Understanding Energy

“And what is a man without energy? Nothing – nothing at all.”– Mark Twain

Manage your energy, not your time.” – Tony Schwartz


Understanding Energy

Personal energy is the amount of stamina, vigour, or “juice” you have to complete a given task or engage in a particular activity.


Different types of energy

Tony Schwartz famously proclaims in his book, that most of us are chasing the wrong resource: hours in the day. Instead, we should focus on something entirely different: our energy.

Our energy can be broken down in 4 different elements:

  • Your physical energy – how healthy are you?
  • Your emotional energy – how happy are you?
  • Your mental energy – how well can you focus on something?
  • Your spiritual energy – why are you doing all of this? What is your purpose?


Physical Energy is Basic

We have been led to believe that there is basically one kind of energy. We supposedly replenish this energy by sleeping at night, and during the day, we use it up again. It is as though we are machines powered by batteries, and each night we recharge our batteries for seven or eight hours. However, there are some problems with this view of energy. The biggest problem is that it does not deal with the fact that there are actually three different kinds of energy, each of which is necessary for maximum performance.

The three main forms are physical energy, emotional energy, and mental energy. Each of these energies is different, but they are interrelated, and they depend on each other.

Physical energy is raw energy, coarse energy, bulk energy, what we call “meat-and-potatoes” energy. Your physical energy is what you use to do physical labour. It is the primary energy applied by men and women who earn their livings by the sweat of their brow. The human body needs proper nutrition (food), a healthy physical environment (eg. no pollutants), and exercise. If you neglect any of these things, your physical energy will be diminished.

The second form of energy is emotional energy. This is the energy of enthusiasm and excitement. This is the energy that lends sparkle to the life of an individual. This is the energy that is necessary for feeling love, happiness, and joy. Largely, it is your emotional energy that makes life enjoyable for you. In fact, almost everything you say and do is determined in some way by an emotion, either positive or negative.

Mental energy is the energy of creativity, of problem solving and decision making. You use mental energy to make sales, write reports and proposals, plan your day and your week, and learn new subjects. Your level of mental energy is a major determinant of the quality of your life.

These three “types” are all different and in many respects independent to each other; but they also impact upon each other. eg. A bad “emotional” state of mind will cause emotional exhaustion before physical mental exhaustion; but in time, it will also cause significant deterioration in your intellectual and physical energy levels.