Personal Energy

by Stuart Harris

Common questions

  1. What do we mean by energy?
  2. What’s the point of thinking about human energy, isn’t it rather ‘touchy feely’?
  3. Is there a relationship between time, money and energy?
  4. How do you get more of it?
  5. Why do I never seem to have enough?
  6. If I simply put in more energy, will that make me successful?
  7. What can I do to recharge my batteries?
  8. Why do simple tasks sometimes drain me of energy?
  9. Where is my energy going?

 

1. What do we mean by personal energy?

We are so immersed in energy, and it is such an integral part of our being that we usually don’t really notice it. At the basic, scientific level all matter and energy are essentially the same. When we do notice the energy levels in and around us, it is because it has changed character in some way, become different in the same way a fish would notice if the water it was swimming in became much warmer, or cloudy with sediment.

So when we think of energy, it is because we feel this change. Our way to measure our human energy is through our feelings. We feel tired, or motivated, or creative and so on. These are just ways of describing our current energy state.

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2. What’s the point of thinking about human energy, isn’t it rather ‘touchy-feely’?

What’s wrong with that? Who wants to be thought of as a cold fish or a robot? In any case, once you start giving your energy levels some serious consideration, you can find out where you are wasting them, how you can replenish them, how you can best apply them, how you can combine insight and intent to achieve your goals, and much more.

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3. Is there a relationship between time, money and energy?

All three are resources. You may be given money in exchange for your time, but unless you put energy into what you are doing, you won’t be giving value for money. In Human Resources, if you are negotiating a package, on the surface it may look like money and benefits, but if you take a bird’s eye view, what you are actually doing is creating the conditions in which energies can be released and channelled for mutual benefit.

Just think of the difference between individuals, teams and organisations which are dynamic and ones that aren’t. What’s the crucial difference? Ultimately it comes down to a simple issue: in the dynamic one, the energy is flowing freely, while in the other it is not.

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4. How do you get more of it?

Actually, you already have plenty of energy. Chances are, what you really mean is that you want to change the nature of the energy you have from tired energy to excited energy, from low grade to high grade energy.

Much of this process takes place in the mind. It is how we relate to what we are doing that controls the level of energy we have. The difference is not necessarily in what you do, but how you frame it. Your hour at the gym can be a mindless, sweaty grind or a challenging exercise in concentration.

Seek out activities that lead you towards a goal that excites you. Even if the activity itself is boring, the fact that it is part of a grander plan will generate energy.

Consider the different types of energy – physical, mental and emotional – and seek to improve your experience in these areas in order to upgrade your energy.

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5. Why do I never seem to have enough?

There are many factors that affect the amount of energy we have. If you just never seem to have enough look at the following

  • Are you spending too much time around people or situations that are draining your energy? Take a couple of days off and notice if your energy levels change.
  • Are you eating well? Poor eating habits will mess up your metabolism which can lead to feelings of tiredness and energy lack.
  • Are you sleeping well? Like diet, this can have an effect on energy levels.
  • Are you doing work that excites you, or bores you?
  • If you ever do feel energised, what is different that makes you feel that way?

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6. If I simply put in more energy, will that make me successful?

You don’t have to burn up a zillion calories of energy to make a difference in your business. Quite the reverse. Just as with time and money, the art is in using energy effectively and efficiently. Sometimes the secret of success is to ease back a little – there’s no advantage in reaching burn out. Imagine you have energy controls that you can adjust to exactly the right level for the job in hand and notice what you see, hear or feel that reminds you to adjust your energy level.

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7. What can I do to recharge my batteries?

If you feel drained of energy, you need to start by limiting the conflicting demands on you attention for a while: perhaps you could turn off the radio or your mobile phone. If the drained feeling is a constant, it’s time to treat yourself to more alpha brainwaves – the wave pattern we fall into as we are drifting off to sleep. There are plenty of ways to achieve the alpha state, from classical music, meditation or yoga to flotation tanks or light and sound machines.

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8. Why do simple tasks sometimes drain me of energy?

Life should be fun! If what you do is in tune with your values, you are likely to find it mentally and emotionally rewarding. If it is not, even simple tasks can drain you of energy.

Most of us have had the experience of using up a lot of emotional and mental energy even before we get to the point of getting stuck into an unappealing physical activity. We resolve to get active, but when it comes to the point of doing it, we really don’t feel like it – we feel exhausted.

One sure-fire way to drain yourself of energy is to allow your mental, physical and emotional energies to work at cross purposes against each other. On the other hand the more you can get your physical, mental and emotional energies working in the same direction, the easier you find it to do things.

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9. Where is my energy going?

Even allowing for the normal peaks and troughs in your daily energy profile, you may have noticed certain things have a definite impact on your energy levels – either vitalizing you or leaving you feeling drained and listless. One way to find out in detail where your energy is being expended is to keep a daily energy profile, noting at regular intervals how energised you feel on a scale of 1 to 11.

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