For a person who wants to get somewhere in his life, what should be the height of his ceiling and how low should be his floor?

Our ceiling is our best, whatever our best might be: inspiration, creativitity, a high spiritual state, peace of mind, a clear, or expanded, consiousness, and so on – we would like to believe that this is where our real self is. Or that we are on the way to get there, or that we are learning how to get there. And that if we put most of our attention and effort in getting there- we will be there for good. We usually hardly pay any attention to the floor, but what is the floor? The floor is our standards, the level below which we will not allow ourselves to drop. Without the “floor“ we would drop into an abyss (whatever this “abyss“ might be). We all should have “won’t have areas“– “won’t have areas“ are what we don’t allow ourselves, the tools for implementing “will not have areas“, are standards and self-discipline.

Other names for making a floor are putting borders or boundaries, which is: putting a limit to something. When something is getting out of the right path, becomes wild or uncontrolled – it needs a boundary. A solid floor is made by much-emphasized borders that one marks within himself. Another tool to establish a floor that will block the fall into an endless abyss – is saying no. What we are saying no to, how often we do, how difficult it is for us to say no to us, and how effective it is – will constitute the strength of our floor. It is much more difficult to say no than to say yes. We love to say “yes“ to things, and hate to say “no“. But without saying “no“, our “yes“ will be spoiled by what will bring our “yes“ down.  

An example: the closer our waking up time is to the time we know we should wake up, the higher is our floor and the smaller is the distance between our ceiling and the floor (the level below which he will not allow yourself to drop).

When I refer to a small distance between the floor and the ceiling – the question is: is the bottom (the floor) close to the level of the top, or is the top closer to the bottom? If it is the first option, then it is the best option, (a high ceiling and a high floor), high best and high standards. The other option is less desired (the top is close to the level of the bottom). It means that your best is controlled by high discipline, and too high discipline does not allow your best to fly as high as it could.

The higher your floor is, the more powerful are your standards, self-imposed, not letting you go below a certain level. The lower your floor is, the weaker are your standards, and the lower you let yourself drop, especially at a time of difficulty or crisis.

The worst combination is a high ceiling and low floor, here the stretch between the height of the ceiling and the lowest point of the floor  – makes for an unstable life, which gets crushed from very high to very low: a crisis.

The best combination is a high ceiling and high floor, meaning that the distance between your top and your bottom is very small. This is a stable balanced life. The other option is a low ceiling and high floor, this person has a lot of self-discipline but his best is not developed or elaborated. The last option is a low ceiling and low floor, this is a locked life: no self-discipline, no best, no nothing, a desert. In the end, for people who are on a spiritual journey, what is the greatest letdown? The ceiling or the floor? The answer is clear and simple: the floor, this is the greatest neglect. People on a spiritual quest would like to be in a high state all the time and do as little self-work and effort as possible, what is it like, by analogy? To buy expensive stuff – and pay as little as possible, for it.

Aim for High Ceilings and Low Floors

More people are becoming spiritual dropouts because of low floors rather than because of low ceilings. Yes, actually, it is easier to reach high states than to keep your state from being spoiled by letting yourself drop below your “will not have areas“ (having high standards). 

Now, there are two ways to build and maintain a good solid floor: one is a long way, the other is a short way. Of course, most people (who do choose to invest in a good strong floor) choose the short way, very few choose the long way.

The short way is the masculine, yang way, here you exert powerful pressure all at once to force an immediate result.

The long way is the feminine, soft, yin – way, it is done by cooperation not by one-way pressure. It is done by a dialogue with the new standard being implemented. It is done with the aid of qualities such as patience, perseverance, being tuned in, many small continuous effortless efforts.

It doesn’t take long to do it in the masculine aggressive way, you see immediate results, but the heat generated by the aggression is harmful. People want to see immediate results, they believe that what doesn’t come by force, will come by more force.

The feminine way takes long; not by one big push, but by little ongoing persistent suggestions. This is a cooling way, which preserves the best without it being damaged.

For the problem with the short way is that it is too coarse and aggressive for the gentle being of bests such as inspiration, creativity, spirituality, consciousness clarity etc. The hotter and coarser the pressure of self-discipline is, the more destructive it is on our best.

The Road Not Taken 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

By Robert Frost

Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.

Winston Churchill

Self-discipline is doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done even when you don’t feel like doing it.


Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.

Lao Tzu

This quality of self-denial in pursuit of a longer-term goal and, indeed, the willpower to maintain the denial, is excellent training for the boardroom.

John Viney Drive
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