Rat Race: A Race that You Never Win & Why to Avoid it?

A rat race is a term used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit.


  • Fierce competition to maintain or improve one’s position in the workplace or social life. For example, You may not realize what a rat race it is to get research grants. This term presumably alludes to the rat’s desperate struggle for survival.(The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer)
  • 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. (Random House dictionary)
  • a mad scramble or intense competitive struggle, as in the business world (Webster).

Ratrace conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape whilst running around a maze or in a wheel. In an analogy to the modern city, many rats in a single maze expend a lot of effort running around, but ultimately achieve nothing (meaningful) either collectively or individually.

Shows succumbing to the present and not keeping the big picture in mind. It shows a lack of wisdom and a prioritization of what is essential. It also shows being afraid of being functional. You will lose tomorrow to look cool and be with the crowd today

Like a child on a first trip to Disneyland- many people are getting beserk because of lack of prioritization. Sucumbing to pressures from colleagues and extended family members – they get addicted to perpetually pursuing the ‘cool things’ to ‘appear’ good to others.

This could include many things:

  1. Joining a course because everyone is doing that or worse still you may not be considered intelligent so you join this course instead of what you really like.
  2. Buying a bigger house than required or buying in a certain area – otherwise you will feel left out. People in the rat race are extremely concerned about being left out.
  3. You buy the more expensive shoe or jeans because you will not feel left out. Even though the cheaper shoe or jeans fits you well and is more functional
  4. You buy the less functional motorcycle or car because it has a cool image. While the more practical motorcycle or car will mean you stand out from others.

Sadhu’s go away from people to remote hills to get wisdom. While people in the rat race get extremely anxious on being left out on anything. They just want to be in the ‘in circle’.

“No matter what you do in the rat race, success is not guaranteed, but if you do nothing failure is” .Paul Ulasien– Author of : The Corporate Rat Race: The Rats Are Winning

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.

To be out of the rat race requires strong convictions and a belief in tomorrow. Otherwise, the pressure to conform to the majority way of thinking is very high.

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1 comment on “Rat Race: A Race that You Never Win & Why to Avoid it?”

  1. cool blog