Don’t Climb The Ladder, Take The Escalator
Recently, I had a conversation with a young (under 30) colleague of mine who was exasperated, stressed, and confounded about her life. With the best of her life right in front of her, she looked absolutely beat. I asked her, “What’s going on? You don’t look so good,” to which she responded, “I’m getting sick again.”Noticing that this had been happening on a somewhat frequent basis, I asked her, “Why are you getting sick so much?” Her response said it all, “I’m stressed and obviously not handling it all that well.” When I asked her what she was stressed about she said, “Life, work…everything!”
Ahhhh, the follies of youth and the benefit of wisdom that comes with age! Dr. Wayne Dyer, in his book ‘Manifest Your Destiny’, writes about the four stages of adulthood characterized by the following traits:
Athlete – “A description of the time in our adult lives when our primary identification is with our physical body and how it functions in our everyday world. This is the time when we measure our worth and our happiness by our physical appearance and abilities.”
Warrior – “This is the time when the ego dominates our lives, and we feel compelled to conquer the world to demonstrate our superiority. My definition of ‘ego’ is the idea that we have of ourselves as important and separate from everyone else. The ego-driven warrior objective is to subdue and defeat others in a race for the number-one spot.”
Statesperson – “The stage of life when we have tamed our ego and shifted our awareness. In this stage we want to know what is important to the other person. We have begun to know that our primary purpose is to give rather than get. The Statesperson is still an achiever and quite often athletic, however the inner drive is to serve others.”
Spirit – “This stage of life is characterized by an awareness that this place called earth is not your home. You know that you are not an athlete, a warrior, or even a statesperson, but that you are an infinite, limitless, immortal, universal and eternal energy temporarily residing in your body. You’re not separate, but One with every human being.”
Guess which one she was in? That’s right, the Warrior. Though you must go through this to understand the higher levels, there is another perspective in which to understand it. That’s the perspective of experience. What I’ve learned and experienced is that when climbing the proverbial ladder of “success”, most of the time you find out two things.
1. Most of the ladders we climb are leaning against the wrong wall and…
2. Once you reach the top…you realize that there is nothing there (at least not what you were expecting…)
Climbing the ladder of success from the warrior point of view is exhausting! You’ve got to put in the physical and mental energy to compete with EVERYONE around you. It’s been said and it’s so true, “Be careful of the people that you step on while on your way up because they will remember it when you are on your way down!”
As the late great father of our organization and ‘remover of obstacles’ Van Carrigan states, “It is the way it is. Thinking that it should be different does not allow you to recognize the one thing that is always present…now.” As a Warrior, you are never fulfilled or satisfied because in climbing the ladder of “success” you are always comparing yourself to a standard or accomplishment measured from the ‘past’ and you are always striving to achieve something that is perceived to be better in the ‘future’. Neither one can ever be fulfilled because all you ever have control of is ‘now’…today…this moment.
If the ladder of “success” is never fulfilling, then what is one to do? How about taking an escalator? While on an escalator you are continually moving up towards your destination; without the physical and mental energy needed to climb a ladder. As a result, it allows you to recognize the beauty of every moment (what life is truly about anyway) while still moving towards the top.
Besides, if there really is nothing there, what’s the hurry? Why not enjoy the ride? See you at the top…TOGETHER!