Cantril Ladder: A first step towards improving drastically your Quality of Life…
The quality of our life and therefore our happiness level, can actually be measured! One simple and easy way for this is using the Cantril Ladder.
Imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder do you feel you stand right now? Check the respective colored disk on the left column on the diagram (Present).
It is important to understand that our life is dynamic, it is always changing. It may change faster or slower, but it is changing. The question is: which direction will it take next? Will it change to better or to worse? Here, our active commitment comes into play!
Believing in change is the first prerequisite to trigger actual change. The second is setting up a goal. A right goal should be specific, meaningful and feasible.
So, let’s try to place a realistic life-changing goal for the near future.
On which step do you want to stand in five years from now? (Please take into account how feasible is your choice). Check the respective colored disk on the right column on the diagram (In 5 years).
Congratulations! You have just made a good step towards realizing you present situation and set up a realistic goal for improving it. Just by placing your goal in the radar, you increase the odds for achieving it. Hold on to your seat while you are getting there!
The characteristics for each group (as set by the Gallup Organization, with some modifications by us) are described below:
Thriving (9-6) — wellbeing that is strong, consistent, and progressing. Respondents have positive views of their present life situation and have positive views of the next five years. They report significantly fewer health problems, fewer sick days, less worry, stress, sadness, anger, and more happiness, enjoyment, interest, and respect.
Struggling (5-3) — wellbeing that is moderate or inconsistent. These respondents have moderate views of their present life situation OR moderate OR negative views of their future. They are either struggling in the present, or expect to struggle in the future. They report more daily stress and worry about money than the “thriving” respondents, and more than double the amount of sick days. They are more likely to smoke, and are less likely to eat healthy.
Suffering (2-0) — wellbeing that is at high risk. These respondents have poor ratings of their current life situation AND negative views of the next five years. They are more likely to report lacking the basics of food and shelter, more likely to have physical pain, a lot of stress, worry, sadness, and anger. They have less access to health insurance and care, and more than double the disease burden, in comparison to “thriving” respondents.
These characteristics are only useful to give you an idea and help you see if you have made a good guess. Sharpening our awareness is critical in understanding where we stand and where we want to go!