To live life in the fast lane is a common way for humans to exist. People that live life in the fast lane live a lie every day and become trapped. I was one of these trapped souls for many years until the car that was my life, spun out of control and hit a light pole – literally.
When you live life in the fast lane, you only exist to stimulate your senses with excitement and short bursts of pleasure. You become reactive to everything and only focus on yourself. This selfish way of living eventually starts to transcend you and you can begin to resent everyone who lives in the opposite way to you.
In the fast lane, all the things that don’t matter start to matter to you. All the shallow activities that one can participate in become the centre of your own universe. Even if you don’t live your entire life in the fast lane, there is probably a part of you that does.
The five triggers that showed me I was living in the fast lane, and that you should avoid, are:
1. Owning a fast car
When I was living this selfish way of life, I went and bought myself a fast BMW. I thought that somehow my life was incomplete and that a fast car would change this. The first few weeks of driving the car were amazing.
I sped around corners, had all the windows down, played loud music and drove like a moron. Soon, the thrill I got from the car wore off and I was already thinking about an even faster car – a Porsche.
Living in the fast lane made me believe that what others thought of me mattered. Some of the coolest people I have met drive the most ordinary cars. Your car doesn’t define you or make you better than everyone else.
An excellent example of this is Tim Ferriss. He drives a ten-year-old Volkswagen Golf even though he could probably afford a Ferrari. He is one of the most well-respected people globally yet the car he drives has made no difference to his success or the way he is perceived.
In fact, I believe that because he doesn’t live life in the fast lane, this is one of the reasons why he has had such a broad appeal on social media.
You define you, not the possessions you buy.
2. Addiction to spending
A clear way to know you are living life in the fast lane is by your spending habits. When I was living life in the fast lane, I would always spend any money I got on a new toy and never pay myself first. It was only until a friend told me to read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” that I began putting money into savings or investments first, before spending a single dollar on anything else.
Most people’s spending habits are pretty wild and they are based on what the marketing or people they hang out with tell them to buy. You don’t need a new outfit for every special occasion. One of the richest men in the world Mark Zuckerberg has a very plain closet and that never held him back.
Focus the money you have on following your dream and improving yourself through books, seminars, travelling, taking people out for lunch, healthy food, and purchases that encourage exercise or movement. Lose the mindset of scarcity and avoid stocking up on household items – even if they are cheap.
Your tastes will change over time and so it’s never worth pre-purchasing too much of the same item. Try and go an entire weekend without spending any money. Notice how good it feels and how you don’t have to be addicted to your wallet (including your digital wallet PayPal).
3. The need for flashy clothes
It’s obvious you are living life in the fast lane if you spend more than a few hours a month buying flashy clothes. Those who live in the fast lane are constantly changing their wardrobe to meet someone else’s requirements.
In order to hang out with the wrong people, in the wrong places like nightclubs, I found myself always buying clothes that were very expensive and unnecessary. Add alcohol to the mix, and these new flashing clothes were often ruined after one night anyway.
I’m not saying dress like a bum, but what I am saying is don’t waste your life buying flashy clothes because of what other people think or because you are trying to portray some false image that is not you.
Forget the wannabe players and be you.
4. Too much alcohol
When you wake up every day or even every weekend smelling like booze, urine and vomit, you know you are living in the fast lane. Look at what alcohol makes you do and how it makes you behave. Is that behaviour you? No, it’s not, it’s the booze talking.
In my lowest moments of living in the fast lane, I would drink stupid amounts of alcohol even when I was at home. If I went out with friends, I would then triple my consumption to keep up with everyone else and be the drunkest.
Since when does the amount of alcohol you drink ever determine your success? It doesn’t, it makes you a total deadbeat loser of the highest calibre. Occasionally (thank god it wasn’t all the time), while under the influence of booze, I would drive my fast car home and think I was a cool cat.
This was all fun and games until one afternoon while suffering from a massive hangover; I literally spun my car out of control while trying to go fast round a corner. My car spun in circles and then eventually hit a light pole. That’s what I get for being a loser and living in the fast lane. Nice work Tim!
5. Constant nightclub appearances
The final trait of someone living in the fast lane is the regular appearance at nightclubs. This is a category I topped for a long time. Usually, it would involve multiple nightclubs in the same night because you had to be seen in all the cool places right? Wrong.
I always wondered why I managed to find so many trashy girlfriends and why all the good girls were almost never in these places. I still go now and then, but I just ensure it’s not for twelve hours and it’s because I want too, not because I am trying to be someone I’m not.
The fast lane can be a dangerous one if you spend too much time in nightclubs. While it starts out with alcohol, it can quickly turn into cigarettes, marijuana, and then eventually much harder drugs. In my life, I was very lucky that I never tried any drugs and never seemed to have an interest in them.
In western society drugs is a big problem although it’s not publicised as much as it should be. Nightclubs have become like candy shops where you can literally buy almost any drug you want without knowing anyone in the drug dealing business.
I’ve seen some horrific things happen to people that got addicted to drugs and it’s the one part of living in the fast lane that will not only see you spin out of control, but it will probably see you waste away your life and fail in every sense of the word.
***Cool equals different (i.e. you)***
The reason I stopped living in the fast lane is that I realised through hours of personal development that being cool equals being different. Being different means being uniquely you. Without sounding lie a wanker, I now (for the first time) see myself as cool because I am being me.
Every day people come up to me and want to chat or hang out because I am living in an extremely different way to the majority. I am not afraid to say what I think or to do what I love. I express myself in whatever way I can and live with passion and energy.
See, it turns out that when I was living in the fast lane, it didn’t feel right. I was stressed anxious and depressed all at the same time. I may have had all the money in the world but life really sucked. Just because you can buy anything you want, doesn’t mean that you will live with any sort of passion.
When you start to live with passion and exist for a purpose, living in the fast lane feels like a dumb way to live. It feels like you are trying to escape life rather than embrace life. If you’re stuck in the fast lane, it’s possible to get back in control again but it starts with one idea. It starts with one decision. Maybe this article will be the catalyst for the new you – I hope so.
How have you escaped the fast lane? What’s holding you back? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.
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