Do What 99% of people don’t do. Learn to manage your energy wisely. We all have a finite amount of energy to spend. We all know this, but somehow, we act as if we have an unlimited supply of energy to waste. Each day we use the energy we have, we invest it in people and things that surround us until we have no energy left and we become exhausted.
What most people don’t do is evaluate who and what they invest their energy in. We should treat energy the same way we treat money. Know how much you have before you decide how to spend it. We have to assess how much energy we have in order to manage it and allocate it wisely.
This concept is well explained by Dandapani in one of his talks. Danapani is a Hindu priest, an entrepreneur, and a former monk of 10 years. He works with entrepreneurs and some of the top athletes in the world in order to help them understand and leverage their minds so that they can be the best at what they do. The rest of this blog article is based on the teaching of Dandapani.
How do you learn to manage your energy?
Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy. We compared energy to money earlier. Energy can also be compared to water. If you take a watering can and you water a garden bed, will the weeds grow or will the flower grow? Both will grow. Water has no ability to distinguish between the weeds and the flowers. Energy works the same way.
If I invest my energy into something negative whatever will manifest from this will be negative, and if I invest my energy into something positive, good things will come out of this. Right now, you are the sum total of where you invested your energy all your life. That is why it is important to know who you want to be and what you want to do with your life. Spend some time every day to figure out who you are and what is the purpose of your life so that you can direct energy towards that purpose and grow flowers instead of weeds.
In order to do this, you have to understand the difference between awareness and the mind. Dandapani defines awareness as a ball of glowing light that can float around. He defines the mind as a vast space with many areas in it such as anger, hate, jealousy, joy, happiness, resentment, food, art, sport, science, technology, etc… Your awareness can move into any area of the mind you want it to go to. If your awareness goes to the happy area of your mind, it will light out this particular area with a glow of happy feelings. If your awareness goes to the angry area of the mind it will light up this area with a glow of grumpiness and unhappy feeling.
So far so good, but you may ask yourself how do you direct your awareness to the area of your mind you want to? So glad you asked. By developing your willpower and your power of concentration you can take that awareness to whichever area of the mind you want.
Your energy is flowing wherever your awareness is going.
How do you learn to direct your awareness to wherever you want it to go? Dandapani tells us that in order to learn to direct your awareness to wherever you want it to go, you have to learn and practice the art of concentration. Concentration is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period of time. Most people have difficulties concentrating for 2 reasons. They have never been taught how to concentrate, and they never practiced concentration. Throughout our life we are surrounded by people who keep asking us to concentrate starting with our parents, our teachers, our boss; but those same people never told us how to concentrate.
We learn to concentrate by doing one thing at a time and we get to practice our concentration skills by integrating this practice into our everyday life. Look at your average day and pick one recurring event in your life. For example, every day you talk to your spouse about this and that and many other things too. So, every time you do that, give your spouse your undivided attention. Keep your awareness on him or her. If it drifts, bring it back. When you speak to your family, friends, colleagues, or customers, give them your undivided attention. By the end of the day, you would have clogged close to 6 to 8 hours of practicing concentration. This method allows you to take this tool and insert it into a recurring event in your life rather than creating another practice to fit into your already packed-up daily routine.
The other thing we need to develop is our willpower. We are all born with various levels of willpower, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if you start with a low level of willpower, you can develop it as you go along because willpower is like a muscle, the more practice the stronger the muscle. There are 3 ways to develop willpower: 1. Finish what you have started. 2. Finish beyond your expectation. 3. Do a little bit more than you are able to do. All of this requires effort and effort is willpower.
The same methods as explained earlier apply here, you take those 3 methods, and you apply them to a recurring event in your life. I have breakfast every day. Each morning, I decide what kind of breakfast I want to have and I proceed with making that breakfast for myself and my family. If I have time to make breakfast and eat it, I also have time to tidy up and make the dishes. I complete my breakfast routine by cleaning up afterward. If I bring this process into everything I do, I end up developing my willpower slowly but surely. Every time my awareness drifts away, I use the mental power I develop to bring my awareness back.
The greatest impetus to manage energy is death.
Life is finite. I only have one life. What’s happening after nobody knows. So, If I know that my life is finite, I want to be extremely clear where and towards whom I should expand my energy, because there is no point in learning and practicing how to focus if you don’t also learn what to focus your energy on.
The law of thermodynamics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed it can only be transferred or transformed from one thing to another. If I have 10% of spare energy to allocate to someone and decide to give it to John, I have to know when I make this allocation that John is worthy of my time. If I give 10% of my energy to John, I have to know that he is going to do something good with it, because if I know that he is going to squander it, I will rather give it to someone else.
People and things are the biggest consumers of energy. Some people lift you up and give you energy. Other people suck a tremendous amount of energy from you. Be aware of energy vampires. There are 3 types of people: 1. Uplifting people. 2. Neutral people. 3. Not so uplifting people. When I spend 5 minutes with an uplifting person, I walk away feeling re-energized and inspired. If I spend 5 minutes with a neutral person, I walk away feeling the same as before. But if I spend 5 minutes with a not so uplifting person, I walk away feeling deflated and exhausted. Dandapani calls this type of person Energy Vampire.
There are two types of energy vampires. 1. The Transient Energy Vampire. 2. The Inherent Energy Vampire. Say, John has just lost a family member from a terrible disease. He feels sad and depressed and has trouble coping with the loss and you need to be there for him to uplift him from his sorrow. He consumes a lot of your energy for the next year or so, but it is OK. You give him that energy because he is your friend and that what friends are about. You display compassion, empathy, and love.
On the opposite side of this reside the Inherent Energy Vampire who has always been this way and who will not change. When you come across such a person, practice the art of being affectionately detached. Do not give that person the opportunity to pour on you all their misery, and do not let those people monopolize your time and drain all your energy.
1. Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy.
2. We all have a finite amount of energy to spend. Learn to manage your energy wisely.
3. Learn and practice how to focus and what to focus your energy on.
4. Hang out with uplifting people. Stay away from Energy Vampire types of people.
And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.