Your energy is your responsibility.
“This is exactly what happened! I have conditioned myself to change my neuroassociation! Holy shit!” – a shower epiphany hit me.
What’s a neuroassociation? What was I talking about? Let me go back a couple of steps first.
So the obvious statement here is that it’s been hard, for most of us, to keep a good energy level during this pandemic. Who knows, maybe that’s something that you’ve been always struggling with, even before COVID.
And we all know the magic formula: sleep, diet, a stillness practice of sorts, and physical exercise.
“Cool, thanks, I can leave this page now.”
How come the knowledge itself isn’t enough? How come we don’t always find clear and established facts motivating? And what is motivating then?
This is where I want to bring in Brendon Burchard, the guy when it comes to personal development. Is he one of our resources today? Yes indeed!
One of the most memorable things regarding energy that he always says and writes about is this:
A power plant doesn’t have energy; it generates energy.
The good news here: we have agency!
The bad news: ah, shit, so it’s on me.
You know why admitting that sucks? Because it means holding ourselves accountable. And that takes courage.
(It’s a good thing we’ve worked on our courage and fears already and we’re completely good to go, right?:)
The exciting news here is that what Brendon really reminds us about is something we can turn to science to help us with.
The epiphany that I’ve described in my (I thought, intriguing) opening story not only hit me when I was in the shower; it was also about the shower.
I’ve been taking cold showers for over a year now and, let me tell you, that is something I had never planned on doing. Like, that was NOT part of my self-image, at all. As another resource for today, I will introduce you to the man who’s so damn cool that he had that influence on me.
But let me continue with my never-ending story! Recently, I’ve learned about the concept of neuroassociations. These are, well, associations that we attach to certain actions or experiences. They can be positive or negative.
For example, you might associate learning about a specific topic with pain, since you see yourself as being deprived of certain joys in life when you’re doing it. Or, the other way round, you might associate it with being better-equipped to perform certain tasks better, creating more value, or helping more people. Needless to say, these are very different neuroassociations. And you can kinda guess in which scenario you’d feel more motivated to go for it.
Therefore, to change our habits – including habits that can bring us more energy – we need to assess our neuroassociations.
And we might need to consciously form new ones.
This is exactly what happened with me and cold showers.
Have they become more pleasant, and that’s why I continued taking them? Oh, my God, no.
But you see, what I would first associate with pain and discomfort, I now associate with energy, strength, and being in control. And that matters to me. Why? Coz I want to show up in life having that energy, having that enthusiasm, and, hey, I wanna be able to work on my own things, for example, creating this challenge.
I know this is not the only possible way to approach the topic of energy, but let me continue with my oversimplification.
What we need are three things:
One, to accept that, yes, we are able to generate that energy.
Two, to have a clear and strong WHY behind our desire to do so.
Three, to assess our current neuroassociations and see what needs to change here.
You know what? Let’s do it now, in the following section.
Are there any particular projects, activities, inner or outer journeys you think you would start, continue, or maybe stop doing if you had more energy? Is there anyone in your life who would benefit from you being in a better state?
What would that look like, you having more energy? How would you really feel? How would you treat others?
What is one thing that you can introduce to your routine, remove it from there, or intensify it today to have more energy both in the short- and long-term? Can you become your own coach and form a positive neuroassociation around it?
What are the consequences of you not taking that action? And how will you see yourself if you do take it?
Resource of the Day
One, Brendon Burchard!
As Brendon’s research on high performers shows, the King/Queen/Prime Minister (my addition;) of any kind of motivation in life is clarity. If there’s no clear WHY, everything else can get a bit shaky.
So instead of kindly directing you to his resources on energy, I’d like to recommend you check out his free programme, Transformational Week. Honestly, I did it last year without taking the journaling exercises seriously (I believe it’s called half-assing things…) and I found it OK. I did it again this year but this time actually downloaded and filled in those sheets, and…what a different experience it was! Some things I found myself scared to put down on paper, coz that would mean I would have to follow through, to be true to myself. “Remember what Brené would say! Remember Liz Gilbert!”
Two, Wim Hof!!!
When I grow up, I wanna be like Wim.
It wasn’t the insane science behind cold exposure and a certain way of breathing that has convinced me to try those cold showers. I’ve realised recently that it was the power of storytelling. Wim’s own story is such a powerful and beautiful one: to have regained that joy of life after what has happened to his wife and to have pursued something that could have helped her.
I wanted to write, without realising the cheesiness of it all, ‘What a cool man he is!’. But it’s true, so I’m keeping it.
Please watch it. If not to start with those cold showers, then at least to see a refreshing alternative to how we can lead our lives.