Want To Raise The Quality Of Your Life? Raise Your Standards!

BryanReeves1It seems like every single wildly successful transformational/motivational/spiritual speaker/author I’ve ever encountered has a story to tell about the awful time in their lives when they were homeless, sleeping in an alley/bus-stop/car/empty field, washing their clothes in a Denny’s bathroom or their hair with the 7-Eleven soda machine (discreetly). They were either cracked out, drunk, disorderly, abused and rejected, or sober but fat, sick and utterly despondent.

They describe this moment as a time when their lives were so broken, there genuinely appeared no farther to fall. The next stop on their journey into the dark abyss was surely death … in fact, in their stories, something always does seem to die in their car, on the doorsteps of the homes they were just evicted from, or in that Denny’s bathroom at 4am: their former selves who embraced extremely low standards – or no standards – for their lives. That low-standard self has to die in the fire of transformation so a new self can be born, one with the fierce determination to say, “No more! My life is bullsh*t! I now insist on entirely new standards for myself!”

Flash forward ten years and they’re living in the home of their wildest dreams, married to their Princess/Prince of Arabia, acting as principal adviser to the Supreme Galactic Council and serving as general champion for humanity across the land. It’s a beautiful story, one I’m sure is often mostly true.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be homeless to experience authentic transformation. You don’t have to lose your family and sleep in the bus station to get that the life you’ve been living isn’t working and begin creating real change. You might have to experience being destitute in spirit, however, in the sense that you’ve finally and completely lost all hope that your current life strategies will ever work to make you authentically happy.

A few years ago I was in a really chaotic long-term relationship that I just could not extricate myself from. I was like that monkey with his hand gripped tightly around the candy-bait inside a coconut trap. All I had to do was let go of the candy and pull out my hand, but I wanted that sticky sweet candy so badly, I just gripped on more tightly as I desperately tried yanking my hand out to escape, all while the hunter kept whacking me mercilessly on the head with his club.

So I polled all my wisest friends, desperate for insight, and asked them, “How do you know when it’s really time to end a relationship?”

The essential averaged-out answer was this: “When you just can’t f*cking take it anymore!

I was hoping for something a little more technical, like “when your partner lies to you” or “when you don’t really respect each other anymore” … although I knew neither would do since she and I had crossed those thresholds years prior.

Nope, the answer I got over and over was “when you just can’t f*cking take it anymore!” … which meant it was all up to me!!

If something in your life genuinely isn’t working for you, and hasn’t been for a long time, and you tolerate it, then you clearly haven’t had your genuine Showering-At-Denny’s (SAD) moment yet.  Every minute you let it persist, you’re deciding you can take more, hurt more, fall farther, suffer deeper.

A few months back I moved into a home I wasn’t happy living in. Rather than taking steps to get out of there quickly, I painted my scratched-up bedroom closet doors a color I call “putrefying salmon” so I could at least be more comfortable in my discontent. When I reflect back on this, I laugh at myself. I should have made the space MORE uncomfortable to motivate me to get outta there! Instead, as I’ve clearly done across all aspects of my life, I tried to make my low-standards comfortable.

I know nothing outside me is responsible for my happiness. But that doesn’t mean I need to learn how to wash my hair in the 7-11 soda fountain with a big smile. If I ever get to that place, it’ll be entirely by choice.

So while staring at my putrefying salmon-colored doors in a room where I felt small and stagnant, in a home that betrayed my low-standards for living, a home I was even embarrassed to bring a date back to, I had my SAD moment. I was finally, completely over tolerating low-standards. I know because in that moment I decided to move and confirmed the date.

Tony Robbins reminded me recently at the seminar I attended with Mastin and the gang: “If you want to raise the quality of your life, raise your standards.”

Tony Robbins says his SAD moment did NOT come when he slept in a car, which he did, but a few years later when he held an eviction notice in his sober but big, fat, junk-food grubbing hands in a tiny Venice, CA apartment.

You’ll know when you finally hit your ultimate SAD moment because your whole body will come alive and say, “No More!!” … probably with much more colorful language and absolutely with a conviction that ensures life will never again look the same for you.

The good news is you get to decide what your “Showering At Denny’s” moment looks like, when you just can’t f*cking take it anymore. It doesn’t have to involve Denny’s at all. Or a 7-Eleven soda fountain. Or an eviction notice. Or any external lose-everything-drama at all. Unless you want it to.

Are you ready to define your SAD moment for something that’s not working in your life? Have you truly had enough? Tell us about it in the comments below. Shout it out!! Raise the quality of your life by raising your standards!



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A former Captain in the US Air Force, Bryan Reeves is a life breakthrough coach and transformational projects entrepreneur who’s worked alongside world-renowned luminaries such as the Dalai Lama’s Oracle of Tibet, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, Don Miguel Ruiz, Marianne Williamson, Michael Beckwith and many more. Discover Bryan at ManagingTheMagic.com and on Twitter (@bryishere).

  • Lisa

    Seriously brilliant, thanks Bryan

  • thank you Bryan, a much needed message!

    • you’re welcome, Lana … … you know what’s aching to be done!

  • Chocolate Nik

    Thank you Bryan for so eloquently articulating exactly what I am doing with my life. I have actually phrased it “napalming” my life – I walked away from my corporate-climbing-the-ladder-career (which was making me very unhappy and sucking the life force out of me) and I just pulled the plug on a 7 year relationship that has been on life support for close to 3 years. Here’s the crazy part: I feel fantastic!! I feel alive inside for the first time in a long time and am eager for the next chapters in this book of life! What I thought would make me happy clearly didn’t. When did I stop listening to my heart, to my gut, to my inner goddess?? Well I’m back and I have new standards – to check inside of me to ‘see’ how something feels instead of letting my intellect rule. Obviously while my brain thinks it knows best – IT DOESN’T!!! And since I made the decision to napalm my life – magical things have happened. Doors and relationships have opened up. I can feel that I’m on the right track now – all because I couldn’t f**king take it anymore!

    • yes!!! the moment we recognize that something really is out of alignment with our deepest truth and begin to take action, somehow the clouds just seem to start lifting even if the physical details haven’t even begun to shift. I see the same magic you’re talking about. It can be a bit scary … but only until you’ve truly hit you’re genuine SAD moment. When you wake up one day and realize you’ve been living with such low standards that you deeply don’t like your life (or something important in it) nothing is more scary than that!!!

      “Sometimes you have to destroy your life to let the next great thing happen.”
      ~ David Morelli

      Enjoy the adventure Nik.

  • Hi Daily lovers. Well I can say I have had my own SAD moment and I can’t f***ing take it it anymore. I’ve been living with a friend. Who I thought was going to be the best thing for me at the time because we grew up together and I already know his habits. OMG, few months down later I am annoyed and uncomfortable in this discontent and it hurts me. But I am fortunate to say that I am doing something about. I am saving towards my first deposit for my own apartment and by May I will definitely be moving out. I thank God that my destitute experience was spiritual and that I am making the effort to UPGRADE my standards of life.

    • yeah, man. congratulations good for you! and thank you for sharing. it helps inspire us all.

  • NV

    Hi Bryan, love your writing style. SAD moment, I am totally adding that acronym to my vocab. I feel like I have def hit that moment but now feel frozen like ok – now what do I do about it? Where did you go after the salmon colored door place?

    • I’m so glad you asked … in February, I made a decision to find a new home in LA by May 1. I won’t go into the full story, but I actually experienced a moment of wavering in March, rationalizing how I could tolerate it another few months. Well, life would have none of that. Once I made the decision, things happened to ensure I followed through. Then, just last night I got confirmation that I secured an apartment IN MY #1 DESIRED SPOT in Santa Monica at a rent I could afford with a great roommate. It just all came together as I trusted my inner knowing at every step along the way … and yes, there were a few uncertain worrisome moments along the way where I noticed my tendency to rationalize myself back into lower standards, but I made it through and move on May 1 to the best home I’ve had in years.

  • Lisa

    Thanks Byron. Loved it!

    • You’re so welcome! Thank you!

  • That is so awesome and so true!! I love it!!

  • carlam

    I’m at where you are talking about. I thought I had met my SAD moment a year ago, only to discover that nope, it is happening right now. I ended my 26 year marriage over a year and a half ago, and I thought that was the nadir, only to find that it was only a dress rehearsal. I knew I had to leave, that it was the only chance I had to live my life for me, but the fall out was overwhelming – and it took me a long time to figure that out. I was just starting to feel like I was making progress when bam, I got hit again. I shored up in my room and took stock: Why is this happening to me now?? The only answer I could come up with is what you wrote about, I feel intense guilt for ruining our family – and I have consciously or otherwise decided to punish myself because of that. But I read your article and I am coming to realize that you don’t leave a good relationship, and I shouldn’t have to explain to my family or peers why I have made this decision. People have made choices based on my decision, their choice not influenced by me. I am at the darkest place in my life, but I know that returning is just lowering my standards yet again. I have decided to raise my standards, you only get one kick at the can, and if I have to lose some relationships along the way, I have to question how valuable they truly are. My biggest hardship is that my sons blame me for ruining our family, and they have a point – if I had stayed the illusion would still be there, but how authentic is a life if it is made up on illusion. So I have decided to let them grieve in their own way, and to hold me responsible if that is what they need. What I am struggling with is how to honor myself and them at the same time, I don’t want to abandon them, but being with them is somewhat toxic at this point. Any advice?

    • thank you so much for sharing what you’re going through. In my personal experience, honoring someone happens 100% in your own heart. It does not mean doing what they want you to do or what you think would ostensibly make them happy. Actually, I think you dishonor another by ignoring your own truth in an attempt to satisfy them. Just like you can unconditionally love someone while you’re walking out the door, you can deeply honor someone even while they think you’re completely ruining their lives (can you really ruin someone else’s life by simply taking care of your self?)

      I’ve also become a big fan of NOT justifying my life and my choices to other people. Usually people who are living big, open-hearted and fulfilled lives don’t have time (or inclination) to demand justification from others for their actions. And I’m personally not interested in justifying my choices to those who aren’t clearly living with an open-heart.

      I know this isn’t easy what you’re going through, and this is the personal insight that arises for me in the face of your story. I hope it’s helpful. I heard this brilliant quote the other day that really resonated with me, and I probably would have put it in this blog if I had written it later:

      “Sometimes you have to destroy your life to let the next great thing happen.”
      ~ David Morelli

      Your heart is big enough for everything that’s happening. Your heart is big enough to hold and honor your own truth, as well as to hold and honor the truth of your children and those around who disagree with you. Your heart is big enough to love them even as they curse your name. Your heart is also big enough to hold YOU in complete unconditional love as you do your best to navigate this tricky time.

      On behalf of the whole supportive TDL community, I send you a big hug.

      • carlam

        Thank you Bryan, your words give me inspiration. I also got to look at things from a different perspective – what I am reacting to is ego based, when you said “can you really ruin someone else’s life…” I have no such power. All I can do is live my life the way I see best. And yes this is still a tricky time for me, trying to wend my way, but I am going to do so from the perspective of what do I truly want, and how can I do so authentically. I also wish to thank you for such a heart felt response. Please continue blogging and inspiring!!!

        • you’re so welcome … we’re all in this together, learning as we grow.

  • Carla

    Oh right on time.
    My son and I moved into my mom’s home when I divorced…4 years ago. I hate it. My mother is toxic and it’s hard to stay in joy. Very hard.
    Every year I start with, “I’m getting out this year and live my own life!” and it doesn’t happen.
    I feel I can’t take it anymore…to the point everything buggs me here – working at home, the furniture, her presence, every single thing. So, I’m at my SAD moment…now what? How do I let go of the fear of failure and just jump off?

    • You know, what I’ve found is that if when I’m TRULY at my ultimate SAD moment, fear isn’t even a concern anymore. If I have really hit a bottom in an experience, ANYTHING different will be better than staying where I am. I might still experience fear and whatever direction I move in might not be easy, but it will damn sure beat the bottom I’m experiencing in that moment …….

      So if you’re still hesitant to make a genuine change, and you think you’ve nonetheless hit bottom, dive into these questions and see what you find:

      “What is the payoff I get by staying in this situation?” (there’s always a payoff in whatever action you take, or don’t take)

      “What is the cost to my health, my joy, my happiness, my peace of mind, etc. by staying in this situation?”

      “What would I have to give up to make the move I’m aching to make?”

      “What’s the absolute worst that can happen if I make the change?”

      “What is the likelihood of that absolute worst happening?”

      Sit with those questions for some time and see what comes through. I’ll bet reality is not nearly as scary as your thoughts are making it. Please feel free to comment more and let us know what you find.

      With love,

  • RaisingStandards

    I’m so there man! I CAN’T TAKE FEELING THIS WAY ANYMORE!!! God bless you! So powerful:-) One of the most empowering blogs I have read:-)

    • it’s been one of the most empowering insights I’ve been struck with in the last few years. It’s a game changer for sure!!

  • Pat Verducci

    Love this Bryan. You pretty much nail it! xo

  • Hazel

    Thank you. You’ve hit the nail on the head 🙂 I’m moving on from this endless ending relationship……I CAN’T F**KING TAKE IT ANYMORE. That advice is all we need to listen to to stop staying with low standards. Thank you. Thank you. Your blog really gives me the juice I need to start again. xx

    • What I love is that decisions actually get much easier when you simply decide on living to a higher standard … because it’s no longer even about whoever you’re with. As you hold your life to a higher standard, only people who can honor that higher standard get to hang in your space. It’s pretty liberating, really.

  • Isabella Johnson-Brown

    Wow, so needed to hear this today, you have no idea! Thanks! I am at my SAD moment and ready to move on up!

    • Yes!!! Onward! Enjoy the ride!

  • Hana

    Great article. Thanks!

  • Taking Charge of Me

    Thanking you for sharing….I have been struggling with my decision on whether I should end a toxic relationship. I just can’t f*cking take it any longer!. I deserve better!

    • similar to what I wrote to someone else here, I think decisions actually get much easier when you finally choose to live a higher standard … it’s no longer even about another person … it’s about the quality of experience you make a commitment to having. As you hold your own life to a higher standard, only people who can move with you inside that higher standard get to hang in your space. It’s really simple at that point … it might be challenging to actually carry out the decision, but that’s only because you’re more practiced at living with lower standards. …. commit to that higher standard for yourself and magic will show up to meet you!

  • Ha. Great insight Y.

  • opal ellyse

    Yes! I am absolutely dine with lack! Poverty, I can’t fucking take it anymore! I have had a college degree for over 10 years and am graduating with my Master’s next month. I have enjoyed several years a I’ve the poverty line but a layoff in 09 followed by jobs That don’t pay what myself or anyone is worth have left me fed up! I am goo talented, creative and blessed to be putting up with this nonsense. My humble beginnings and family members in poverty do NOT have to define me. Dreams can and do come true, I do not deserve lack just because I think I am used to it. Thank you and God for the liberation. You just made me realize why I’m so angry! I know I have a great life and get even more mad at the fact that I am mad despite it. Its not me being ungrateful its me realizing i was made for more and that my own standards have been too low for too long!
    Thank u and God bless,


    • hmmmm … sounds like a major shift is afoot … !!! have fun!!

  • Love this, Bryan! My SAD moment in my last relationship was when the guy returned from a trip and immediately upon seeing his car pull up to the house, all I wanted to do was burst into tears. That’s when I KNEW, beyond any more attempts at convincing myself I “could be ok” with the way things were…. that I just wasn’t. That was the day we broke up, basically, and I asked him to move out.

    I appreciate how you say we don’t have to be homeless, among other things, to then become a rip-roaring success. I LOVE those stories… of people going from the bottom of bottoms, to being SO widely successful, accepted, and loved. But sometimes I think, Well, I haven’t had anything THAT bad happen to me, does that mean I won’t be THAT successful? So thanks for dispelling THAT thought out of my head! 🙂


    • hey Sarah! indeed … something does have to die in order for something new and great to come into being, but that alchemy happens in the heart. I can certainly appreciate that having our “attachments to outside form” deeply disrupted is often life’s way of getting our resistant attention. but that can look a lot of different ways … have fun!

  • C

    Well – this is a tough one, but I just can’t f*cking take it any longer! Why tough? My best friend has some very nasty qualities (which I just can’t f*cking take it any longer!) but here is the tough part – he also has Stage 4 cancer. I have been supporting him for 2 years, and not taking care of myself. Me – sad, gained 40 pounds, not focused, not using my gifts, etc. etc. yuck, yuck, yuck. He is using disease as excuse to be unpleasant and I have been the target. As of late – it has been really bad, and each day is an ugly cryfest. The meanness is outrageous – and reading this article has helped me know that even if he is sick – I don’t need to take the insults and the nasty comments, because I just can’t f*cking take it any longer! Thank you Bryan – this is tough to declare, but I deserve better.

    • it’s amazing how life can so cleverly reveal to us where our thoughts disempower us and cause us to live with such low standards … sounds like your friend has a psychological cancer even more corrosive than his physical one … and that kinda cancer is super contagious! I applaud your decision to get away from it and not let it take over your own psychological and emotional well-being … at least not anymore.

  • Brittney

    This is exactly what I’ve been needing to hear recently! During the past year and a half, I was in a toxic relationship with someone I knew wasn’t right for me, which was full of lies. Even as bad as the last two months of the relationship were, I still held on for dear life. Even once my ex ended the relationship, I still tried to hold on. It wasn’t this week when I had my SAD moment and realized that I deserve better and I don’t want that person in my life anymore. I finally had the courage to cut all the ties of communication and fully let go.

    Thanks for the motivational post!

    • we can all relate in one way or another, Brittney. Thanks for sharing and keep those standards high for yourself, woman!!

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