Energy should be a simple function of food and sleep (like ability to earn money should be a function of hard work and skill), but it’s not. We all know someone who eats poorly, sleeps erratically and has seemingly endless energy.
So, if your input is pure superfood and delta wave sleep and your output is still less than your power position, 18 hobby, perfect children neighbor, where is the missing variable? There must be a way energetic people are using their energy more efficiently.
The problem is wasted mental energy. Overthinking is the killer.
Confident people are always the ones with more energy. They make quick decisions. They don’t overthink because they trust their brains, and they trust their brains because they have been practicing in areas where trust is required.
Social, physical and creative activities boost energy because they require you to think less.
No one who is thinking about the probability of throwing a ball through a small hoop is very good at basketball. No one who is trying to read thousands of social cues can come up with a witty reply. No one can watch their fingers, read music, and simultaneously discover the passion Beethoven wrote into the Ninth Symphony.
When you are being physically active, socially involved, or creatively productive you must trust your decisions on the fly. By practicing your innate ability to perform in highly complex, highly satisfying zones, you will have more energy.
There are a few important caveats to making this work:
Do Not Let Yourself Stop
If you need to battle your mind before going for a jog, calling up a friend, or writing a blog post, you will almost certainly end up on the couch with a glass of wine. The damage is done between activities when your brain gets a chance to get a little more overthinking in. Have a diverse list of things you enjoy in each of the three categories and move effortlessly from one to the other.
Understand Where You Need Rest
There is no denying the feeling of closing your door after a day’s work, but the solution does not lie in the couch. If your job is mental, go for a run. If your job is physical, banter with your kids. If your job is social, cook a gourmet meal. Gather together a good repertoire of hobbies and interests that are easy and relaxing.
Give it a Chance
There is a past version of me who would have read this and thought, “I jogged once, and it didn’t give me energy. I nearly died.” It takes some time before this turns into an effortless flow of energy (I know from experience). Getting moving from a stand still is the hardest part just keep going until you get some momentum.
You must Love It
The present version of me still doesn’t jog. It is essential to find things you are excited about doing (not things you think other people think are cool, this will result in more overthinking). It is a given that you won’t love anything at first because you won’t be good at it. The important thing is it needs to be something you are willing to practice to get good at.
Some of my favorites have been volunteering with refugees, jujitsu, hiking, and playing piano. If you are stuck on ideas, there is a list of over 100 hobbies divided into social, active, and creative on the Get Motivated handout that comes with signing up for my blog, check it out!