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Hill Tops and Creek Beds

There is a great book called "Peaks and Valleys" by Spencer Johnson, M.D. The book speaks on we have and create good times and bad times in our lives and how the ego is the driving the force of these "good" and "bad" times. Events are always unfolding, it is our judging them good or bad that creates the moods of these times. Tony Robbins comments on this in funny way when he says "we all like good surprises, right? But when we get a surprise we don't like, we call it a problem." Often something that seems like a bad thing initially, turns out to be good or benign after a period of time, maybe years.

The central theme of the book - what we do in bad times creates our good times and what we do in good times creates our bad times - has shown itself to be true in my life and in the lives of those around me. This can be seen in the diet and exercise routine that is followed until you have lost the weight or put on the muscle and then you stop. The "bad time" of being overweight and unfit caused you to eat better and workout until you achieved that "good time" and then lost the motivation to continue.

Three ways I use the lessons from the book as often as possible:

  1. Do not judge what is happening in terms of good or bad, just see what is happening as events unfolding and ask yourself "How is this happening for me?" "What can I learn?"

  2. Keep your eye towards the peak, there will be challenging times and the better you are able to act in alignment with your goal, the sooner you will make it to that peak to enjoy the high and the view.

  3. Remain humble, the valleys have a way of striking humility into our very being, forcing us to come to terms with the limits of our control in this world. Remember that in the good times and continue to act as humble as if you were in the valley while enjoying the view from the peak.

I love the reference to peaks and valleys; in times that we feel are harder we are working against some force, an event has occurred or going to occur that is not to our liking and it is challenging for us to recreate circumstance to our liking. That is hard work, an "uphill battle" if you will. When you have overcome that battle, by either changing your circumstance or changing of your perception and expectation you feel high up and the view is wonderful.


The title easily lends itself to several possible 4X4 metaphors, so lets dig in. On a tough uphill climb it can be tempting to underestimate an obstacle or over estimate you and your rigs' ability. Getting impatient or over confident by going full send on a gnarly rock pile can break parts and leave you in the valley of trail repairs, where you will gain a new appreciation for "what you do in bad times....." will hopefully allow you to get home before sundown. On the other hand, checking your ego - remaining humble - and slowly working your way over the obstacle will have you feeling like you're at the peak even before you get there.

The bottom and the top of the mountain are the same. When we are at the bottom we have the potential for a great climb and excitement. At the top we have overcome great challenges and worked for a rewarding view. Both can be enjoyed!

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