You want something new.
Something bright and shiny.
That 9-5 ain’t cuttin’ it, your love life is as stale as that bag of chips that have been sitting on your counter for months, and you look like a guy that would probably star in a Dad Bod commercial.
In order to break out of the motions that you’ve been going through, there is one thing that is required:
In order to do something unlike anything you’ve ever imagined, you need to have an abundance of energy to make it happen.
“That’s cool man, but with everything I’m juggling right now, the only energy I’m getting these days is from this XL coffee with a shot of espresso I’m sipping on.”
As a new dad, energy is in short supply, so I feel you.
But let me tell you something:
We’re all leaving extra energy on the table.
You may think that you’re running on E, but there’s plenty of energy at your disposal that you’re not tapping into. Better yet, the reason that you’re on E is probably your fault due to focusing energy on things that drain you.
Let’s take a look at all the ways you can turn your potential energy into life-altering action, my friend.
Emotional Energy: How You Feel Matters
There are certain emotions that lift us up and others that drag us through the mud. You already know this on a conscious level, because the human experience tends to gift us with both ends of the spectrum.
Think of a time when you were on an amazing emotional high. It may have been your wedding day, the day your kid was born, or a night on the town with your friends that you’ll never forget. These moments were all paired with beautiful emotions like joy, happiness, and love.
Now check in with a time that you felt the complete opposite; a moment when you felt angry, scared, jealous, or broke.
Pretty stark contrast in your energy levels, right?
One set of events—more importantly, how you felt during those events—built you up while the others broke you down. Emotions are powerful like that.
The gift (and possibly the curse) of emotions is that no one or no thing can make you feel a certain way. Your emotional reaction to outside circumstances is completely up to you.
The gift: you can choose how you feel!
The curse: some of us turn down the option, thinking that it’s just a reaction to our world!
Now, we don’t often choose our emotions on the conscious level. You don’t sit back and weigh the pros and cons of being pissed at your coworker for throwing you under the bus. You don’t contemplate why it’s a good thing to feel excited about vacation, being at the airport just has you high on life.
Most of our emotional reactions are subconscious; something happens and all of sudden you feel high or low, happy or sad.
But if you become aware of what triggers those emotions, and why you might be feeling a certain way, you CAN become more conscious in your efforts to feel how you want to feel. The key, then, to breaking away from negative, soul sucking emotions is to become more aware of why you’re feeling the way that you are. If you can begin to trace your steps back to that guy that cut you off or the deadline at work that’s making you anxious, you can shift your consciousness to an emotion that empowers you.
You can identify your frustration, and tune into love.
You can find the source of your anxiety, and tune into gratitude.
You can be upset by the limited funds in your account, then be ecstatic for all the things that you have that money can’t buy.
It’s all a decision.
And when you make the right one, you’ll up your energy by choosing to feel amazing—even if life isn’t giving you the evidence to feel that way.
Mental Energy: It’s Finite, So Stop Wasting It
From the moment your eyes open every morning, you only have a certain amount of mental energy to use. You get a budget of mental capacity—how you spend that amount is up to you.
Since you’re only given a certain amount of mental juice, stop wasting on things that don’t matter.
Stop spending hours mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
Stop sinking deeper into the couch for “just one more” episode.
Stop worrying about things that you can’t control and trying to mentally solve the problem when in the end, you have no say.
There is a laundry list of activities that you (and I, trust me) engage in that are complete time and energy sucks.
But you go spending your budget of mental energy like you have unlimited funds.
Cut it out!
Instead, sink your teeth into an inspiring book, start a passion project that will make you feel amazing, or plan a romantic weekend getaway for you and your lady.
Treat your mental molecules well and they will return the favor. When you recklessly spend that mental capacity on mindless activity, you’ll never get that energy back.
When you invest it in tasks that serve your life on a higher level, though, you’ll be rewarded with a return on that investment.
Physical Energy: Be a Power Plant
I grew up in Niagara Falls, NY, where that big ol’ waterfall tends to garner some attention. As a young man, I spent my summers giving people tours of the natural wonder’s main attractions.
We’d hit up the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds, and if we had time, we would stop by the power plant in town.
What’s so cool about a power plant?
Well, the fact that it took all of the latent energy from the water—after it put on a show and fell several hundred feet over the waterfall, of course—and used it to generate energy. It created enough electricity to keep the lights on in 4 million homes.
Isn’t that crazy? Water that is otherwise just floating down the river is being used to generate tons and tons of energy every single day.
Why do I take this stroll down memory lane with you today?
Because the physical energy of your body parallels that of the potential energy of the water from back home. You see, this power plant makes something out of nothing. Water that’s otherwise just floating by is used to turn turbines that whip up a ton of energy and electricity.
When you’re sitting still, your energy is latent. When you get yourself moving and get that heart pumping, you have the power to create and generate energy at will.
When you’re feeling run down, do some push-ups.
When you start to nod off at your desk, do some jumping jacks.
When you feel stuck while completing a task and can’t make any progress, do 20 burpees and see what your new batch of energy can do for you.
A lot of us have this notion that when we’re off our A game that we should rest up. Don’t get me wrong, sleep is crucial to your physical energy levels, but don’t lull yourself into a coma thinking that a 10-minute nap will make you instantly wake up.
You’re better off doing some sprints and letting your body wake up via an accelerated heart rate.
Be a generator of energy.
Be a power plant.
If you want to shift your life to unthinkable levels, you have to cherish the energy that you have, preserve it when necessary, and generate more when you need to.
Your emotional energy comes back to you choosing how you want to feel. Choose to feel something that inspires you.
You only have so much mental energy available to you, so don’t spend it all on meaningless tasks.
Your physical energy is yours to create, so get off your couch and start moving.
Optimizing your energy optimizes your life.
Handle it with care.
Keep Moving Past Mediocre,
Originally published at movingpastmediocre.com