You’ve heard me say that life is made of three things – Time, Energy and Resources. Each of those three is very important, and each is unique. Of the three, only one is a meter for how happy you are at any given time: energy.
Think about it; do you recall a time when you had a lot of energy and weren’t happy? Do you recall having almost none and being happy? Notwithstanding are the times you’re kookoo for Cocoa Puffs because of coffee, or flipping out because of a test, or trauma, or you were just almost hit by a car.
No, in daily life, when you had lots of energy you were happy. Think back. When you found yourself with a surplus of energy you smiled, said things you may not normally have said (saying hello to people, talking about mundane things like the color of leaves, the sunset, how something was sort of amusing). The energy may have been from something you were aware of, or you found yourself with energy from “out of nowhere.” Regardless of your awareness of the origin, you enjoyed the hell out of it. Like those old people in the movie cocoon*.
Now, think of the opposite, and I bet you’ll be able to come up with many more examples of less energy. Think back. When you had less energy, you thought things were annoying that shouldn’t bother you, you missed a lot of stuff, people had to say your name twice when talking to you. You seemed distracted, life kinda sucks, right?
Go towards the light (unless this is poltergeist)
We are adaptive creatures – wonderfully so, sometimes to our detriment. I touch on this on how we make adjustments going through trauma and forget to recalibrate. We adapt and move towards things that give us energy, and move away from the ones that suck it out like a giant mosquito landing on a chihuahua. But, in real life it’s not that simple. Moving towards the energy can get in the way of work, your obligations, your productivity, and it may not jive with your schedule.
Hmm, if only there was a way to may this out on a sheet and look at it. Then navigate and optimize it.
Think about one more thing – you don’t always know what gave you that energy or took it away. Having energy sapped from you may be due to simple comments from people who are… clueless about how they interact. You may not be able to avoid an entire job because of one coworker, but you can make smart adjustments to minimize it.
You may also get energy from something that seems to happen randomly, and you just think it’s a chemical thing, or you had a good day out of no where.
Figuring it out
If you now get the importance of energy, you’re probably also getting how important it is to figure out where it’s coming from. But then the plot thickens…
Guilt: natures big bucket of cold water thrown right in the face.
Restrictions, good and bad, keep us from exclusively pursuing where the energy is coming from and running screaming away from where its leaking to. But sometimes these restrictions are incorrectly in place. It explains why you have pleasure and get jazzed doing something, and then feel guilty. You’re not a chef, why should you feel good about that, go back to your job at the conveyer belt. Yes you made that guy laugh and it felt really good but it was just a fluke, so back to your 11 oclock meeting with department chairs. Sure you love being around kids but teachers have low pay and blah blah blah.
Splash, right in the face.
Being mindful of these automatic restrictions, and calibrating them if needed, can help you avoid any bumps in the road.
So, your takeaway from this should be –
- All three elements are very important
- Energy is the one element that you can use as a measurement for happiness – more energy = more happiness.
- More towards the energy – in simple terms seek it out.
- Less energy is less happiness – move away from that.
- Life isn’t that simple, and you need a tool to help you see what’s going on, so go fill out the Balance Sheet.
- For a lasting impactful change in your level of energy and thus happiness, seek me out to work with you.
What about Time?
Remember the article I wrote on Time Compression? Well, if you read it (go do that now, I’ll wait), you learned that you have control over your perception of the passage of time.
It is important to note that the speed up, slowdown and consequently being ‘in the zone’ are also indicators.
Have you noticed when you had more energy? Did it lead you to a decision, a new job, a new relationship? Comment below.
* Don’t steal energy from aliens – it’s not nice.
Mark Bradford developed a system to achieve goals, manage your energy and understand and strengthen your path – it’s Alchemy for Life.
He writes, coaches and speaks on the subject. For more information, tips and tricks, like Mark Bradford on Facebook, follow Mark Bradford on Twitter.
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Articles are posted regularly on AlchemyFor.Life, and LinkedIn.