Each one of us owns and carries a ladder. “A ladder?” you may ask. Yes, the ladder is inside our mind, and has been there all along. Have you ever felt that people around you are more, or less valuable than you? More, or less this, that, this, this that. Like-wise, people have thought erroneously of you — in some way. I call this the “Ladder game”
In life, we always tend to compare ourselves with others. “Jennie is smarter than her sister Lara”, “I’m better than Albert, but he got that position out of luck”. “Jonnie did not deserve to… but” etc.etc. It’s the popular ladder game, the ranking tool learned by Society.
Truth is, we are all different, and no-one can go through life without some sort of pain, lessons, or stories. You don’t judge a book by its cover. How things appear to us, and how they actually are, are rarely the same.
the problem with competition is that it often lends an erroneous or partial view of things.
We all are born with strengths, weaknesses, we grow up learning, we share joy, suffering, pain… it’s a ride, and it makes us human. The game of competition however tells us differently; we all display it more or less. Sometimes, it feels like we can’t do without it. Truly, the trouble with competition is not competing itself, (which could be used in a constructive manner) the problem with competition is that it often lends an erroneous or partial view of things: we tend to give more or less credit, to a thing above another, missing the full picture. Ironically, the moment we begin to enjoy the view from the ladder, suddenly, another person shows up, slightly or way higher than our current position. And it won’t matter whether its happening in your mind or his…
The moment you choose to play the game, you have agreed to stick to the rules, and the rule of the ladder is simple: climb or fall.
Now let’s assume you are refusing to play the ‘ladder game’ to begin with. What criteria will be used as a yardstick to measure it? How will you judge and make decisions? First, you will have to become realistic about a few things. You must acknowledge the fact that behind every man’s success is some sort of pain, hard work, labor or passion and courage to pursue his goals. You will recognize that both poverty and riches are not the ultimate index to measuring happiness. You will realize that everyone deep down strives for happiness. Well, the majority of us.
I don’t aim to be better than others. I find that the more I help others, the better I feel about myself and everyone .
Finally, you can use the ladder in a new way. Instead of displaying it vertically, you can drop it on the ground, horizontally. Traditional cultures have done so for several millennia. Their respect for natural hierarchies, and the wisdom of elderly people, was never trading off the collective. The strength of unity was exalting the individual — and viceversa. Think about this: a ladder dropped on the ground can be used as a bridge to span obstacles such as a body of water, valley or road.
You can lead people on the other side, and that will enable others to do likewise. So the ladder is a tool, we can climb it and may feel lonely, but we can drop it to the ground and feel more connected.