Cantril Ladder: the ladder of life

A first step towards improving drastically your life quality

Quality of life and consequently happiness levels, can actually be measured! One simple way to do this is with the help of the Cantril Ladder. It allows us to see where we stand now and where we want to be in the future.

Remember that to make any change happen, we first need to realize clearly what we are changing. That is, where we are now and where we want to be in the future. Before we create a new reality, we need to visualize it.

A first awakening

Picture a ladder with its steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you. 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).
Improve your life quality with the Cantril Ladder!
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 the 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 your choice is. 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. Now, hold on to your seat while you are getting there!

In more detail

The characteristics for each group (as set by the Gallup Organization, with some modifications by us) are described below:

Thriving (7-10)

Strong, consistent, and progressing wellbeing
People in this zone have positive views of their present life situation and of the next five years. They report significantly fewer health problems and sick days. They feel less negative emotions like worry, stress, sadness, anger. At the same time, they feel more positive ones like happiness, enjoyment, interest, and self-respect.

Struggling (4-6)

Moderate or inconsistent wellbeing
Those who live in this zone, have moderate views of their present life situation. They also have moderate or negative views of their future. In other words, they are either struggling in the present, or expect to struggle in the future. Usually, 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 (1-3)

Wellbeing that is at high risk
People in the suffering zone, 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. Additionally, they are more likely to feel 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 the thriving category.
The above characteristics are useful just to give you a more clear idea of the three zones. They can 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!

Now, move on to see the areas of your life in more detail: Wheel of Life: The big picture of your life