Ok.

So what the hell is investing energy in life?

Let’s call it being able to discern between ‘resting’ versus ‘being stagnant.’ And possibly add in being able to discern when to use energy and when to not use it. By the way.  All of that translates into making choices.

Let me use a quote to begin the discussion.

“As a rule, I am very careful to be shallow and conventional where depth and originality are wasted.” Lucy Maud Montgomery

Ah. Now. Be careful when reading this … Lucy isn’t suggesting people not be original or seek to have some ‘depth.’ Nope. She is suggesting investing energy at the appropriate times is a choice. A choice for when energy invested won’t be wasted.

Look. Haven’t we seen those people who go 110% all the time on everything? And they get tired. And often frustrated. And they often don’t seem to get as far in life as you would expect for all the energy they have invested. While they may debate with me (because they feel like they are making the choice that has to be made, i.e., I am ‘working at being successful in life’) the reality is they aren’t making any real choice.  Anytime you do something 100% of the time you haven’t made the tough choice.

The choice truth? There is a time to rest. And a time for energy.

Oh, and yes, you do have to invest energy in life to get something out of it.

Because being lazy doesn’t get you shit.

In fact. Being apathetic doesn’t get you shit.

Once again. That doesn’t mean 24/7 energy and pushing and shoving and being passionate and trying to kick ass 172,800 seconds (if I did my math correctly that is the amount of seconds in a day).  It’s about making choices. When and where type choices.

So.

What I am saying is you cannot have enough energy to kick ass every second of every day.

(and if you have someone suggesting you should? … ignore them)

But.

You also cannot be passive every second either.

There is resting (before investing energy).

There is stagnant (before never investing energy).

(former good. latter bad.)

And they are significantly different because living a successful (happy) life takes energy. And life is a struggle that takes energy to manage and deal with. And frankly happiness doesn’t always come easily.

By the way. This ‘struggle’ isn’t a day-to-day get-things-done struggle.  I mean it is a mental & physical struggle.

Describing this struggle is interesting. Good ole Winston C. suggested Life is the struggle between energy and indolence:

“Life is a struggle between vitality and decay, energy and indolence” – Winston Churchill

Whew.  Good stuff.

Life is all about either growing or diminishing. You are either active or passive. And life is the struggle within the two. At all times.

Some people would simply suggest that an active life is better than a passive one. Oh. If only the solution were that simple (because it isn’t that one sided).  Sure. Embracing adventure or some activity you are passionate about (or believe will make you better) is important to what makes many of us happy and feel like we are being productive within our life. But it isn’t just about going out and doing a bunch of stuff.  It’s about going out and doing the right stuff. And to be happiest … the right stuff at the right time.

So be careful.

You may elect to ignore people who tell you to “slow down and take it easy” because you feel like you are being productive and ‘doing.’ But be sure you are aware of what you are doing and how you are investing your energy. Because energy is not limitless.

Life is about balance. Balancing rest and energy. But this is where stagnancy or indolence issue steps up to the plate. Because happiness can be such a struggle and ‘doing nothing’ sometimes seems the easiest thing to do. It isn’t (no matter how it may look r feel at the time).  You HAVE to invest some energy at some point. If not for you then you have to for those around you. Because in the end we see that the energetic displaces the passive. Even if the passive is “good” (intentions or in heart). Because evil is restless.  And energetic.

“In this very real world, good doesn’t drive out evil. Evil doesn’t drive out good. But the energetic displaces the passive.” bill bernbach

Ok. My fear is when people read this last quote they begin to dedicate all their energies to … well … doing.  With good intentions but not seeing the forest because of the trees.

Remember. We are not Eveready bunnies who can go and go and go.  Because all that “going” means investing energy.

And the people who you see going 110% all the time? Well.  The reason they do is because they haven’t figured it out.  They haven’t figured out when to rest and when to invest energy. And having already decided mentally that they need to invest energy to win the struggle they just invest.

And invest.  And invest (I would like to point out … with diminishing returns).

Please.  Everyone.  This isn’t about time management.

If you read my “time according to Lucy” post you know I am skeptical of the whole managing time concept. The closest suggestion I can make to clarify what I am trying to say in this post can maybe be found in the book Power of Full Engagement. The book suggests that instead of trying to manage time we should be conscious of managing our energy.

I am not talking as literally as the book author suggests (they suggest at different points in the day we have more energy than others as well as more motivated to do certain things at certain moments). I don’t think this is about planning your work times around when you expect to have creative energy (like the book suggests).

This is just about investing energy at the right times.

Yes.

Investing energy at the right time in the right place.

This is not about motivation or creative energy or any of that.  This is simply about recognizing ‘influential moments’ (moments that can swing your day or life) and acting upon them by investing energy.

And that, my friends, is a choice.

a choice to invest what energy you have available, no holding back, when the opportunity arises.

Yes. That is a choice.

And not investing energy at some times (when people look at you and worry if you are lazy).

And, yes, that is a choice.

Choices based on understanding the difference between rest and stagnancy.

Maybe that is “the” choice.

Yeah.  Life is a struggle. And a struggle of choices. But mostly it is a struggle of energy. When to invest and when to not invest.

Ok.

This was a rambling post. Time to stop investing energy and rest.

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Written by Bruce