The Ladder and the Wall

Today, we are going to keep it short and simple. Each of us has a lens through which we view life. The clarity, strength and focus of this lens is influenced by a myriad of factors ranging from one’s family background, environments in which we live in, friends we keep around, our hobbies, that which we watch, read , study  etc. In light of Henry Wadsworth words, “In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”, we shall keep things simple by using an illustration of life through the analogy of “The ladder and the wall”.

I am sure you have used a ladder in your life: whether it was to adjust the television aerial back in the day, an attempt to reach a ball you kicked on top of the roof in the heat of the game or in a worst case scenario, you just observed a fundi ( Swahili for a handy man) paint the wall.  A quick “ladder technology” refresher, a SIMPLE ladder contains several parts but for our article today we shall focus on 2 parts: the side rails which are 2 and the rungs/ the steps which can be many depending on the size of the ladder.

Parts of a ladder

From your algebra back in the mathematical days:

  • Let the left side rail represent your functions/doing: In this light you are a son, aunt, cousin, brother, employer, employee, Bff, neighbour etc. It denotes your role in life which is governed by the relations you have with people. You cannot be a brother/sister to yourself.
  • Let the right side rail represent your being: Your being represents your unique identity ranging from your hobbies, your likes/dislikes, your genealogy, your relationship with God etc. It simply revolves around you and what identifies you as a being.
  • Let the rungs/steps represent your values: What values do you hold in your life that are in line with your ultimate goals or ambition? We have values such as patience, endurance, humility etc. They are not harvested from a farm, but have to be planted within you and nurtured by you continuously.
  • Let the wall represent the height of your achievements, accomplishments, satisfaction, success in life: We all have goals in life. Some are small, others are big. These goals keep varying or accumulating based on the stages in life that we are in. As a kid one of your goals was probably how much fun you could have without getting a beating, a few years later it matures to how fast can you finish your homework so that you could go out to play,. That’s why if you find someone with his/her blue Subaru with super turbo charge, do not be so quick to judge since that may have been one of his/her goal…. what’s yours??….. I digress……..

PS: So far , I hope all is clear with regards to our algebraic components. 

For the ladder to be considered safe and strong enough for use, the rungs must be intact so as to ensure that the side rails are in place to prevent the “fundi” from falling……….. in SIMPLE terms, for you to be able to maximize and actualize in your life, your functions and your being must be kept intact by your values. Your values are the glue that binds your relations with others and your relations within yourself. Any value that prevents this integration makes you a.k.a the fundi , fall.

The higher your wall, the longer your ladder needs to be………. in SIMPLE terms, if you set high standards, goals and targets for yourself, you will need to know your functions, being and values more than just the bare minimum. My personal best athlete happens to be Kobe Bryant (No apologies to any Lebron James fan) , one of his statements in the article “Because of 4 am” continues to prove why he was able to achieve so much in his basketball career.

A fundi has control of his ladder but the wall is fixed based on the client. Success already exists and is open to anyone and everyone. In essence, your worry should not be about success but about your own ladder. How prepared are you for success when called upon?? If you were to be given a company to run today as the CEO , would you be able to??? If not, what areas are you working on so that one day you can climb that wall with your ladder? If you were on the bench as player, and the coach calls you in as a substitute, would you play better than the guy you substituted?? Or were you busy complaining in the bench about your rights and entitlements.

The left and right side rails have to be the same height especially at the base lest the fundi will “nae nae” down to the floor with a thud. You simply cannot climb a ladder that is unbalanced no matter how skilled you are…………. in SIMPLE terms, learn to balance your functions and your being. Sometimes we focus so much on other people, our relations, our careers, our responsibilities, our teams and forget our personal being. On the contrary, others are so engraved in their own self that they forget their functions. Do not let your fundi “nae nae” down.

A ladder cannot have a few rungs. A ladder with one step/rung serves no great purpose. in SIMPLE terms, as you climb your ladder in life, you will need many values to handle ever-evolving circumstances in our generation. The higher your goals, the more the number of rungs you will need to transition upwards. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required“, Luke 12:48 illustrates a simple life balance that if you expect much, much will be expected from you.

In summary, (SIMPLE TERMS), Proverbs 16:32 states ” He who is slow to anger is better and more honorable than the mighty [soldier], And he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city. The latter section implies that most times we yearn and remain fixated on the achievements (capturing of the city a.k.a the Wall ) and forget that the true victory is in knowing yourself (your own spirit a.k.a. the ladder). The walls might change but the ladder remains. How many goals have you set that you have either accomplished, forgotten, changed or failed to realize? However, in all those scenarios, you have not changed apart from age, body structure etc.

I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed, life is meant to be an adventure and one filled with abundance. John 10:10 is my basis on the abundance in life that is through Jesus Christ, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

However, sometimes we limit our scope of life to this chain: birth>  school> pass exams > party > good job > car loan , mortgage > sex, maybe marriage > kids > death. There is so much more to life when you clear your lens.

F(x, life) = [ Thm(left side rail, functions ) +  U (right side rail, being ) ] * V ( rungs/steps, values)

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.“, Leonardo da Vinci

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