“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” —Benjamin Franklin
Energy has always been elusive to me.
In grade school, I refused to put anything in my mouth other than carbs and sugar. I was not the skinny kid. Nor the energetic one.
My eating habits matured over time, but my energy levels never quite came around. Far too many caffeinated beverages became a needed crutch.
Eighteen months ago, I found out that just about everything was wrong that could be wrong with the parts of me that regulate energy. Since then I’ve been on an investigation of how to tip the energy scales in my favor. My findings proved borderline miraculous.
Call me slow, but it’s only been through this recent journey, 30 years in, that I’ve realized the relevance of energy efficiency to every part of life. I now have little doubt that it is a vital component to achieving success. Here’s what I found.
Related: Boost Your Energy Now
Energy is the micro-currency of success.
Please forgive me for throwing another “secret to success” at you. But as biology can be studied at a cellular level, I think success can be studied at an energetic one. And if you were to dial most reasons for success back to their least common denominator, you’d land on an individual’s energy—be it physical, mental or emotional. It is the smallest functional unit that empowers efficiency, motivation and opportunity.
Optimize energy and we optimize our chances at success, whatever that might mean to you.
“The first rule of success, and the one that supersedes all others, is to have energy. It is important to know how to concentrate it, how to husband it, how to focus it on important things instead of frittering it away on trivia.” —Michael Korda
Our energy attracts and creates what we want.
At least according to biology it does.
Simply put, particles within every atom, within every cell of our bodies, throw off a frequency of energy in every direction. This energy is either in a “grounded” or “excited” state, which dictates its ability to attract, absorb and affect its environment.
Low or grounded energy is a less magnetized one, meaning it attracts and absorbs less particles around it. It doesn’t affect the surrounding space much, if at all. Excited energy is as you would imagine: The particles within an atom are buzzing at a high frequency attracting, absorbing and affecting everything in its space.
This pattern plays out at every level inside your body and even in the way your body interacts with the world around it. Optimize your energy and you optimize your ability to both attract what you want and create the movement in your environment necessary to accomplish that thing.
“A strong, successful man is not the victim of his environment. His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires.” —Orison Swett Marden
An excited energy state is where the magic happens.
It’s the frequency of creativity and inspiration and purposeful action. It’s where the optimal state of existence, what many scientists have called flow state, exists.
According to experts, one out of five Americans say they have fatigue that interferes with their daily lives, and more than 1 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. With an abundance of modern reasons cited for it, many health researchers are calling our excessive energy poverty an epidemic.
It’s time to tip the energy scales in our favor.
I’ve been researching and experimenting with this energy-excited state for the past 18 months. Not so coincidentally, I’ve felt better, accomplished more, made more money and had more opportunities than any previous 18-month window of my life.
I’ve also found a handful of small life tweaks that have made a favorably disproportionate difference for me. Here are three:
1. Design a daily routine in Circadian rhythms.
Our Circadian clock is the internal mechanism that governs our biology according to 24-hour rhythms. This clock marks our daily schedule and tells us when to sleep, eat and, more important, when to think.
Simply the existence of these 24-hour rhythms tells us that daily routines are valuable to pacing our lives. Interestingly though, even if we do develop daily routines, it doesn’t mean that we are in sync with our natural rhythms.
For example, on a typical sleep schedule, mental energy tends to peak before noon, while physical energy crests in the afternoon. But we try to force a workout first thing in morning or a creative session after lunch—wasting energy that is guaranteed to be in natural supply just a couple hours later in the day.
Don’t fight your biology. Learn your natural energetic rhythms and work with them to optimize your productivity.
2. Optimize optimism.
This is where it gets really interesting. The TV digest version of a fascinating reality is that our brains release energy in the same way as the micro particles inside of us, as discussed earlier. And this release creates a vibration or frequency that can be measured.
Fascinating information, no doubt. But when coupled with what we learned earlier, that energy at an excited state or higher frequency attracts what you want and creates the movement in your environment necessary to accomplish that thing, optimism goes from a soft self-help topic to one with very hard results.
Of course if this is too metaphysical for your tastes, you might consider Stanford Research Institute’s recent discovery:
“Success is based on 88 percent mental attitude and 12 percent knowledge and skills.”
3. Schedule the ebb.
At every level of our biology we see the value of an ebb and flow. Three biological patterns stand out, however:
- The law of energy conservation tells us that we cannot produce any more energy than we currently have. We can only convert it from passive to active. This conversion process, or ebb and flow of energy, is what sustains us energetically. In other words, the excited energetic state is dependent on the conservation during the grounded state.
- Ultradian cycles, or the patterns of life shorter than 24 hours (90-minute REM cycle), tell us that our brains can focus on a given task for 90 to 120 minutes. Beyond this point, a 20- to 30-minute break is necessary for us to return back to optimal mental energy.
- Circaseptan cycles, or our biological seven-day cycles, tell us that our heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature, and hormone levels rise and fall in seven-day patterns and that their optimal state is dependent on a restful period of time (Think Sabbath day).
So if we want to optimize our energy levels? Don’t miss the power of rest—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I’ve exhausted the point. Let’s put a bow on it.
Want to optimize your chances of succeeding at what you’ve set out to do today? Optimize your energy.
Ty Ward is an author, CEO & donut aficionado. He runs ADVOCATE, an agency that helps influencers build & monetize brands online. He writes about optimizing daily routines on tyward.co. Otherwise, you’ll find him at home in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, Analee, and two boys—likely eating donuts.
He recently released Rhythms: How to design your day to optimize success.