Observing Patterns of Existence: Your Destructive Pendulums Revealed

“People don’t have business problems. They have personal problems that reflect themselves in business.” -Sam Ovens

Months after completing the best business course ever (that link is referral if you’re interested), I am still processing what I’ve learned. I rushed through week I and week II of the course, yet I’m finding those weeks to be the most valuable, funny enough.

That quote above was found on I believe week II, in which course creator Sam Ovens spends a whole week to immerse you in your mindset & mentality so that you don’t fuck up all the valuable information you learn.

It was difficult to go through Week 2’s content because I didn’t always understand initially how relevant it was. For example, one thing he talks about is your “Patterns of Existence” over a macro period of time.

It’s hard to observe these things until you become aware that it exists- and now that I’m aware, and have been aware for months, I can observe my negative patterns of existence play out over many months.

Another critical thing taught in Week 2 is that success is not about playing up your strengths, but minimizing your weaknesses. This is counter-intuitive to typical mainstream feel-good content which is all about “focus on your strengths.”

But when applied, this way of thinking actually makes sense. You could have a ship as awesome as the titanic, but it only takes one hole (weakness) to sink it. Same is true for your life: it doesn’t matter how many healthy habits you have if you shoot up heroin and undo all the good you’ve done over the course of years.

The problem is that many of our true weaknesses are not obviously apparent. My obvious weaknesses are easiest to mitigate because I know that they exist. The long-term, macro patterns are extremely difficult to realize without a high degree of awareness.

Observing Long-Term Patterns of Existence

Your “pattern of existence” is basically the yin/yang of your life spread out over a period of time.

One example of this is the entrepreneur who hustles really hard when times are tough, then blows away his earnings when times are good. His “peak” and “low point” are unconsciously defined. When at the low point he hustles and shapes up, and when nearing the peak he becomes lazy and loses it all.

As I wrote it’s extremely hard to observe this. Some patterns may become obvious with some reflection after reading this, but I guarantee that you will be reflecting back on this post (if you truly indulge in it) months later as now you will be consciously aware that this exists.

I’ve recently become more and more aware of my long-term patterns of existence. That is, the deceptive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors I have that feel so relevant in the moment but end up being quite destructive in the long run.

That’s because in the moment they are helpful. But long-term they end up trapping me into a cycle which I’ve been on for years.

One of my Long-Term Destructive Pendulums

One long-term destructive pattern I’ve had is a period of “immersion” in one subject in which I neglect other areas of my life in order to fulfill a singular task. Instead of balancing multiple areas of life, I find myself jumping too deeply into one.

The best example of this is my business immersion upon returning to Bulgaria. I decided that I just wanted to focus on business, and became obsessed with making progress. I neglected other areas of my life to work all day.

But slowly an explosion started to come… When what I was doing didn’t produce results, I snapped and spent 3ish weeks not being productive at all. In fact, it was embarrassing just how unproductive I was in those 3 weeks, especially when compared to my previous month of intense progress.

Suddenly my social needs started screaming, and I began to date, hangout, party, and do what I needed to in order to get my social needs were met. In the past couple weeks I’ve had dozens upon dozens of new Facebook contacts added, and created some pretty awesome group parties and group dinners and other group-related events!

But this was not sustainable either. My period of immersion into this area of my life neglects business, so I know obviously that I must get back on the productivity train. I need to deliver results for my clients and I need to get new clients for long-term sustainability in my career.

This has been a pattern for quite some time. In fact, it’s a bit of a blow to the ego to realize just how unconscious I was of this. Let’s go back into my life and observe this:

  1. When I first moved to Phoenix from Omaha (mid 2016), I went through a 6-month period of social immersion. I didn’t work much.
  2. Then I went through a period of business immersion in which I severely lacked a social life but ended up launching my business (first 6 months of 2017).
  3. Then I shot back into a period of social life & dating when I moved to Montreal (last 6 months of 2017)
  4. Then I got a girlfriend, and ended up focusing a lot on health and improving my health (first 6 months of 2018)
  5. But then my business nearly collapsed, so I re-immersed myself in business, and ended up breaking up with her as I realized it was not a healthy relationship (last 6 months of 2018).

These are extremely rough estimates and of course there are yin/yang drops in between, but even over a 6 month period I can see how I go through different boom-bust cycles.

These cycles have become shorter and shorter recently, but are still there nonetheless. There are also other cycles.

Dissolving the Pendulum of Existence

Consciousness is the starting point when it comes to dissolving any egoic pattern, especially the unconscious ones. That doesn’t make it easy though- you have to consciously go against what you’re feeling in the moment for the sake of balance, but not so much against what you’re feeling such so that the pendulum inverts.

In my case I’m trying to introduce some balance in my life, which I’ve written about previously. I need to find a way to balance social life and business as these are the two big areas of my life now that my health is consistently great no matter what happens in this boom-bust cycle.

This means working less and socializing less such so that both areas of life can be handled at once. I actually did a great job of this while I was living in Thailand earlier this year, as I would work hard throughout the day but never work past 5PM / 17h- that time was reserved for social gatherings and/or dating.

I think that when I finally get a home base (hopefully by later this year) I will be able to implement more of this balance in my life too. Constantly traveling to new places presses the “reset” button on the social life progress made, whereas when you live in one place and have regular friends it’s a lot easier then to work until 5PM then be DONE because people want to hangout with you anyways.

What are your Patterns?

As I’m learning in life, improvement is really not about maximizing your strengths- it’s about handling your weaknesses because those are the things which fuck you up. Goliath was taken out by David through one tiny weakness, all of his strengths mattered not when compared to David.

The first step is observation and awareness. The answers become more clear when you observe… Without observation, you don’t even realize that you have a problem!

Now that I know one of my biggest long-term destructive patterns of existence, the solution can come up. Instead of me writing stories about my struggles or endlessly searching on Google for solutions to my problem, I can relax and let the answers arise from within, as the problem comes from within…

-Michael Keller