The hamster wheel is a familiar metaphor. If only it existed in our lives purely as a useful metaphor for us to reflect on and learn from. That wheel has been a big part of my reality as I have spent many a year peddling away…if only I do more…get this one thing done…stay that little bit longer…catch up on...
The hamster wheel literally describes the concept of running in circles but making no progress. Doing things the same way, repeating the same mistakes, guided by a sense that motion is the important thing - I just need to keep going. And somewhere along the way, losing connection to the meaning that inspired us to take that job or choose that career path and the satisfaction that we hoped to derive from meaningful work.
We are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and no matter what we achieve, there is always more to do, people relying on us, unmet needs, gaps to fill - always more, more, more…
Can I sustain this?
Is it all worth it?
At what cost?
And so we contemplate…
What if I step off the wheel?
What if I stay on?
Jim Carrey gave a speech at a University graduation ceremony where he talks about choosing love over fear:
Choose to step off that wheel for just one day to think about what matters to YOU.
Choose kindness to yourself over fear.
Choose to make different choices that are more aligned and healthful for you – because you matter.
Create your own unique path to greater impact, meaning and satisfaction in your work.
You actually get to choose. In fact, you’re the only one who can.