The Energy of Life
If I asked you to tell me about your energy level, I imagine the first thing you would think of is how tired you are, how much caffeine you’ve had, or what’s left on your to-do list and whether you have enough gas in your tank to get it all accomplished.
But I’m thinking more about your enthusiasm and the energy you project to the world. I’ve always heard “your energy introduces you before you even speak”. If that’s true, what are you telling people about yourself?
Firecracker or snooze-fest? We usually size someone up as one or the other before the introductory handshake is over. If so, how are you being pegged by the people you meet and even the people you already know.
Enthusiasm shares something in common with exercise. Most people who exercise will tell you if you’re tired and lethargic, the thing that will help you the most is to exercise. You have to expend energy to get energy.
Or, just like the old business adage, “You have to spend money to make money”. There is an emotional equivalent of this which is “you get love by giving love.” It’s the law of give and receive, and there seems to be a theme here.
Energy and enthusiasm are the same way. When you are so tired that doing the slightest thing is an ordeal: dig deep. Smile. You are creating energy from scratch. And while it’s not easy, it is contagious!
That’s the thing no one seems to understand: you get to choose. It’s not something that happens to you. In Jon Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus, the protagonist is told, “See, George, you chose to smile and just by doing that one thing, you changed your energy. A smile changes the way you feel, the way you think, and how you interact with others. The energy you fuel the ride of your life with is entirely up to you.”
It has been scientifically proven that simply “going through the motions” can trigger the actual emotions themselves. Neurologist Dr. Isha Gupta explains how smiling spurs a release of the hormones dopamine (which increases happiness) and serotonin (which reduces stress). Sure, when we’re happy we smile, but smiling itself also promotes happiness.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." I think he’s right, but I have to warn you: there are always going to be a few of those sad sacks out there who will look at you like you are crazy or silly because you have enthusiasm, but who stands a better chance of achieving something great or maybe even just spreading some sunshine to someone who needs it?