Ladders and Chutes


You are probably familiar with the Milton Bradley family board game Chutes and Ladders, but you may not know about Ladders and Chutes. On a lazy summer day, Ahna (9) was playing the game against her doll. I looked up from my reading to notice something was amiss.

“How are you already up at the top of the board?” I asked.

“Oh,” she grinned. “That’s where I start.”

She explained that she begins at the finish and works toward the start by scooting up the chutes and climbing down the ladders to make it more interesting.

“It changes the scenarios,” she giggled.

“Like this one. The boy empties out his piggy bank and then goes up the chute to break a window with his baseball bat. He was thinking ahead.”

I marveled at how playing the game backward makes it a whole new experience and it reminded me when I learned about “turnarounds” from the work of Byron Katie. Katie’s work focuses on four questions and the last is a turnaround. “Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed.” Click here for her resources:

By changing pronouns and the word ‘should’ to ‘shouldn’t’ you can turnaround a judging statement like “My coworker should be nicer to me.”


I should be nicer to my coworker.
I should be nicer to myself.
My coworker shouldn’t be nicer to me.

Each of these turnarounds causes us to slow down and ask ourselves, “Is this as true or more true than my original statement?” When I went through this list and read “I should be nicer to myself,” I breathed. Yes, this was more true than my original statement. By focusing energy on what my coworker was doing and saying, I was feeling frustrated and lost. With the turnaround I was able to refocus on being kind and gentle to myself. When I did that, what my coworker did and said mattered a lot less because I was focused on me.

Turning a situation on its head is a valuable experience.

What kind of ladders-to-chutes turnarounds have you tried? What freedom is waiting for you there?

One thought on “Ladders and Chutes

  1. Heather, like always you hit the nail on the head. With apparent ease and simplicity you reveal a challenging truth. After reading this, you are back in my head. Welcome.

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