In Self Help for Dummies I threatened to serialize the outline of this book. Here is the draft of the second chapter.
Chapter 2 Climbing out of the Hole – Ladder or Rope.
In the last chapter we found out, to our horror, that we were losers, and immediately set to work. We compiled three lists of things to do per day, (easy, moderate and hard).
The idea of the lists was to ascertain exactly what type of loser we are. Personally, I am a procrastinator, so my lists contain things that I am quite capable of doing, and I know this, so I just put these tasks off for another time. They grow long and unmanagable.
Here is my definition of rescue by Ladder or Rope;
Rescue by Ladder.
You are stuck down a hole. A friend who hears your cry for help, lowers a ladder down, and you climb out. Rescue by ladder implies firstly, help by someone else, and secondly a tool that is custom made for this particular problem. It’s not very portable, and when you fall down another hole, some time in the future, in some other place, you’d better hope that there is some friend to help you here too.
Rescue by Rope.
A rope is a flexible thing. You can roll it up and put it in you pocket. It’s portable and can be used for many other things. Rescue by rope implies finding a tool to help you in your current position, that can also be used in the future for other problems. When exploring holes. you will tie your trusty rope around a sturdy tree and lower youself safely down.
How do these two tools suit your particular problem?
As a procrastinator, I would use the rope to tie up all my uncompleted tasks and lug them around with me, only stopping to perform a task when it falls out of the bundle.
But why postpone the task? Why carry the heavy load? Why not use the rope to order things? If you see the rope as something tying you down, and each of the tasks a knot, you realize that freedom entails untying the knots. And how do you untie the knot? By performing the task !!
If your particular problem is an addiction, say smoking, why not picture yourself tied to a stake. Every cigarette you light up makes the fire burn higher. Untie the rope. Free yourself from the fire.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is, in itself, Self-Help, because you have taken the first step to helping yourself, by screaming for the ladder.
Spend the next week looking at problems and ask yourself, rope or ladder?