Moving Back To The Beginning: Getting Off the Hamster Wheel To Fulfill Your Passion (Part 1)
Lost in a sea of uncompleted tasks, Steve took a deep breath, relaxed and said to himself, “It’s time to start again from the beginning.” Steve heard the words of his friend echo in his head, “It’s easy to get on the hamster wheel. The hard part is getting off and knowing both when and how.”
Before moving on, some of you might be wondering; What is the hamster wheel and what do they do? So, let me just quote a couple of sources for their definitions. The literal meaning as The Hamster House states, “Hamster wheels allow hamsters to run even though they don’t have a lot of room in their cages. In the wild, a hamster can run for several miles in a single night…” (www.thehamsterhouse.com) The Urban Dictionary describes the Hamster Wheel as being, “When someone just keeps running in circles (and making the same mistakes) in their life, instead of progressing… Constantly working hard at something but never getting anything accomplished.” (www.urbandictionary.com)
So, how do we get off of our man-made hamster the wheel?
We jump. We take a leap of faith. We put our fears aside and we jump off the wheel. Then we, go back to the beginning. We go back to where we first got on the hamster wheel but with the knowledge, understanding and experience that we have, hopefully gained.
As hamsters can run for several miles when given freedom and space, people can do great things and fulfill the purposes that they were naturally designed for when they have the space and freedom. But, sometimes we put ourselves on hamster wheels and can end up living our lives living in man-made cages.
When we move back to the beginning, we don’t blindly jump back on. We use our knowledge, understanding and experience to look at our hamster wheel from a different perspective. We can look at the wheel in at least two ways. We can now look at it as an exercise tool or we can look at it as the tool for the fulfillment of our passion.
As an exercise tool, we don’t look at the wheel as an endless exercise in futility and unfulfilled dreams, moving us closer to nowhere. But, we look at the wheel as a training exercise getting us ready for that point in time when we jump off and move on. Each time we reach the starting point on the wheel, we see it as a repetition building spiritual, mental, emotional and decision making muscle memory. Just like in sports, we have to look at each “rep” as an element in our training to make us better, stronger, smarter, faster.
The trouble happens when we feel that we’ve had enough, we’re fed up and/or when someone from the outside has to let us know that we seem stuck. That’s because, at that point we are stuck and we’re on the hamster wheel with no future in sight. We have to get your perspective again. We have to do something that we may not have done in a long time, if at all. We have to jump off the wheel and risk getting “hurt.”
One thing that’s sometime overlooked about the hamster wheel, is that, as frustrating and unproductive as the wheel may be, the wheel is safe. It’s that feeling of familiarity and safety that keeps us running and running and running until we can’t run any longer. Then we look back exhausted and realize that we’re no longer in the same shape to do the thing(s) that has been on our heart to do for years while on the hamster wheel.
The passion that we’ve had for years is still there. but now it seems that, when we’re either pushed off or fall off the hamster wheel, it’s too late.
But, it’s not too late. If the passion is still there, we just have to move back to the beginning!
When we move back to the beginning at this point in our lives, we have to look at the wheel and answer the following questions: 1). “How can I use the wheel to fulfill my passion? And 2). How can I use the understanding, knowledge and experience that I gained when I was previously on the wheel to work for me now that I can’t run on the wheel with the same energy and seemingly, reckless abandon that I previously had when I was going nowhere fast? With the second question, we might have to do some introspection to realize that we really did gain knowledge, understanding and experience regarding the situations and circumstances that we were involved in while running on our hamster wheel.