Working Adults: Is It Possible To Break Free From The Singapore Rat Race?
Very often, you cram yourself in the crowded MRT in the early morning and wonder to yourself, what you are doing with your life. It will probably look something like this.
Thoughts of #QuarterLifeCrisis or #MidLifeCrisis strike you and soon start realising that you have been stuck in the Rat Race. Here are the 4 common methods which broadly cover the options which you can consider.
TL;DR: From least to the most effort & risk:
- Extreme Saving: By charting out a low monthly expense and scrimping away (often promoted by the regular education system and government as this is pretty much a defined path to retirement)
- Passive Income: By investing in dividend stocks or a weekend project or website which you can sell and drive income passively (often adopted by financial bloggers here in Singapore)
- Small business exit: By opening up a traditional money generating business (eg F&B or trading) and selling it to a bigger player at a price per share (often adopted by media celebrities such as Twelve Cupcakes by Daniel Ong and Jamie Teo)
- Startup exit: By starting up and selling a company that uses technology to solve problems at scale, often being asset-light but delivering huge impact (another option is to join a fast growing startup at an early stage for employee stock options)
These options seem like a huge jump
You might be thinking, wait a minute, these seem like a huge jump. So let us break it down! What I propose is to take the first step by following the 3 tips below can help you head in the right direction! 🙂
Further Reading: Tips to start moving in the right direction
In our earlier series, we shared on the 3 traits that are often associated with wealth creation beyond the rat-race:
- Delayed Gratification: Having the ability to be patient and practice long-term thinking as opposed to short-term gains.
- Avoiding Groupthink: Having a contrarian mindset and adopting the first-principle approach to problem-solving.
- Determination: Hustling to get something done separates you from the rest of the crowd.
1) Listen to podcasts on the way to work
The best part about these mediums, they are often free and full of compressed information that you can digest in the daily commute to and from work. Simply head over to the Apple podcast app or the Spotify podcast app to get started subscribing for free! I’ve been doing this for 4 years till date and the stories shared with lessons are priceless. Also when the MRT breaks down, be sure that you are able to make the best out of your time rather than standing and waiting in frustration.
- Planet Money by NPR
- Radical Personal Finance
- TED talks Podcasts
- HBR IdeaCast
- Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman
Yes, another important point to note, these podcasts are downloadable for you to listen offline, so don’t worry about data-consumption.
2) Take up offline or online courses to improve your skills
Getting your skills up to scratch can really open up your mind. There are a ton of courses that you can subscribe to with your SkillsFuture credit and online courses on Coursera or Udemy which we have picked out for the community.
Most people share that a big plus with Udemy is that you can learn at your own pace by watching the videos and learning. However, one potential downside is that you may feel tired or not motivated to continue.
For offline events, you may be able to meet people you find interest in and start following their lives and meeting up to bounce ideas. Offline events are also the best way to reach out to mentors and meet up over coffee to share with them more in-depth. Covered in point 3 below!
3) Seek a mentor who is 2 steps ahead of you
The last and most tricky one, where I feel is also the most important. Nothing beats getting a person to talk to and share personal development goals with. It could be someone at work or outside work.
The requirement here is to be interesting enough and show progress, to the extent that your mentor is naturally incentivized to show interest in helping you develop, open up doors and improve your daily lives. I believe that people are innately interested to help each other and avoid the mistakes that one has made. Same thing for me, where I often go back to NUS to help out juniors in terms of starting up projects and navigating the earlier parts of a startup.
- Find your deep skillset
- Network to find someone who may be willing to assist you, show how you fit into a potentially good use of his/her time
- Show progress and improvement over time (be interesting)
Conclusion: The Importance Of a Growth Mindset
If you have a job, look to grow and build your network relationships. Don’t sit around and think that you are safe because no one is really safe in this economic climate.
“Your attitude sets you apart”
If you have not hit your wealth-goals, keep grinding and be focused. Make yourself so good that the people around you have no reason to ignore you. Nothing good comes easy in life.
Ultimately, your mindset and attitude is something that no one can take away from you. Sit and reflect often to see what you want to learn in the next phase of your life adventure. The salary is merely a benchmark of your value to society, so keep going forward and upward – be valuable to society.