The Most Forgotten Fundamental of Personal Development
The man who helped abolish slavery in the British Empire attributed his success to one word.
This isn't a particular word.
It's one we all use in our day-to-day vocabulary. Yet, the people who understand the significance of this word can change how they structure their day and life.
What is this word?
I'll let you figure it out by sharing a quote from the man I mentioned a few sentences ago, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton.
"The longer I live, the more I am certain that the great difference between men—between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant—is energy, invincible determination—a purpose once fixed, and then—death or victory! That quality will do anything that can be done in this world, and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities, will make a two-legged creature a man without it."
You should know what the word is now.
Otherwise, we are going to have to work on your reading comprehension. But jokes aside, the x-factor for Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton and many other great men in accomplishing their goals is energy!
But this article is about managing your energy. And using it on things that matter in your life. We hear a lot about motivation, time management, and many other trendy topics in the personal development space.
But this is skipping the fundamentals of achieving anything worthwhile. And managing your energy is part of the fundamentals.
The whole thing about energy is that it's limited.
And even though we have 24 hours, what we can accomplish in those hours is determined by how we utilize our energy effectively.
And the first rule to keep in mind for effectively using your energy is to get things done as early as possible in the day.
I know you've heard this before.
But let me dig a little deeper. In the mornings, we tend to have a combination of the highest amount of energy and a little more time to ourselves. So it's simpler to get things done then. However, something will pop up as the day moves forward, and people will interject.
And lo and behold, hours of your day are gone.
There are more excuses not to complete something later in the day than earlier. So use your energy to get things done as early as possible.
Now some night owls will tell me this won't work for you.
And you know what, you're right. Night owls get much more done at night compared to the morning.
So for these night owls, you get as much done at night then. Since it's still the same traits as getting things done early. Energy is high, not too many people or obligations.
Although this is the best time to complete things, we also need to manage our energy throughout the day. Believe it or not, everything you do in the day, you are using energy. Whether reading the sports news, playing mobile games, filing taxes, etc. Now some of the things we do throughout the day are important.
But if we took a pill of self-honesty.
We know we waste a significant portion of our day on frivolous things. You know what I mean:
mindlessly scrolling the internet
playing mobile games
There are countless simple ways our energy gets drained.
And then we don't have the oomph to focus on our goals. But not reaching our goals is not the only consequence.
In fact, it can be a little more sinister.
When we don't use our energy with clarity and purpose, we use it to destroy ourselves. William Blake, the English poet, put it best:
"Energy is Eternal Delight,
He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence."
To not breed pestilence, we must utilize our energy like the sun with a magnifying glass, focusing the sun on starting a fire.
And there are two ways we can get that focus and fire started for us.
I've spoken about having a personal mission because it's a game changer. Having a mission forces you to ask yourself what you want to achieve. And then devote your life or phase of your life to attain it. However, if you don't know what you want to achieve, it becomes easy to waste time and daydream.
Wondering what you can be.
Yet, this is the easiest way to get behind in life. Because as more focused people are making progress, you're not too sure which direction in life to go. So take some time (but not too much) and discover your personal mission.
You might wonder what if I choose the wrong mission.
That's fine since you can adjust it. You will not know what you can do in life until you try. There are many examples of people having a mission only to realize they didn't like it. And those people I respect because they committed to the task and then, through self-honesty, realized it wasn't for them. And then changed it to suit themselves.
So don't worry about choosing the wrong mission. Just pick one and get started. Sooner or later, you will hit the mark.
That's what happened with my YouTube channel.
I wanted to make a profound mark on YouTube's personal development sphere. So I would follow the dumb trends of book reviews, productivity hacks, charisma hacks, etc. Yet, I realized this wasn't what I wanted the mission to be for my youtube channel. So I readjusted by making random personal development content, again didn't like what it was, and readjusted again.
Then I started adding classical literature, psychology, and social principles to my content and then boom. I found the direction of my channel to turn nerds into well-rounded individuals. That's the channel's mission, which has been invigorating me ever since.
It took me years to get that clarity, and I found the perfect one by staying committed to various forms of a mission.
But your focus doesn't have to be as grand as this.
You can learn to focus more on your life by having realistic but challenging goals. By keeping track of your progress and being honest, you will realize that you need to commit your daily energy to your goals and not too frivolous matters.
Like I say, my fellow nerds, Life is simple. And the same is with managing energy, where you start early, avoid frivolous matters, and have a mission and goals. Naturally, you will use your days effectively to make progress.
But some of you might think I'm blowing hot steam and believe there is more to managing energy to accomplish things.
In fact, some might say that you need to be unique or have an x-factor.
This is rubbish. We are all painfully human. We all have 24 hours and our energy. How we use that energy throughout the day makes all the difference.
We don't need to be special to work on things early.
We don't need to be special to not waste energy on frivolous things.
We don't need to be special to have a personal mission and goals.
Thinking we need to be unique is part of a fixed mindset.
And we can't live with that. We have to look at what is under our control, and the things I mentioned are.
Heck, I can list several people who were not exceptional but used their energy effectively to make progress.
George Washington Carver endured poverty to gain an education in agriculture and change that industry forever.
Rochefoucould, who didn't need to work due to his wealth, wrote hundreds of witty and thought-provoking aphorisms.
Plutarch, who was a priest, wrote essays and biographies for fun.
Alexander Volkaniski, a short rugby player, took up MMA late and became a UFC featherweight champion.
I can do this all day.
But I will stop with examples and tackle a mistake we can make when we get hyped about using our energy effectively.
Going balls to the wall
One thing to remember is that our enthusiasm is highest at the beginning of anything we start. And then it putters out. So people start off excellent and then quit in the middle, with nothing to show.
The best way to avoid this is to look at energy usage like a boxing match. Using our energy effectively throughout the day/match. In some rounds, we go into a lower gear, and in other rounds, we ramp it up.
A more practical way to look at it is:
Mornings get the most important things done.
Throughout the day, tackle the smaller and less energy-invested tasks.
Allow time to rest, like one day per week, where you do nothing.
Following this simple advice will ensure you don't fall victim to unfinished projects. And to ensure you don't leave this article unfinished, let's hop onto the summary.
Energy management is a crucial but less often mentioned fundamental in personal development.
Doing things as early as possible is an effective strategy for energy management.
We tend to waste our energy throughout the day due to frivolous tasks such as mindless scrolling, binging content, etc.
We need to focus on personal missions and goals to waste less energy.
We don't need to be special to achieve most things in life. We need to be responsible for things under our control.
A common mistake is going hard in the starting phase of a project/task/goal and petering out in the middle.
Achieving goals comes down to the basics.
And energy management is a significant part of the basics we forget.
So many people who are no better than you have done great things in life. All because they used their energy effectively.
Heck, it allowed an ordinary man like Buxton to make significant progress in stopping the slave trade. Imagine what you could do if you had his energy management skills.
Until next time,
The Charismatic Nerd