We are not the highest version of ourselves which we can imagine.
We are the lowest version of ourselves which we can accept.
Understand that you will do nothing to achieve your dreams but fight like hell to not breach your standards.
As humans, we will do more to not lose something than we will to gain it.
If you want to achieve your dreams and goals you must turn them into irrefutable standards.
– Sam Ovens
Sum Average Peak = Lowest Acceptable Valley + Highest Imaginable Peak / 2
The quote above by Ovens states that we are incapable of realizing our highest dreams until they become our lowest acceptable standard, or the sum average of our lowest acceptable valley and highest imaginable peak in any given area of life. This means that in order for our dreams to come true, they must become our new standards.
The work I have done here seeks to provide you with a platform for consciously surfacing your lifestyle patterns to shed light on the darkness that creates anxiety, fear, and ultimately suffering in your life. The same patterns that hold you back from realizing your maximum potential.
We will seek an answer to a question that before personally asking myself I believed that life was a series of peaks and valleys out of my control…
Why did I have a tendency to build my life up then destroy it with a few old habits that seemed to sit on my shoulders, stalking me, just waiting for the time to engage in all-out destructive warfare against my life?
When I sat down and answered this question for all areas of my life, things began to radically change and falling back into old behaviors became less and less desirable because I now consciously knew where they would inevitably pull me to.
Today, I am going to share with you some work that has the potential to radically transform your life. Let’s dive right in.
Duality: Light vs. Darkness | Construction vs. Destruction
Have you ever wondered why you get super inspired, clearly define what you want in life, make significant progress, then a seemingly dark voice starts telling you that what you wanted in the beginning is not what you want now, that all your work you have done to get you to where you are is going to come crashing down, that you should just go back to your old ways of living, or worse yet, dabble in destructive behavior?
And, equally so, why is there a seemingly all loving light guiding you in life when you are experiencing the most joy, enriching relationships, business prosperity and progress toward peak health?
This is because within all of us there is light and darkness. And, our willingness to cast light onto the darkness is a cornerstone in turning our dreams into standards, our suffering into healing, and our sadness into joy.
See our darkness hates the light, but in shedding light onto the areas that we most despise we gain the power necessary to rest them at bay and focus on constructing the healthy lifestyle, relationships and businesses we most desire.
I found these patterns of peaks and valleys present in every single area of my life. I would build my body into an unstoppable health machine, then I’d allow myself a few days of bad food, a couple of weeks of skipping training, maybe a night out to party and all hell would break loose… before I knew it, all the constructive habits I’d built were replaced with destructive addictions that ruined me. The darkness took hold once again.
I found this same yoyo effect in every single area of my life; business, relationships, cleanliness of my room, my mindset. Cause and effect ruled everything.
Denial | Avoiding the Truth
Many of us live in a state of denial, unwilling to face to the bitter truth that there is, in, fact a big pile of dark fuck demons thriving in the silence of our own minds. Although we are aware of what a certain action leads to, we continue to repeat it as though the outcome will be different this time. We are stuck in a perpetual feedback loop from hell and the only way out is to become aware of what causes the loop so we can break free. This work seeks to do just that.
Life is a Series of Unavoidable Peaks and Valleys. WRONG.
Have you ever heard someone say their life is nothing but a series of peaks and valleys?
While there is some truth to this statement, it is also very much false.
See there are some valleys in life that are completely unavoidable… the death of a loved one, disease, injury, accidents, heartbreak, loss of a job… you get the point.
What we fail to recognize is that most of the valleys we experience in life are the result of behaviors we choose to engage in that lead to self-created suffering. And, failure to recognize what these behaviors are can drag our lives into a valley that has a black hole in the bottom of it. We might get stuck, unable to break free.
See, the law of cause and effect rules most everything we experience in life. A simple example is that of the skinny fat athlete. This version of the athlete is able to climb a mountain or run a half marathon off the couch but hates their body as a result of not living up to their highest standards of excellence. And, the cause of this is simple and clear… bad eating and no exercise/training routine is in place to support a clear objective.
So, really this work you are about to embark on is about identifying the behaviors that lead you into a lifestyle that feels like you are stuck in a valley of life so that you can avoid them and focus on the behaviors that bring you to the next peak.
What Is This Work
This work seeks to clearly define the patterns that exist in your life so that you can become consciously aware of the actions that lead to physical and emotional suffering as a result of fear, anxiety, stress, and the opposing positives of love, compassion, growth, and peace. One leads us to the peaks of prosperity while the other drags us to depths of despair on the valley floor.
While there is suffering in life, a lot of the causes of this suffering are entirely within our own control. The problem is, many of us are unconscious to these causes and whenever we begin to feel a bit of anxiety, stress, or indication that something is not right, we numb ourselves out with distraction so we do not have to feel that feeling, or think that thought. This is true in business, with our health, and in our social relationships.
What Does This Have to Do With Anxiety?
You might be asking… what does this have to do with anxiety?
Well, anxiety is exhibited by living in a state of worry and fear about everyday things, it leads to stress, depression, lost sleep, and no motivation to pursue our dreams.
And, guess what, we create a lot of it. We allow circumstances “mostly within our control” to continue to wreck war on our lives. This is because we continue to repeat the same behaviors that would fall into our bucket of habits in our “Lowest Acceptable Valley”.
Protecting Ourselves On The Descent
While preparing, planning, and taking actions to reach a new peak in life is necessary, protecting our downsides should be of the utmost importance. See our true character will shine in the light of undesirable circumstances; an injury or diagnosis that sets back our athletic objective, a disagreement or action in a relationship that causes pain, or financial instability in our business.
Like in climbing, life is more about preparing ourselves for a safe descent than it is about the ascent, after all most accidents happen on the way down because once we reach the top we think we have achieved everything. This same principle applies to our health, relationships, and business. When things are going good, and we are working toward a new peak, our habits support growth, but once we reach a peak, too often we let the habits that got us to the top slide. This pulls us back down to the valley and hinders our growth.
Triggers, Habits, and Patterns
It is important to understand the basics of triggers, habits, and patterns in the context of our daily life so that we can put in place things that trigger us to engage in healthy habits that move our lives forward and avoid those that lead to anxiety, avoidant behaviors and ultimately suffering.
Triggers are social (friends, family, work, relationships), environmental (where we live, work, play) or emotional (stress, grief, anxiety, depression, happiness, joy, excitement) experiences that remind people of a behavior. These cues lead to the urge to engage in both constructive and destructive activities which when repeated become habit and eventually our way of life (patterns). The way we respond to or cope with these triggers effects our way of life (patterns).
Habits are actions that we consciously or unconsciously repeat. Some of them are good; brushing our teeth twice daily, eating healthy food, exercising each day, drinking water first thing, while others are destructive; smoking cigarettes, snorting lines of cocaine, spending money on useless shit, biting our fingernails, drinking to numb out, and avoidance behaviors; like putting off important things for unimportant bullshit.
Patterns represent our lifestyle. Have you ever heard people say… life is full of peaks and valleys? Well those peaks and valleys represent our patterns of existence or peaks and valleys that are the sum experience of the habits that we repeatedly do.
See coming to understand all of this will help us work through an exercise that will clearly show you why certain peaks and valleys display themselves in your life.
My Personal Peaks and Valleys in Business
My personal ability to grow is directly correlated to my willingness to kindly, compassionately and wholeheartedly take an objective analysis of my peaks, valleys and habits, acknowledge that I am a human transformative project in progress, and that just because I did the work to reach a new peak in my health and fitness, relationships and business, that does not mean I am done, it was only the beginning of a lifetime job.
I have learned that awareness is the first step to radical change and becoming aware of what my lowest acceptable standards empower me with the ability to consciously raise the bar of what my sum average lifestyle actually is. Only then can I begin to move closer to my grandest dreams imaginable.
Once reaching a new peak maintenance and review becomes an absolute necessity to keeping my demons that once thrived, silent and at bay so that when they begin to whisper I can smile at them with strength, love and a willingness to take the opposite actions that lead my life upward toward the next peak and not three steps backward toward a valley of the past.
In an effort to inspire your own personal work, I am going to openly share my own. While some of which I have included in my peaks and valleys graphs is not relevant to you, I do believe that openly sharing these bits of intimate detail will inspire you to dig a little deeper into what has caused your personal peaks and valleys in life, health, relationships and in your business.
As I had previously said, until I went through the work of clearly defining the habits that were the causation of my peaks and valleys in all areas of life, I continued to believe that life was a set of circumstances mostly out of my control. I would make progress in one area, then fall back down as a result of slipping back into a few stupid behaviors that destructed my progress.
In business, I would build my bank account up to a $5000 balance, then spend money on stupid shit until I had $1000 in my account and start freaking out, running around and selling things while looking for odd jobs to make extra cash. The feast and famine mentality and financial roller coaster drove me absolutely nuts. I could not figure out how to get more than $5000 in my bank account, then I realized that this was the sum average of my lowest acceptable valley and highest imaginable peak.
In order to raise the amount of cash that I had in my business account I would have to clearly define what my new lowest acceptable valley is, the behaviors that dig me into that valley and also set a new peak, my highest imaginable amount in my account, along with the behaviors that would empower me with the ability to turn this into a reality.
My new lowest acceptable balance in my business bank account is $12,000 as shown below. While this is an abundance of money relative to my past standards, the only possible way for me to climb far above it is to make it my new lowest acceptable valley. When I reach this low point I start scrambling like in the past, but not with the same level of anxiety and freak, because I know that the law of cause and effect is at play, and I’ve learned how to make it work in my favor.
A peak in business strongly correlates to feelings of fulfillment, growth, joy, and reassurance that the work we are doing really matters, while a valley leads us to a place of despair, where we begin working our asses off to get back up to a peak; doing sales calls, delivering service, and getting paid.
This same principle can be used to map patterns in relationships, health, the cleanliness of our environment. Really everything in life is ruled by this principle of cause and effect.
The problem that most of us experience is that just as soon as we reach a peak, we get a sense that the work is done when really it has only just begun. In order to become successful, and happy, I mean really successful and happy, we must maintain our momentum and build on it by setting our personal standards a little higher. I’ve included a few more personal examples below to help inspire your work.
My Personal Peaks and Valleys in My Romantic Relationship
My Personal Health and Athletic Peaks and Valleys
Your Turn to Begin Mapping the Peaks and Valleys in Your Life
You will get the most value out of this exercise if you take the time to invest in completing it for all of the key areas of your life that you want to experience personal and professional growth. If that task seems daunting, at the very least complete it for your mindset, health, relationships, and business.
I’ve put together a simple to follow worksheet for you to print or copy in Google Drive and fill out on your computer. The different sections of the worksheet are clearly defined in the terminology section below.
Remember your current lowest acceptable valley in life can become a piece of your past, something that you are no longer willing to accept, but you have to first define what your new lowest acceptable standard is along with your highest imaginable peak.
Elevation: Y – Axis: This is simply a measure of our personal growth, in life we are ascending, descending, maintaining, or growing, falling backward, or stuck in a plateau.
Memory Decay: X – Axis: Memory decay theory proposes that we forget things due to the mere passage of time. The scary thing about this is that as a human it is therefore possible for us to forget about the actions that got us the result of growth, making it easy to fall back into our old ways.
Lowest Acceptable Valley: a low point in a specific area of life exhibited and created by a definitive set of behaviors that we accept our lowest standard of existence, generally stuck in a state of a constant worry.
- Generally Destructive: They do not get me closer to my dreams and goals.
- Avoidant Habits: drugs, alcohol, exercise, excessive adventure, other behaviors that allow you to avoid what is important now.
- Maybe beginning to get everything together and start doing the things to get your life back together.
- Consistent Anxiety, Depression, Sadness
- Happiness May Come and Go, It is Infrequent
- Comments About Self:
- I do not like myself for what I have been doing.
- I know I can do better than this.
- I need to turn this ship around.
Highest Imaginable Peak: the highest possible dream you can create for yourself in any given area of your life exhibited and created by a specific set of constructive behaviors that build you into an unstoppable warrior.
- Constructive focus toward my goals that matter. Saying no to distractions.
- Saying NO to all past behaviors that wreck my life.
- Saying NO to people, places and things that trigger past behaviors.
- “The High on Life” My dream is a reality.
- Comments About Self:
- I knew I could this, I’m such a badass.
- Wow, great job, you can turn your life around and turn your dreams into a reality.
- I’m so grateful to the people that helped me get to this high point in my life, and I am grateful for myself to of had the willingness to do the work and compassion to look at my darkness and change it all.
Sum Average Peak = (Lowest Acceptable Valley + Highest Imaginable Peak) 2
The sum average peak is a state in which we yoyo back and forth between exhibiting behaviors in both our highest imaginable peak and lowest acceptable valley. In order for our highest dreams and goals to come true, they must become our lowest acceptable standard.
Get to work. Map your peaks and valleys, raise your standards, and experience the growth that you most desire in your life.