice pretty much guarantees you’ll be part of the rat race forever.
While Step #3 can potentially get out of the rat race by itself, it’s not always the case. That’s where this step comes in.
The goal here is to make 40% more money than you actually need to live comfortably.
If you achieve that objective, you’ll ensure that:
- Your bills are paid (and you could include those long-term investment vehicles in this if that makes you feel better).
- You have a steady stream of money that you can put at risk to generate more money.
That 2nd item is key. Having 40% extra to put toward an income producing asset is your “for sure” ticket to getting out of the rat race.
Now, unfortunately, you can’t just make 40% more to have 40% more to invest. If you make 40% more, Uncle Sam is gonna take a good chunk of that. Sucks, right?
So you need to figure out how much you need to make to pay your taxes, hit your “standard of living” goal, and have 40% extra beyond that (and as I’m sure you recognize, this is likely impossible with your 9 to 5, so revisit Step #3 to game plan for this).
Once you’re making more than you need for your standard of living goal, start dumping that extra money into income producing assets…
- Your online business (if you want it to grow more)
- Single family rental units
- Multi-family rentals
- Real Estate Investment Trusts
- Other business investments
It’s up to you research income producing assets and decide for yourself where you want to put your money, but none of that is possible if you don’t have the cash so set your goal and rock it!
Step #5 to Escape the Rat Race: Become a Mexican Fisherman
Please understand something: You can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and still be stuck in the rat race.
If your standard of living rises in line with your income because you’re focused on the wrong things (spending on frivolous stuff and not setting the proper investment targets), you’ll never get out.
It’s all about having the right mindset, which is conveyed wonderfully by the parable of the Mexican Fisherman.
It goes like this…
An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.
The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican fisherman how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican fisherman replied, “Only a little while.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican fisherman replied that he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman replied, “I sleep late, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”
The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA and I can help you. You could spend more time fishing and buy a bigger boat with the proceeds. You could buy several boats and eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican fisherman.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”
“Millions, señor? Then what?”
To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
While this might seem like it has to do with your relationship with money (which I already covered), I actually consider this to be more about your relationship with success.
If you keep pushing and pushing and pushing even when you have plenty, you can keep yourself stuck in the rat race. This is how people end up with six figures or even millions yet they’re still running on a treadmill.
And you might say, “Well, they can get out any time they want” but can they? First of all, so many seemingly “rich” people are over-leveraged. Second of all, having no contentment in life prevents you from ever relaxing.
Embracing a Mexican Fisherman type approach helps ensure that you’ll escape the rat race sooner than later.
Do You Believe You Can Get Out of the Rat Race?
Getting out of the rat race starts first by believing you can make it happen and keeping and open mind to the process.
It requires patience, but a sense of urgency as well.
The good news is that there’s nothing difficult standing between you and starting. Scroll back up to Step #1 and execute.
Take everything step by step. And if you have questions or need support, feel free to use the comment section below.
Kevin Michael Geary is the founder of Digital Ambition. After building three successful online businesses in three separate niches in less than five years, he turned his attention toward helping men and women all over the world start an online lifestyle business so they can escape the rat race, make an impact, and live life without limitations.