The rat race trains you to follow a specific path to be successful in life. However, the reward comes at the expense of your hopes and dreams. Once you realize that you are in control of your own success, your dreams will beat the rat race.

Most of you have heard of the rats in the maze experiments. Researchers believed rats would learn to follow a specific path if it was reinforced by the reward of food at the end. A psychologist named Edward Chace Tolman believed this idea of behavioral learning was wrong and set out to prove his theory.

Tolman studied three groups of rats. The control group was rewarded each time they reached the goal. One test group received food on the third day and the other on the seventh day of running the maze. Tolman discovered that the experimental groups made fewer errors after the first day they received a reward and did as well as the control group. This proved the rats had already learned the right path before any food was given. Later researchers proved rats could learn the maze without the guarantee of a reward.

The rat race of life neither recognizes inborn skill nor promotes individual creativity. It places more value in obedience than insight. The rat race promises success, but you have to follow a specific path. You must go to college, work for someone else, move up the corporate ladder and hang on to your job no matter what. If Bill Gates had followed that path, Microsoft may never have grown into the industry leader it is today. At the very least, IBM would have beat Microsoft to the punch.

When you know your end goal, you can get there any way you want. You can make anything happen when you fully commit. As a child you may have hoped to become a fireman, ballerina, basketball player – whatever you dreamed of for your future. As you got older and were more influenced by what you were taught was right for you, you may have begun to fall in lockstep with the expectations of those around you. It’s then that you lose sight of your heart’s true desire.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I trained in college and graduate school and learned to write for diverse communities throughout my work experience. However, my student loans left this first generation low-income college graduate with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Even earning $90,000 a year I still lived paycheck to paycheck and had little time for my own writing. I don’t regret college, but I wish I’d taken a more direct path to my dream of becoming an author.

If the rat race won’t honor your talents, you must pursue your desires for yourself no matter what you are told. No matter what life throws at you, choose your own path and your reward will be so much sweeter. Then you’ll see all your hopes and dreams come true.

Author's Bio: 

Eve Rojas, MSSW, went through a deeply disturbing period in her life that caused a major depression. Although still suffering from the condition resulting from her experience, Eve believes strongly in the Holy Spirit within her and the promises of God, which exist beyond life’s trauma and stress. Eve shares the knowledge and skills she continues to develop each day to provide tools to help you learn to shine your light and claim your inner strength so you can better manage life’s ups and downs.

Eve Rojas relies on discernment and faith to follow the path in front of her and touch the souls of others. Eve possesses a Master of Science in Social Work with expertise in Social Enterprise Management from Columbia University. She also graduated with honors from Yale University.