Life in Hamsters’ Wheel

Hamster wheel
April 3, 2008

Hamsters’ wheels are designed to make hamsters keep running against its will. When a hamster is placed or stepped into a wheel, she would try to move forward. As she puts her feet on the next step on the ladder, her body weight shifts onto her front feet pushing the ladder step down demanding an instinctive response of putting the other feet on the next ladder in search of support. As the second feet rests on the next ladder, that too shifts downwards demanding for another instinctive move to stop this descending feeling by moving the other feet on the third ladder. Here you go as the third step moves down, there follows the forth, the fifth, the sixth attempt to keep balance.

Unfortunately, rather than keeping the balance, the wheel starts gathering speed. As the speed of the wheel picks up, instinct dictates equally for faster movement of legs turning walking into jogging, jogging into running and finally running for her life.

What the hamster does not know is when the feet moves faster the wheel too moves faster leaving the hamster no option rather than to match the speed with more frantic moves.

Finally, the hamster wheel goes faster and faster until the hamster heart stops or feels exhausted to care no more and slumber on the bottom of the wheel to take the last few nasty spins before it stops. What a relief!!

If the hamster gets lucky, the hamster wheel breaks to spin her down with wheel around and crash. The moral of this story is that sometimes we do not really know that we are trapped in hamster wheel and naively try to keep our balance by doing exactly what we are not supposed to do; that is keep the wheel spinning.

Once it is spinning, we do not have time to think how to stop it. In fact, we get caught by fear that if we stop moving our feet, we would lose balance to crush. So instinctively, like the hamster, we keep spinning the wheel until we run out of energy and crush.

As the saying goes: “hindsight is a perfect science” and we learn at a latter stage that it was us who were responsible for keeping the wheel spinning, but not the wheel that was making us run. Eventually, the nasty crash we feared appears as a blessing in disguise that let us free from the hamster wheel trap.

Sometimes we look back to realise that we are the sole cause of our own instability i.e. by keeping doing the same thing instinctively in business, social life or politics. Of course some end up being unlucky to burn out, others crash out of exhaustion but few brave souls try to slowdown to escape the hamster wheel.

Once trapped, the choices are few and limited. However, at the end of the day, facing our fears and even tumbling down with broken wheel could be the best outcome. One can nurse his or her wound, pick up the broken pieces to start life once again.

Thus, take a break to reflect and check whether you are spinning your wheel out of control and burning yourself.