As you look back on the peaks and valleys in your life, what stands out for you? I can imagine you might be thinking something like this: "The valleys are oh, so bad; and the peaks are so, so high and wonderful." Does this sound about right? Or perhaps you say, "I don't get enough peaks!"
I just read Spencer Johnson's (author of The Precious Present & Who Moved My Cheese?) new book, Peaks and Valleys: Making Good and Bad Times Work for You -At Work and In Life. Like his other works it is told in story form and carries a profound message. In a nutshell---
A valley is a time when you're longing for something you don't have - what's missing.
A peak is a time when you appreciate what you do have.
It's so simple isn't it? We humans try to make things so complicated and dramatic.
We can best handle the peaks and valleys by looking at the situation and asking, "What is the truth in this situation?" and we can change a valley into a peak by finding and using the good that is hidden in the bad time. There are always valleys between peaks, and how you manage your valley determines how soon you reach your next peak. In other words we can sit and stew in the valley or we can look for the gift of the valley and how it can make us a better person, a smarter leader, or a more respectful employer. You will have fewer bad times when you appreciate and manage your good times wisely.
Sometimes the reason the peaks don't last because of our ego, our arrogance masquerading as confidence. Likewise, the reason we sometimes stay in the valley too long is fear, masquerading as comfort.
The most profound thing here for me is that all valleys are associated with fear! So how does one move beyond the fear? Thinking about the fear is certainly not the way. What works is what the author calls a 'sensible vision' - focus on the next peak. The key is to focus on what's next, what you want it to look like, in other words your vision for your future; and get all your senses involved. It is impossible to remain afraid when you're focused on what you want rather than what you don't want, which is the fear.
So find and use the good hidden in the bad times, appreciate and manage the good times and get to your next peak by envisioning. When you imagine yourself enjoying your better future in specific detail - soon you will enjoy doing what it takes to get you there!