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Editor’s noteThis week we will be posting a series of book reviews prepared by Pam Banks. These reviews are also available to watch on Roger’s TV In Business Program. See link below.

Peaks and Valleys – by Spencer Johnson

By Pam Banks

Peaks and Valleys is a book about a few simple principles and practical tools to use for success.  It’s about finding the hidden “good” in bad times to use it for the future.

The author, Spencer Johnson, who also wrote “Who Moved My Cheese”, uses as simple story to illustrate some practical tools.  The story goes like this:

There was a young man who had lived in a valley his whole life.  As he grew older he became increasingly unhappy although he wasn’t sure why.  He spent a lot of time in the valley looking up at the range of majestic mountains that rose up above the valley, and for a while felt better.  Eventually he   decided to climb up the peak, where he found an old man.  The old man introduced him to the concept of  “Peaks and Valleys approach to good and bad times.”

Peaks and valleys are like the highs and lows in our life.  Peaks are the moments when you appreciate what you have and the valleys are moments when you long for what is missing.  It’s what you do in the bad times, that creates the good times.  For example let’s say you lose your job.  Naturally you are angry, but what if you looked at this as an opportunity to leave a job that you weren’t really suited for – and you had the freedom to pursue something better.  If you were hiring a new employee, what would you look for – someone who was down trodden or someone with a positive attitude.

It’s usually the person with the better attitude that gets a better job.

When we are on top we are invincible.  But things do change and when we find ourselves back on the bottom or in the valley, it gets harder to climb back out to the top.  The most common reason we leave a peak too soon is arrogance masquerading as confidence.  The most common reason you stay in a valley too long is fear masquerading as comfort.

The best way to stay up on the peak or at the top of your game is to have a vision of who you are and where you want to be.  Just like the best athletes, the vision must be sensible and practical.  For example, if you want your company to be a major player in technology you need to be practical in the steps you take to get you to the top.  You need to structure the organization for growth, protect your IP and find investors.

In summary the peaks and valleys concept can be applied at work and in our personal life.  We can manage good, and bad times, so make reality your friend.  To get out of a valley, find the good hidden in a bad time, and use it to your advantage.  Appreciate good times – be humble and save some resources for the next valley and follow your sensible vision.

This is a great uplifting and practical book to get you thinking “positive” in turbulent economic times.

Pam is Commercialization Director for RIC Centre. She is a regular book reviewer on the business program  In Business on Rogers TV. Watch Pam’s review  of Peaks and Valleys

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