What is Wealth? Part 1: The Lure of the Hamster Wheel

“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spinning on the Hamster WheelSpinning on the hamster wheel of progress, burdened by the stress of over-commitment, debt, sleeplessness, and concerns about the future, we soldier on the best we can. Such is the commonly told back-story of modern life. Who knew the price of gaining the supposed good things in life would ultimately come at the cost of spiritual, emotional, mental, and/or physical wellbeing? The thought of stepping off the wheel may be scary, but for those who sincerely want to take back their life, tangible steps abound to help them regain priceless quality of life.

Given the abundance of practical advice available to help people exit the matrix, part 1 of this series necessarily covers the lure of the hamster wheel in the first place: What is the primary reason more people don’t take advantage of these strategies and tactics? Actually, it’s not all about the money.  There is an allegory about crabs in a pot that pretty much says it all. The story goes that as one crab scales the inside of the pot to claim his freedom, the other crabs work to pull him back down with them. “Hey, where do you think you are going, anyway?”

Humans are social creatures; we care about what our family and friends want for us and think about us. We want to be loved, respected and appreciated. It’s only natural. Yet our social nature can also work against our best interests. So how is the story about the crabs in the pot like your relationship with your friends and family, you may ask?

Say you have done your research and believe you can responsibly go rogue, e.g. quit your job, find an independent, more lucrative business model, possibly move off-the-grid, and/or out of the country. Will you be able to withstand any of your loved ones concerns and possibly negative input? Some of what you hear may even echo your own concerns: “What will my wife/husband/parents/children think?” “What if I fail?” “Am I throwing away my education?” “Will I be able to pay the bills?” “Should I stick with a sure thing?” “Do I actually have what it takes to strike out on my own?”

Remember, in the final analysis, if you do take the road less traveled, you may lose some of that love, respect and appreciation you have come to expect. Certainly, that may not be the case, but it is an aspect of the risk you take. Most people do not consciously realize that they often stay stuck in a no-way-out, demoralizing lifestyle because of what others will think if they take steps to scale the walls and find a way out. Just like the crabs in the pot, they may never try to get out, or, after an attempt, fall back in with the others where, though life may be miserable, at least it is familiar and no love has been lost.

As Emerson said, the first wealth is health. Are you willing to pay the price to get it?


2 Responses to “What is Wealth? Part 1: The Lure of the Hamster Wheel”

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  1. HCNR says:

    If losing love, respect and appreciation is the cost of gaining a lifestyle of purpose and truth within the boundaries of God’s design, then it’s worthwhile, even to the point of completely losing the privileges of receiving love from others. His design is that I should daily give love, respect and appreciation. If the recipients of my love and respect do not reciprocate to me with the same, then it’s a painful but purposeful life which steadily continues to give and give …. and give. The end of that is God’s rewards of joy, which never evaporate or rust, and none can steal them away. Healthy love stops the downward spiral into anger and confusion by first forgiving … and then giving to gently meet the evident need in the one whom I forgave.

    To lose weight and become more healthy, change your diet and practice discipline (exercise). To lose the mental baggage and become more stable emotionally, change your mental diet and practice discipline (exercise your mind with Truth). You are what you eat, and you earn what you work to acquire. Work at acquiring the wealth of health.

    • Zahn LaScot says:

      Sooooooo true for waaaaaay too many!!! Lucky for me, I’ve seldom if ever followed the crowd. I’ve even written a book (R.O.L.L. With It!) that helps folks to break free from this.

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