As I'm writing this, I have one word written on my whiteboard. It’s been there for weeks. That word is “energy.” Energy is the level of intensity, passion, or excitement that we bring to the table. Recently, I’ve found it’s the key that unlocks a lot of things for me.
Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. — Oprah Winfrey
Contextual and Intrinsic
I find it helpful to categorize energy in two buckets: contextual and intrinsic. Contextual energy is what you get from your environment. It’s how you feel about the people around you, the career that you have chosen, or the place where you live. It's situational and requires some kind of concrete action to change it. This is the level of passion, awareness, and excitement that your life brings you.
On the other side of things is intrinsic energy. Intrinsic energy is what you bring to your environment and more broadly, your life. It's not context-dependent, but rather driven by your mindset and how you view the world. It's going into something with an intentional pep in your step; a certain focus and drive that you consciously or subconsciously have implemented for yourself.
Making a Change
You're having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. The days are dragging by more slowly than usual. You're bored with the daily grind. If any of these things resonate with you, as they have with me, you may need an energy overhaul.
Start with your intrinsic energy. It’s amazing how much of a difference a mindset shift makes to our physical feelings and output. Try simple things like setting an alarm on your phone to take a moment and smile, write down affirmations, or express gratitude for what you have. Ramp it up for a day, then a week, then a month.
This should make a difference, but it might not be enough. What about contextual energy?
How can your life bring you more excitement and passion? Whether it's your career, relationships, health, or social life, try making a change. Some things I like to try out:
- Drop a project and simplify
- Learn something new
- Create more space for thinking
- Talk to more (or less) people
- Avoid social media for a bit
- Change up my morning routine
- Take a day off and reflect
This is a place where experiments win. Change the equation by adding or removing one element. Pay attention to how your energy responds. Try something else. Develop an awareness for it. Then prioritize.
We are all searching for energy. Everything else held constant, energy doesn't last. Once you get comfortable, things get too comfortable. But the answer is always out there. You just have to go looking for it. Good luck.
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