If we are fortunate enough to avoid an accidental or catastrophic end to our existence, we may be a candidate for a long and natural life. If a natural life is our destiny, we probably will enter this world and exit it at a predictable VALLEY of our life cycle. Of course there are some exceptions to our status at exit time, however few will disagree that when we enter this world, we are weak and dependent beings with no place to go but up.
From childbirth through our teenage years, we all grow at predictable levels that most parents and individuals understand and look forward to. From when we get our first tooth, to when we take our first step, to when we ride our first two wheel bicycle Ė this growth chart trends upward, just like the growth chart of a start-up company of a successful entrepreneur. However, both of these growth charts are still subject to peaks and valleys.
Letís make a chart comparison between the educational and skill level growth of teens and young adults with that of a growth company. Both have a great deal in common. Not because they are two unique situations, but because everything about life revolves around peaks and valleys. Understanding this concept can make our lives enriched and easier to manage throughout our visit to this great planet.
In the case study of students, some invest their time and usually their parentís assets to obtain skills that they can use to acquire a lucrative career. Their learning curve and retention of knowledge may curve upward for four years of high school and peak out, as they skip college and take a job to pay for their car and entertainment. Or a second group of students may go to college for four years as their learning curve peaks out at a bachelorís degree. Or perhaps a third group of students go on for a masters or even doctorate degree or further, before their learning curve peaks out, making them qualified for an even more lucrative career. Even though all groups experience peaks and valleys, the apex will be higher for those who continue learning. Their curves will dip occasionally and then move up again if focus and diligence is practiced. The key here is to try and make the valleys temporary and always keep reaching for higher peaks by learning and reinventing your skills and abilities throughout your life. Although accredited college degrees are a preferred course of study Ė itís not the only method to keep the growth curve climbing. Self education, reading, research, audio learning, adult classes, workshops and seminars can get you just as far in life if you learn methodically and apply your skills diligently.
In the case of a startup company - lots of energy and long, tough
hours are a part of the job description of a successful entrepreneur; the same type of energy that a successful student must invest in the classroom or library. Attention to important details and developing your skills and knowledge a little each day is the same formula for success for both entrepreneurs and students. Then offering extraordinary value to those you serve Ė is a prerequisite for success for the business person as well as the graduating student starting his new job. The key to both these examples is STEADY UPWARD GROWTH as you MANAGE the PEAKS and VALLEYS each year.
The question for this lesson is, "Why do some people peak earlier
than others do, and begin the downtrend into stagnation?" This question can pertain to our health, our relationships, our assets, our investing strategies or just about every aspect of life. By studying and understanding this phenomenon, we can help our curves remain higher, for a longer portion of our life.
I believe one key answer lies in never becoming complacent. In our jobs or careers, when you begin to believe that you do everything right and know all there is to know Ė you are headed for a valley. To keep your curve moving upward you must constantly learn and grow and add value to those you serve. Once you believe you have done enough at work to surf the waves, a wipeout will soon approach and drop you deep into a valley.
Or how about your health or relationships with your loved ones Ė are you complacent? If so, expect those valleys and curves to spiral downward regarding each. Itís important to follow fundamentally sound routines regarding your health and never stop nurturing your important relationships. How about your investments? Complacency and emotions will lead your investment curves to spiral steadily downward if you allow them to.
In summary, we cannot avoid peaks and valleys in our life. However, we can manage them by understanding why they occur and avoid the downward spirals. Keep growing so your charts can move slowly and steadily upward.