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“Sometimes our activity, our work, is nothing but a cheap imitation that numbs the pain of an empty life.”

Adolfo Coors IV

The hamster was lying on its side, exhausted, a short distance from the mill. Only the hoarse sound of her labored breathing broke the morning silence.

Vaguely the hamster could recall the rush of adrenaline that had so long ago accompanied his first energetic steps towards the finish line, which he imagined was ahead of him. But he couldn't remember when he'd actually started running. And worst of all, he couldn't remember why he'd been running. It had been so exciting at first, but suddenly, along the way, exhilaration had been replaced by exhaustion, and a dampening feeling had ended all hope: there was no finish line.

Lying there on the damp straw, the hamster closed its eyes and let its breathing slowly return to normal. In that rare moment of inactivity, he smelled the reality of the world around him for the first time in a long time. He enjoyed it all, but only for a moment. The sound coming from the mill caught his attention, making him open his eyes. He turned his head in time to see the immense mill wheel creaking as it came to a stop.

He sat up slowly and looked at the machine that had so dominated his life. “This mill is killing him,” was a familiar voice that spoke to him from the depths of his heart. “Don't waste any more time in this race,” the voice insisted, as he took a big swig from the cool water source next door. There must be more to life than the machine offered. The cool water revived him and his breathing eased. He felt refreshed. Maybe I could start a new life. Maybe today! But how? What could I do next? where would you go? What targets would you look for?

Well, those decisions could be made later. At the moment, the hamster was feeling a little scared at the prospect of change. Until he could work out the details, he would stick with the known and true. It's safe. So, still dreaming of the things that might happen, he unconsciously climbed onto the wheel for the thousandth time in his short life. Soon, the mesmerizing hum of the mill and the reflection of light off the spokes of the wheel would block out the pain. Freedom and adventure could wait. That wheel required no risk, no faith, no thought. You could live your new adventures later. I just had to run.

This hamster's life parallels the lives of many 21st century men and women. Caught in a circle of monotony and conformism, they only catch glimpses of the true possibilities that life has to offer. These brief glimmers of hope are moments of opportunity, usually lost because of the difficulty of getting out of the vicious circle in which they live. Keeping the wheel turning leaves them too busy to plan for a meaningful change. Plus, charting a new course into an unknown future is daunting – and routine life, while stressful, is safe.

The other day I read a brief biography that summarized the life span of thousands of people who preferred to walk the path of banality, without ever accepting the challenge of leaving the common place, the wheel of unhappiness, mediocrity, and ascending to the highest dimension of its own potential. Perhaps you have already read:

“Salomon Grunday... Born on a Monday... Baptized on a Tuesday... Married on Wednesday... He got sick on Thursday... He got worse on Friday... Died on Saturday... He was buried on Sunday.. . and that was the end of Salomon Grunday.”

Certainly, the story of such an ironic life is fueled by an apathetic society that prefers the easy shortcut to the productive path; extols carelessness rather than diligence, promotes a work ethic that focuses more on rights than responsibilities, shrugs the shoulders rather than lends a helping hand, responds to the call to action with the question, “What’s the point? my role in it?” And prefers to keep spinning in the wheel that leads nowhere.

Escape the wheel and... success!

As William Cowper said, "True happiness consists in spending our energies on purpose."

Daniel Luz is Human Resources Director at Miranos and a columnist for Gente Mais Portal.


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