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I’ve never worked a 9-5 in 27 years of existence because I’ve always found a way to survive with side hustles.

Selling snapbacks in high school.

Selling fake beats headphones.

Flipping smartphones.

Unlocking iPhones.

For this reason, it never made sense to me to work for “someone” and earn $14 an hour. I made double or triple of that unlocking iPhones for 25-50 bucks.

Funny enough, I never heard of the term “rat race” until two years ago when I immersed myself in the social media world.

Escaping the rat race and escaping the “Matrix” are terms that are coming back more and more in the creator economy space.

By definition, a rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. Most likely, people see it as if you’re constantly chasing the next paycheck. But, what most people seem to fail to understand is that everyone’s rat race is different.

For some of them,

Pursuing every dollar opportunity is a rat race.

Pursuing beautiful women is a rat race.

Pursuing every new trend is a rat race.

Pursuing happiness is a rat race.

If you expand your lens, it translates to an endless pursuit of wealth or power.

So, to think of it, even drug dealers and mafia bosses are part of a rat race.

I learned about lifestyle design seven years ago. Since then, I have explored more than ten countries and had the chance to discover new cultures, people, and especially food (my guilty pleasure.)

One question kept coming back to my mind: how can I be anywhere I want and do whatever the hell I want? I explain in my first intersect how I plan on building my  multi-passion one-person business , but that’s only one part of the equation.

If you look up lifestyle design, you’ll find it always relates to location, time, and financial freedom.

To sum it up roughly, it translates to being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whom you want.

I always felt something was missing. Is it really what designing my dream life was all about?

While achieving location, time, and financial freedom are important aspects of lifestyle design, it's important to remember that there's more to life than just those factors. That's why spiritual freedom is just as essential when designing your dream life.

Some will escape their rat race and end up asking themselves, “what now?”

Some will finally have location, financial, and time freedom but still end up asking themselves, what now?

In this intersect, I want to introduce you to how I approach lifestyle design and why spirituality plays a huge role. By the end of your lecture, you’ll have a whole new perspective and approach to lifestyle design.

The Problem with the Rat Race Mentality

Try an exciting experiment. Ask friends or random people what the term “rat race” means. Most people think it’s only related to chasing the next paycheck or being in a 9-5 (average consumers)

Well, that’s the problem. But is it their fault? No. If you think that as well, it’s not your fault.

That’s how people are using this term to sell their courses or services, "escape the matrix," "escape the rat race."

Some fulfilling 9-5 jobs are out there, and you just aren’t aware of or can’t yet have them.

I’m not against 9-5 in general. I’m against a TOXIC and underpaid 9-5.

Yet, it can be toxic while being a highly-paid job. Here’s what a toxic job looks like:

  1. Lack of autonomy
  2. High levels of stress
  3. Poor work-life balance
  4. Toxic workplace culture
  5. Limited career growth opportunities

You have no idea how much this can affect your mental health and overall well-being.

I’m all about keeping your healthy 9-5 and pursuing your passions to escape *your* rat race.

Because here is the thing, everyone has their own definition of a rat race.

The key is to become aware of it and plan to escape if you consider being part of it.

I even asked folks on Twitter, and the responses were super interesting because most of them are content creators. The perspective is very different.

Two stood out to me:

“ Working a job you hate, or brings no fulfillment to you. But since you think you have no other option you do it anyway.

Working for people who act like they care about you and your well-being, but would fire you in a second if someone more “qualified” came along.”

“Constantly chasing the lure of "more" and never finding the time to explore your true purpose or do meaningful things with your life.”

If your purpose is to achieve power, once you have it, you want more because there is always more.

If someone’s perspective of the rat race is “having a 9-5” and “chasing the next paycheck,” he can take another route and end up selling drugs because of a bad influence. But did you grasp that? He ended up in another rat race, “the power rat race.”

Even freelancers and agency owners, they don’t want to work for someone else (understandable) but end up working with clients they don’t like and, quite frankly, don’t give a single fuck about them or their business.

A recent freelancer loneliness survey by Viking found that 56% of the freelancers interviewed suffered from depression as a result of their job. Another 62% said that they suffered from work-related stress.

Is it what not working for someone else is all about? “Working for yourself” and become more stressed than before?

I felt something when I started trying those “freelancing advice,” which felt wrong. It was transforming my passion into a burden, and that wasn’t why I started building a business in the first place, and that’s not how I wanted to design my life.

Because of my ACL surgery , I restructured my whole business and thought about my purpose again.

It made me realize that life isn’t always supposed to be the way you think it should be.

You think, act, reflect, and adapt. You can be content with what you have but angry with what you don’t have. For me, anger fuels my motivation every single day. Not the type of anger where you break things and curse on people. I’m talking about the anger that pushes you through tough days. In two weeks, I will write about “Why anger is necessary to your life’s success,” make sure to subscribe if you don’t wanna miss it, believe me, you don’t wanna miss it.

There will always be someone wealthier than you, smarter than you, or stronger than you.

If you’re not content with what you have now, you won’t be with what you’ll have later.

Humility plays a huge role in someone’s *long-term* success.

How can you live with a purpose if you never thought of it initially?

Living with Purpose: Why Pursuing Happiness is a Dead-End

I monetized two of my skills, branding and web design. That helped me unlock “location freedom,” I can move wherever I want and still generate an income.

But, again. That wasn’t necessarily making me feel “fulfilled” because I’m still trading my time and can’t call myself financially free yet.

As I mentioned, I revised my purpose and concluded that I want to treat my freelance business as my 9-5 and pursue my newest passion (writing and building a personal brand), which is helping me design my life the way I do want it to be.

Many think that having all the money in the world will make them happy, yet many millionaires and billionaires are alone and depressed with money they’ll never spend in their lifetime.

I understood that happiness is a skill. Why do people seem happy no matter what happens during the day? We are all humans, yes, and we have feelings, yes. Some deal with bad days better than others.

I’m from those who always see the positive in things. I never woke up and told myself, “what a sad day,” every day is a new day, and every new day is a beautiful day.

Happiness is a skill because you learn to be content with what you have no matter what you have. It’s a combination of what you’re doing with your days, goals, and future as a whole.

Staying humble no matter what level you achieve in your life will keep you on a straight path.

If not happiness, what should you pursue then?

I don’t even like to say happiness. I always prefer to refer to it as fulfilled.

How would you respond to someone if they asked, " Are you happy in your job right now?

How would you respond to someone asking you if you’re happy in your life right now?

When we’re not “happy,” we’re not pursuing our inner obsessions toward our interests and passions because we’re trapped in an endless chase of “whatever might be” without self-reflection.

Whenever I don’t feel fulfilled, I ask myself why? Is it just a temporary feeling that I’m wrongly diagnosing, or is it real?

I felt it once because of my past business, a sports betting consulting agency. After getting back into religion, it didn’t align with my value, and beliefs. For that reason, I shut it down.

Following your obsessions is the true path to fulfillment. We spoke about it in last week's intersect, The Obsession Formula.

When you follow your obsessions (the right way), you don’t question whether you’re happy or not because you’re following your instincts and what your brain perceives as effortless.

In my opinion, pursuing happiness is the universal rat race because happiness doesn’t have a specific threshold, you get to choose what truly makes you happy at any given moment. The question becomes: why do you think any particular thing or someone will *make* you happy?

It cannot last long if your happiness depends on someone or something.

You nurture your happiness with what you think and do, not one way or the other.

You don’t have to *have* your purpose, you don’t have to *know* your purpose, you only have to start.

Spirituality gives you a head start. Becoming better is a purpose in itself.

Deep down, you know that you deserve better, you just don’t know how.

You don’t know how to start.

You don’t know where to start.

What if you have all the answers to your questions? Would you do it right away?

Let’s explore how you can do that with my optimized lifestyle design process.

Lifestyle Design With Purpose and Visualization

I fell in love with branding and the feeling of “ah-ha” moments I could bring to my clients (I did not have many.) I found myself doing things I hate, such as sending cold DMs, cold emails, and ungenuine networking connections. I felt the “need” to prove my worth and value. Those aspects didn’t align with my values, and I had to return to reality.

I had to define how I could get clients without doing all those things.

This specific question gave me my reality; build genuine relationships! Which is something that I learned to love more than anything else. And it paid 1000x more than any tactic you can imagine.

Design Your Life

From my perspective, living with purpose starts with identifying your values and passions. If you think you don’t have or can’t find your passions, read this . That’s just another self-limiting belief.

You will be given one without knowing if you don’t define your purpose. But, as I mentioned. You don’t have to know it right away.

You only have to start reflecting, and you do that with questions.

1) How To Identify Your Personal Values

Ask these questions:

What do you stand for? I stand for my religious beliefs and freedom of speech.

What are your non-negotiables? 5 Daily Prayers, Respect, Religion, Location freedom, and raising my children in a Muslim country.

What motivates and drives you? The *feeling* that I know I can do better and BE better.

What do you prioritize in your life? Mental health, physical health, and tasks that bring me closer to my end goal (of now)

What do you want to be remembered for? Better Thinking, Better Doing. Your brain can fire so many ideas and thoughts only because of those four words. I want to be remembered as the one who challenged thoughts and led people to change their perspectives for the greater good.

What do you believe is most important in life? Kindness and self-control.

What things make you feel proud of yourself? My growth mindset and self-confidence, my ability to learn FAST.

What qualities do you admire most in other people? Non-complainers with a hard life. (Resilience)

What kind of impact do you want to make in the world? To impact the world nowadays, you need a hell of an influence or money. It’s not my priority. I focus on helping others as much as possible while keeping myself accountable, if I help ONE person, I’m genuinely happy. When it becomes possible for me, I will build mosques. One of my wildest dreams (for now) is to build a hybrid Mosque, Gym, and workstation.

My current purpose: Challenge your thoughts and curiosity about lifestyle design, human potential, and one-person business.

This intersect does just that. I’m challenging your thoughts about the traditional “design your life” model.

2) Visualize Your Future Self

Describe yourself in 5 or 10 years. What makes more sense if you start from your 5 to 10 years self and describe the necessary steps to arrive there.

Be super specific about where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing, what is your morning routine, what are you eating?

Take into consideration setbacks and obstacles. Those can be in your job, business or life (health, family, relationships.)

Let me show you my vision board for the next five years.

I’m ready for challenges and setbacks and not afraid to adjust and pivot whenever I feel like it. That’s how lifestyle design should be, around your beliefs, values, and passions.

3) Challenges and Setbacks

Next, designing your life doesn’t have to be 99% accurate, and it can’t be.

We don’t predict the future. But we can anticipate obstacles from other people’s mistakes. 

You must embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning and view them as part of the journey toward achieving your purpose and goals.

The more you grow, the more your purpose starts to manifest, and the more you begin to connect spiritually.

Two years ago, I wanted to build a creative branding agency with team members, take on six figures projects and be proud of that. Well, I do not want that anymore at all.

Growth is all about struggles and self-reflection; you need self-awareness to navigate those struggles.

Guess what? Incorporating spirituality into lifestyle design can provide a more profound sense of purpose and meaning, enhance self-awareness and well-being, and promote a more fulfilling and balanced life.

Without spirituality, you’ll escape *your* rat race and ask yourself, then what?

4) Self-reflection

I don’t like the “what if’s,” but this one is important. What if you don’t have to work anymore, you don’t have bills to pay, and you don’t have to buy groceries?

Everything is free.

What would you do with your days? If everything was free, you wouldn’t chase money, but you’ll chase “the next thing” IF you lacked purpose. Your purpose starts with what you do in your free time. If that’s scrolling through social media, I don’t need to say it, you know it.

So, I challenge you to redefine your own rat race and take the first step toward designing a life that aligns with your values and purpose. Start by reflecting on what truly makes you happy and fulfilled, then make a plan to pursue it. Find your obsession, and don’t let it go.

Because when you do, you don’t care what others think or do. In other words, you break free from this “rat race.”

Don’t hesitate to share with me your vision board on Twitter.

PS: I wish Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim brothers and sisters. If you’re not Muslim, I highly suggest you seek knowledge about the benefits of Ramadan on the mind, soul, and body. You have nothing to lose.

Better Thinking, Better Doing.

- Imed

About imed djabi

I explore the intersection of passions and business.

I am a minimalist, and multi-passionate currently obsessed with the creator economy, branding & web design.

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