David Obafemi: Welcome To The Rat Race

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world live more amply,
with greater vision, with a finer spirit of home and achievement. You are here to enrich the world and
you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.”
– Woodrow Wilson

Welcome to the rat race
For most people, living has become an endless search for money. It’s all about needs, comfort,
possessions, status and so on. Does it all make sense? Yes it does, but once in a while I am forced to
look at humanity with pity and share a truth I have long kept to myself. Especially, in tough times like
this which offers an opportunity to get back to the basics and start afresh.

First, you need to know that the Rat race is an invention of man. It is a system that has grown over
the years, exerting a strong influence over the education system, workplace, economies of nations.
Unconsciously, most people are being prepared for the rat race starting from the home. Little wonder,
majority of people are stuck in it.

So what is the Rat Race?
It is an ideology that says, ‘Work for money, spend money, then work harder for more money’. It is a
distorted idea of the role and the relationship between work, money, and human needs. You might
not know it, but as I will reveal in the course of my speeech, the Rat race has never allowed the human
potential to be fully realised.

Let’s make some clarifications.
Work was originally designed as an avenue for humanity to add value to the earth in which his needs
are met in return. Work is the rent he paid for ‘occupying space’ on earth. It is his contribution to the
general good. Work is created anytime there is a vacuum on the earth. This vacuum represents a need
that should be met, a problem that should be solved, or a change that needed to be made. And this
cuts across every aspect of human endeavour. The world was designed to be imperfect so that at every
point in time, in every generation, there are a myriad of problems – vacuums that needed to be filled.
So there is enough work to go round. (Note that I said work, and not job.) Packaged into the earth are
infinite resources waiting to be discovered and used to make the world a better place. Although some
Economists have said that resources are limited, what is actually limited is the resources that man has
discovered and the derivatives from them. Is it a surprise that even in the 21 st century some countries
are still discovering new resources and new uses for existing resources?

But the natural resources aren’t enough. The greatest resource is man himself. Packaged into him is
a bag of tools in which are talents, passion, intuition, will and so on, which when coupled with training,
makes him responsible for the happenings in his life and his environment. Since there was so much
work to be done, everyone was given a different set of tools (talents, passion and so on), so that each
could complement each other and together get more done. So the most important duty of man from
the moment he arrives on the earth is to identify his tools and the work that his tools were meant to do.
The idea of the contribution he is to make on earth becomes his dream. So those of you whose dreams
are based on what wealth, accomplishment or success you want to accumulate for yourself are getting
it wrong.

So, how does a man meet his needs?
Through his work. Look at farmers; they have to till the land and plant crops in order to meet their
needs. So, even though needs are met through work, the work (adding value) was to be pursued above
meeting needs. Is this actually a punishment or an unrealistic obligation? Not really. Having identified
your tools and discovered your true work, it becomes something you did out of love while you are also
rewarded for it. Have you noticed that sometimes when you are doing something you love, you don’t
feel hungry? The work combined three major things – Fulfillment (You are using your talent, passion
and other resources to do something you love), Impact (You are adding value to the earth by meeting a
need or solving a problem), and Reward (Because the world needs your work, you are compensated in
return.)

But, where did JOB come from?

To be continued…

The Herald NG

The Herald NG is a leading newspaper in Nigeria at the forefront of the digital revolution.

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