“I've got more energy now than when I was younger because I know exactly what I want to do.” ~Ballet master George Balanchine
Have you ever noticed how everything in life slows down when you don't have energy?
When you wake up tired or feel spent for some reason, it feels like you are slogging through quicksand just to get through the day.
Tasks that are generally no-brainers feel overwhelming. And anything that requires more than a thimble-full of concentration is simply crossed off the list. It ain't gonna happen.
Then an interesting and not-so-pleasant phenomenon occurs on our low energy days. We have the initial feeling of low energy, but then a secondary emotion washes over us.
We feel bad about our low energy.
We feel bad that we aren't on our game.
We feel bad that we aren't accomplishing what we wanted to accomplish.
We feel bad that we are letting other people down.
We feel anger and resistance against our low energy.
And when we feel resistance against our low energy, guess what happens?
We lose more energy. We expend even more energy feeling bad and fighting the feelings. We expend energy worrying about what we aren't getting done. We expend mental energy thinking, “Why do I feel this way? I should be feeling better Now I'm going to get behind.”
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. ~Albert Camus
So what started out as a low-energy day morphs into “terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.” What was initially just “meh” turns out to be “ugh.”
But think about this. On those “ugh” days, when you are sitting in your chair thinking about your low energy and your terrible horrible badness, what if you looked out the window saw someone breaking into your house?
Your energy would return in a nanosecond.
You'd be up and climbing out the back window dialing 911 and racing to the neighbor's house before you could think about how tired your legs are or how little sleep you got the night before.
And it's not just fear that gets your butt moving. It's knowing in an instant what what needs to be done and doing it. No time to think about what a mess you are today. You take focused action because you know exactly what you need to do.
You don't have to experience something terrifying to harness focused action, even when your energy is low. A little miracle occurs any time you harness focused action on what you need or want to do. And it takes just a little focus and a little action to get started.
How to increase your energy.
Just exercising a little focused energy on what you want to do will expand your energy exponentially. It's true. You've probably had this happen before but weren't consciously aware of it.
As my friend and master coach Steve Chandler says, “My energy increases the same way the sun's power increases when I take the diffuse rays and harness them and focus them through a simple magnifying glass, and let the focused ray of sun burn an old dead leaf like a science fiction laser.”
This trick is surefire. If you know exactly what you want to do. That's the important key to energy expansion. You must know what you want to do.
Do you know exactly what you want to do?
Maybe you have a master plan, a life passion, a bigger purpose. If you do, then you know, and there's always something you want to do every day because every day presents opportunities to get absorbed in your passion or plan.
So just pick something. While you are stretched out on the couch, with your energy waning, take your stronger arm and reach over for the pad of paper and a pen. Or use your foot if you're just too weak.
Then just write down one small, miniscule thing that you want to do related to your passion or goal — one thing that in your pitiful state of body and mind you can accomplish.
Then do that one thing with every remnant of energy you have.
And watch what happens.
It's like being your own Chia-Pet.
Before you know it, your energy is on overdrive. You forget how mad you are that you have low energy. You forget that you have low energy at all. You are doing what you want to do, and your mind is far far away from low energy.
Now I know some of you people are thinking, “Well I don't have a passion or master plan. So I guess that means there's no surefire way to increase my energy. I guess I can just stay here on the couch and think about what a slug I am.”
Sorry, no can do.
You must get your pad and pen too, because there are two surefire ways to increase your energy even without knowing your big picture desires.
1. Create something.
2. Serve someone.
Amazingly enough, acts of creation and service foster the same exponential energy boost that acting on “what you know you want to do” provides. These things tend to occupy the same space in your psyche that passion does. So pick something you can create or find someone you can serve. It doesn't have to be something grand and sweeping. Just something.
- Send an email to a friend.
- Create your life passion plan.
- Write your life story.
- Brainstorm a business opportunity.
- Mentor someone.
- Call your mother.
- Make cookies for a neighbor.
- Write down ten ways to show love to your spouse.
- Clean some clutter and take it to Goodwill.
You get the idea.
Acts of creation and service are positive, forward-moving endeavors. Do one, and you'll want to do more. You will feel good. You will feel purposeful. And that creates energy. Which creates even more energy. And so on.
If you want to increase your energy, stop thinking about how bad you feel. Instead, take focused action on what you want to do. Turn every bit of your remaining energy to that action. If you don't know what you want to do, take focused action on creation or service. These might even help you decide what you want to do. And when you know what you want, an amazing energy source is always available to you.