A Ladder To Nowhere

Goal, position, tool(s), process.

This is the order for success in nearly every pursuit be it personal, professional or spiritual.

But this order is harder to get right than one might expect.

I often find myself beginning with position, then goal, then tool, which may seem like a good standard initially because the position is easily related to the current position, but when put into practice it quickly becomes clear that this is a falsehood.

Take a ladder, for example, one already in position and ready to climb. Looking down to see where to place my feet, I climb and with every step I keep my eyes focused on my feet because my goal is to reach the top of something.

But then at the top, I look around and there’s nothing to reach for.

Why is that?

Where did I go wrong?

The position seemed stable, I had the tool I needed, but the goal wasn’t attained.

I, as many do, made the mistake of thinking my current position would lead me to my goal. But my goal wasn’t clear, so the effort was an act of simply grasping at thin air. What felt like progress suddenly became wasted time and energy. I didn’t hit the goal and lost twice as much time because now I need to climb back down and start again.

Climbing a ladder to nowhere is a graspable metaphor that can apply to how we approach decision-making.

We want so badly to make progress we simply start where we stand and rarely consider the position of the goal in the first place.

Starting instead with the goal means we see it clearly and know where it is. Then, move the ladder into position, expend the effort with our eyes focused on the goal and succeed.

Before we start from where we stand, we must pause and ask ourselves, ‘if I’m standing here, is what I want and the tool I have enough to get it?

If the answer is, ’no’, then find a better position before you waste your time and energy on thin air.

Goal, position, tool(s), process.

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