Law Of The Hamster Wheel
February 18, 2016
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying the definition of insanity is: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I would contend that perhaps the definition of doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a change in results is simply unproductive, futile, or ineffective. Regardless of which word you apply, even in laymen’s terms, doing the same thing continually and expecting a transformation is undeniably a situation the average sane person has the capacity to comprehend as useless; not necessarily text book insane. However, I’m certain Einstein wasn’t handing out armchair psychology when he said it, possibly facetious witticism.
Thus, in the face of such inspired witticism I ask: Why continue doing the same things, making the same decisions, reacting the same way and expecting something new to happen? Offhandedly defies the law of physics also which is: “a theoretical statement...and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present.” Neither do I believe Einstein was attempting to defy the laws of physics nor express insanity over expecting divergent results from repetition. Insanity can no more be compared to physics than apples to an otter. However, both Einstein’s analogy and the law of physics present a viable lesson. We cannot anticipate change with any inkling of certainty when we continue repeating ourselves.
Therefore, let me introduce you to a little something I call The Law of the Hamster Wheel. Imagine a hamster on his wheel. Unless he jumps off and does something different, he simply runs in circles...forever. Bless his little hamster head. He really feels like he’s going somewhere. Speeds up, slows down, sniffs the air, speeds up again yet runs repeatedly in circles.
Sound familiar? Not really, because we don’t run endlessly on a tiny wheel inside a glass cage. Yet how many times in our lives have we found ourselves feeling as if we do? Truth be told, we believe we are moving forward in our life because at least we’re making decisions. Right? At least we’re doing things. True. And as far as the way we react, well, we’ve just always reacted this way. So it must be okay. Right? Although, there’s that nagging voice in the back of our minds that keeps questioning our sanity when we constantly throw our arms up in frustration with particular areas of our life, not to mention we’re exhausted from trying.
Allow me to throw another analogy your way. If you want thinner pancakes you add more water. If you want thicker pancakes you use less water. In other words, you create a change in the recipe. Therefore, if you truly feel as if your life has become the wheel and you are the hamster you need to jump off and do something different. What you ask? That, my friend, depends on what area of your life frustrates you the most...the point at which you’re spinning.
Let’s say, just for an example, you are bored with your job. Yet every morning you make the decision to show up. However, if you want to jump off the hamster wheel you could instead wake up and decide to look for another job. (Just don’t play hooky from work.) Or you could ask to be moved to another department. Inquire about something more challenging for you to accomplish. You do have options, and they come in the form of choices. Choices are one of the best things about life we get a chance to make every minute of every day. The worst thing about life is we usually make the same choice over and over. Sound insane? Hmm...Einstein may have been onto something after all.
Obviously, work is only one example of an area in life where folks are dissatisfied. Yet, it’s practically ingrained in our nature to believe our lives are moving forward. In reality, we repeat the same routine and spin around in circles. If you want to change anything you have to be willing to take a leap of faith and jump. It’s the only way you will achieve a different result. Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity...basically repeating yourself and expecting change. Change, of its own definition “to make or become different”, simply can’t happen when applying the same choice (decision, reaction) to identical circumstances. You literally have to make the decision to change your routine, attitude, behavior, diet, love life, friends, yourself...or whatever it is that keeps you spinning around in circles and going nowhere like a hamster on a tiny metal wheel.
Can you imagine...becoming sane with change?