I used to feel bad about not being busy. So much so that when I met busy people, I told them I was busy. The conversation went like this.
“Hey Joe, how are you doing? How are things?” I’d ask.
“I’ve been busy, man. There’s a lot going on at the moment. I’m doing this and that and blah blah blah. What about you?”
“Same here, busy times. Lots going on.”
And then we’d depart our separate ways and I’d be walking feeling anxious for all the things that I needed to get done.
We live in a world where being busy is the standard solution to living. But is that the legacy that we want to leave our children? Do we want them to feel anxious and unworthy if they’re not busy with something that the world deems important?
This article is all about teaching children how to use their energy…and how to become aware of how it is being used.
You may not have money.
You may not have time.
But every single one of us has a finite amount of energy. No matter how old you are, you have some energy. If you doubt this, remember that you’re breathing.
Children are especially energetic…while they’re children at least. But childhood is also where we learn how to harness our energy. We learn how to use it. The problem is that we learn how to use our energy, but never how to invest it.
Investing energy is about placing it into an activity, idea or format that will create something in the long term. If you doubt this idea, answer this question:
Which of these is an investment – watching tv for 2 hours a day, or learning how to ride a horse for 2 hours a day?
Put this way, it’s a lot easier to see what an investment is. An investment is something that you put a little energy into today and a year from now, there’s a lot more that you can get out of it.
A life without some sort of compelling future, feels heavy. Everyone who has ever woken up in the morning with a little bit of purpose and something to look forward to knows the lightness and ease which follows getting out of bed.
As a teacher, I’ve noticed that a child’s day is becoming more and more demanding. They have their attention pulled in so many directions, with the demands of school, sports and everything else that they want to get done in a single day. The older they get the more the responsibility shifts from their parents to them. And then we have people living in a perpetual cycle of busy-ness.
This busy-ness is a habit. It doesn’t really serve a purpose. If you ask someone, “Hey, what are you so busy with? Why are you doing all of this?” You won’t be impressed by the answers. Most people break into habit because they’ve modelled their parents being busy…or not. Habits come from what we see the most prominent figures in our lives doing.
There’s nothing wrong with being busy, but when it becomes a habit without a purpose it becomes an unconscious act that is relived each day.
If you doubt this, visit the mall on a Saturday. Pick a table at a restaurant where there’s heavy foot flow. Watch the people that walk by. What emotion do you see etched into the lines of their faces? See if for yourself. Most of the time, it’s an acute form of anxiety. There’s a sense of urgency when they walk. Life is full of urgent demands.
These urgent demands gradually stack onto each other every day and build into something that will slow everyone down.
But what if there was another way of looking at it?
What if there was just one thing we decided to do, every day? Could that make a difference? That’s how we find a way around busy-ness. We learn to do small, meaningful things with our energy, every day.
The cure to busy-ness is purpose. Choose to priorities with purpose and busy-ness will take a back seat in your life.
Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule applies to energy, money, time, etc. Any place where you put something in and want something out, Pareto is there for a rough guideline. For now, let’s apply it to energy…and put it into a statement.
20% of the energy that you put out there results in 80% of your results. The question is, which 20% is it? This is the eternal question to success. Which twenty percent! If only we knew, we could do more of that! Life isn’t that simple. It will never tell us openly what to focus on.
But the feedback we get from our own experiences will. And when you start looking for the feedback from your experiences, that’s when you start to see the answers in everything that you do. The 80/20 rule is all about Return on Your Energy Investment.
Our energy should be used to make our lives more fulfilling. Where most people are concerned with time management, shouldn’t we be concerned with energy management? How are you, your children, your family using your energy in a day? What are you getting in return? But most importantly, what do you want to get in return?
Dream big and use your energy to get you closer to those dreams.
Until next time…
© The Brilliance Quotient 2018