climbing, alpspitze, head

Great People Are Climbing Behind You – Leave the Ladder!

The Story Behind The Analogy

One day my husband and I were discussing how unfair the world is.

This was not a pity party; we were simply acknowledging and begrudging how expensive it is to live in this world and how many people in the world COULD help but simply CHOOSE not to.

There are people in places of wealth, and power, and prestige. And because many of them worked hard to get to where they are today – they don’t feel like sharing or helping.

They want other people to struggle like they did, work hard like they did, do the grudge work, pay their dues, and experience the hardships in the exact same way they did – so that they can EARN what they get. Just like they did.

And THAT is what we don’t understand.

Why? Why not help someone get the leg up that you never had? Why not help others to climb instead of shoving them back down because they have not yet earned (in your eyes) the right to the next rung?

And that is when I came up with the analogy of the ladder and the mountain.

The Ladder and the Mountain

Imagine that life is like a giant mountain. The biggest mountain you have ever seen.

mountain, volcano, peak

It has dips, steep inclines, perilous points, and places to rest. The mountain of life is varied, and everyone is taking different paths to get to the top. However, our paths often crossover and intersect. Someone may follow you for a time. While you may follow someone else for a little while.

Now, let’s imagine that at certain points on your climb up, you can’t get to the next level – without a ladder.

alphabet word images, big, industrial

So, you get to the point where you need the help of a ladder. And when you don’t see one, and can’t find one. You build it yourself.

It takes a lot of time and energy to build the ladder. Sometimes it takes years of hard work.

Finally! You finish your ladder, and you climb to the next section.

Now, you have a choice to make.

Will you leave the ladder for the next person? Will you break the ladder? Or will you take the ladder with you – just in case? Those who believe in this idea that everyone has to make it on their own in life – take the ladder with them, or they break it.

They look down on those coming behind them and they say things like,

“I’m sorry, but I worked hard to get up here, and I want you to learn what that hard work is like.”

But the big question everyone on this climb should be asking themselves is,

What would Jesus do?

It’s pretty simple. Jesus would leave the ladder.

No, he would go a step farther. He would build the ladder then help others to climb it! He would wait at the bottom and show others the best way up. He would offer a helping hand.

What can we learn from this?

We can learn to leave the ladder.


The very least a decent person should do – is leave the ladder.

Leave a way for others to climb the mountain.

  • If you learn the secret tips to publishing a book – publish them for others to learn.
  • If you found a way out of addiction – share your story.
  • If you struggle but know ways of dealing with post-partum depression – share your struggle and hope with others.
  • If you have found a way to earn a wonderful living – be specific and share with others how to do the same.
  • If you make good money, find a way to give to others.
  • If you found a better way – share with others.
  • If you have discovered an easier way – show others.

It’s really simple. If you find a better way, show it and share it with your friends, family, and everyone else.

You Are Not Responsible for Making Sure Other People Struggle – Life will Do That.

The idea that others need to struggle in the same way you did – is silly.

No. They don’t.

Life does an excellent job of making sure everyone has their fair share of struggles and hardships – you do not need to help it along. You do not need to break the ladder or pull it up with you so that others can learn the hard way, just like you did.

In fact! Let’s say you leave the ladder, and someone comes up right behind you, and you both find the next section of mountain needs another – even longer ladder? Instead of taking years to build it yourself. The person you helped now gets to help you build the next ladder. You get to do it together. It goes faster, and you learn even more together.

You also don’t need to bring the ladder with you.

In real life, taking the ladder with you or breaking it can look like the following well-intentioned phrases.

  • I’m of the ‘teach a man to fish’ school.
  • I want you to learn how to be self-sufficient.
  • You need to figure it out for yourself.
  • I worked hard for what I have, and I want you to do the same.
  • You can’t take shortcuts.
  • I couldn’t get into this position until I was (the age when they achieved a job or current age.), so you have to wait too.
fly fishing, fishing rod, fishing

While some of these phrases have good intentions and some even have merit to the method. Often, it is just a way to say, “I had to work hard; therefore, I don’t want you to have shortcuts that I didn’t have.”

Don’t be stingy with your knowledge, your experiences, or your blessings.

Leave the Ladder.

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