The Data Pyryamid

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“I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The DATA pyramid and The Tail On The Donkey Game

Remember the kids party game – Stick the tail on the donkey?
The one where there was a picture of a donkey stuck to the wall and you had a cut out of it’s tail and a pin. You where blind folded, spun around a few times and then had to see how close you could get the tail to the correct place on the donkey (it’s ass !)

Well, most therapy and changework approaches (and many body change) approaches are very similar and playing version of ‘stick the tail on the donkey’, where they blindly attempt to get the results by taking best ‘guesses’ at what is going on with you.

At the optimal life co, we play a different game. We play the Data pyramid game.

“The gathering and presentation of data makes us informed, it then keeps us motivated. It lets us know where we are, what we need to do and when we have done it…”

Did you know that certain genetic types thrive on high intensity exercise yet others will most likely find them selves injured and carrying excess weight with such an approach? Others need a ratio of 4 in every 10 exercise sessions to be high intensity and the remaining 6 moderate intensity, and your ratios will be unique to you.

Whether you eat paleo, vegetarian or have undertaken some other dietary approach, it means little unless you know your personal ratio’s of fats, carbs and proteins. Once you have your ratio’s you can then start seeing results rapidly.

Let’s take another example. Your body chemistry. Many people take a daily mutli-vit without realising it might be a problem rather than a solution. The mineral copper for example is put in most multivitamins, yet many people have too much copper in their system, which can be contributing to serious mind or body health issues.

And another example – when it comes to anxiety, many people spend years on analysis and therapy, trying to find the meaning of their problem and hopefully the solution that follows. If however these same people were brain mapped to see how their brain waves were running, they might well find that until they for example lessen beta brain wave outputs or re-route energy for their limbic system to their pre-frontel cortex no real change will take place. In this case meaning has nothing to do with their presenting issue, it’s a functional brain problem that needs to be addressed.

With just 3 examples you can see how important it is to take your own mind body health ‘personally’. By personally we mean, realise that you are unique and would be best served finding out what specifically you need, not borrow from an idea or trend that could in fact be detrimental to your goals.

At the O-life we call this data collection, creating your O-map.


The first step of any optimal life experience is getting DATA, your personal, real world data. Depending on your outcomes this can take the form of:

  • Body composition
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Genetic Testing
  • Blood Work
  • Brainwave analysis
  • Modern Psychology

If data is flawed, the Pyramid breaks down. The information we derive from the data is not accurate. We cannot make reliable judgments or develop reliable knowledge from the information. And that knowledge simply cannot become wisdom, since cracks will appear as soon as it is tested.”





Once we have your personalised DATA we can then create useful and usable information upon which to create your O-map, your personal program for getting optimal. This is your personal brain/body data.

Once you have quality DATA, you are informed and with reliable knowledge. The knowledge is what you act on to get your results. As you use your knowledge and gain experience with it, over time this knowledge is tried and tested in multiple contexts and situations and becomes the foundational wisdom that you have for life.

Just as no two fingerprints are the same, neither are any two bodies, brains minds or life experiences. We are individual, we are unique, and we are one of a kind.

So don’t play ‘tail on the donkey’ with your mind and body. Instead collect data and get informed and then take action.

Author: Alistair Horscroft

May 1, 2018

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