Moving Forward by Moving Downward
The concept that moving upward is moving forward is true; but upward is not the only direction for progress.
The path downward is an inevitable part of life’s journey. What happens when you get to the top of the mountain, but you cannot live there? The path downward will lead you forward to the comforts of home, or to the opportunity to climb another mountain.
It could be detrimental to allow pride, ignorance, fear and other negative emotions to prevent you from stepping down; and consequently, hurt your chances of moving forward.
Here are some scenarios with reference to decisions about moving downward in everyday situations. Read all the scenarios then respond to the poll.
Which three of the scenarios justify stepping down?
- Trying to hold on to a stressful job position which is causing you sleepless nights and stomach ulcers;
- Sitting on the fence, figuratively, rather than voice an opinion which may cost you some popularity;
- Standing firm for justice on behalf of someone who is innocently accused;
- Placed on a pedestal by followers who put you there on faulty assumptions.
Except for scenario 3, it may hurt your pride to come down from your pedestal, but coming down offers the freedom to move on.
Coming Down to Go Forward
In this story1, see how coming down was literally, socially and morally the best step forward that the individual ever made.
It is a story about a short man whose vision was blocked by the stature of his peers hovering above him. It was not his fault that he was born short. Poor man! He was rich, but his money could not push him upward to make him as physically tall as he wanted to be.
One day, he heard that a new Master Teacher was walking through the streets of his city and he was determined to see Him; but as short as he was, he could not be sure that he would. He came up with a plan. He moved himself upward—up on a tree.
The wise Master Teacher called the short man by name and asked him to come down—down to reality. His pretentious height did not do him any good. He needed to put his feet on the ground and face his deficiency and his hypocrisy.
When the man came down, he got the courage to repent from selfishness, and the wisdom to accept restoration and redemption from the Master Teacher. If coming down made him feel humiliated, that feeling did not last long. The short man moved beyond all negativity—by stepping downward and forward.
(1) Take Control
First, know yourself. Take responsibility for your life and the direction in which you want it to go. When you come to a crossroad, decide what step best suits your purpose. If it is a downward move, do not hesitate.
- Why would would listen to other people telling you what move you should make?
- Whose purpose are you pursuing whether you move upward or downward?
At the end of the journey, your satisfaction will center around moves that you thought you should make, and made despite where the road took you.
(2) Let Common Sense Guide
Dan Quayle, former vice president of the United States told a group of students, “We will move forward, we will move upward, and yes, we will move onward.”2 A little verbose, you think?
He also said, in another speech, “Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."3
The message is that you are never sure what people are talking about. Do not write in stone what people say on a whim. Even weigh your own words. They may be right for one situation, but not for another. Use your common sense to figure out what is your best action at the given time. Only you can decide what moving forward means for you.
(3) Be Open-Minded
Do not allow your mind to be locked in by the negative connotations which other people attach to "down."
- Down is a direction; the original meaning has no reference to misfortune or failure.
Remember how Bob Barker4, when he hosted (1972-2007) The Price Is Right on television, called for the contestants to “Come on Down?" They happily ran down the aisle, focused on the opportunity to have fun and win prizes, not on the direction of down. The show aired with several different hosts, none of whom had a problem with people responding to "Come on Down."
You may not realize what moving downward will mean for you, before you see the big picture. If down is where Providence seems to be leading you, follow.
(4) Make the Move for You
If you are in your right mind, nobody knows better than you whether moving downward is the best move for you.
You may be in a relationship which seems to pull you upward socially with the promise of an improved lifestyle. Your relatives may be cheering for you and even encouraging you to put up with some minor abuse, rather than come down from your elevated social status. It is up to you to decide whether moving down and out is the next step toward moving forward.
Make the application in whatever situation you find yourself now or in the future. At the end of the day, you will find that your move encourages others to make their move. When you do what is right for you, you empower yourself to help others.
Bear in mind that you move downward in order to move upward again. When you start your new climb, there will be spectators cheering and following, and even if you do not see or hear them, follow your heart.
1. Bible Gateway: Luke 19: 1-10, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers (1982)
2. California State University, Sacramento State, The Wit and Wisdom of Dan Quayle (visited 03/31/2014).
4. Bio. True Story: Bob Barker Biography, Synopsis, (1996-2013)
© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers