How to Have Unlimited Energy

How to Have Unlimited Energy

Is it really possible to have unlimited energy? Probably not. But I bet that title got you curious.

I think everyone wants “unlimited” amounts of energy. We want to work at peak performance, stuck in the “on” position. We want to be wildly on fire with passion every minute of every day. And when we’re not, we often judge ourselves for not being on fire enough.

It can be easy to question what we’re doing. There must be something we should be doing that’s more exciting, right?

Maybe, maybe not.

Passion and excitement are incredible tools. They are great for accomplishing things that require intense bursts of energy, like backflips or book manuscript deadlines. But these are heightened states — they’re not sustainable.

Great tornadoes or tsunamis are breathtaking and awe-inspiring. But even nature can’t sustain these bursts of energy for long periods of time.

So, if we can’t be madly on fire with passion every single moment, then what should we aim for instead?

Slow burning enthusiasm

We certainly don’t want our reserves to explode like a firecracker, quickly burning off any stores of energy that we might need later. So instead of being quick to release (maybe some men can relate to this…), it might make sense to cultivate a state of slow-burning enthusiasm.

Yes, we can be enthusiastic about this moment. Yes, that is what we should aim for.

But it doesn’t need to be holy shit! amazing! mind explosion!

That’s usually the sign of a fleeting desire. A momentary diversion that may be interesting now, but doesn’t have much fulfillment to offer in the grand scheme of things. I don’t condemn these pursuits, I only point out that they’re not sustainable to cultivate.

Anyway, we know our own ego-driven energy is finite. So, how do we tap into something bigger, more inexhuastible?

What’s bigger than you?

There is only so much we can accomplish, only so much energy we have access to through solitary pursuits. If we want to tap into a bigger well-spring of energy, we need to move beyond ourselves.

We need to share a cause worth working toward, together. Something more collective and unifying.

So, how is what you love bigger than just you? How does what you do relate to a cause that’s deeper than your finite existence?

Dig deeper.

You’ll find a source of energy that flows, and flows, and flows. You can become a conduit for it. Give yourself to it, and it can run through you. I think you’ll be surprised at how effective this can be.

And rather than burning out like a constantly flickering flame, you can steadily shine brightly.

It’s said that the light we see from stars in the sky exists far in the past. When you burn brightly, you can also leave your own light trails for others to be illuminated by, and follow far into the future.

I’ll leave you with a question: Have you ever judged yourself for not being able to sustain intense passion and excitement all the time?

Curious to hear your thoughts.

photo courtesy of blmurch

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Comment & Add Your Voice

BrentonGieser September 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

Passion and excitement is often elusive because we are not present enough to enter into real authentic states of passion and excitement. I will keep this with me today…

Living beyond yourself is uber important…beyond ego and in the world of others is real passion takes place. We’ve all had a spark of illumination light through us when you have world changing thoughts…beyond your own needs…why not live it??

Love the post Jonathan…nice title to leverage at 9am in the morning :)

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JonathanMead September 22, 2011 at 9:47 am

@BrentonGieser Glad you enjoyed it Brenton. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately.

mikerouten September 22, 2011 at 10:00 am

Jonathan,

Thanks for this. As someone who is not very emotional, I sometimes wonder if I am truly passionate about anything. However, when you describe it as the “slow burning enthusiasm”, then I realize that I do have passions. They just do not manifest themselves as the outward expressions that I normally associate with the word “passion”.

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BenjaminOliverJenks September 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

Jonathan,

Great Post! Title caught me and love the Americana can of Ol’ Glory. :)

I have judged myself and still do. Unlike Mike, I can go on bursts of creative spells or have ideas that almost get me “drunk” with enthusiasm. I can stay up for nights making a video or working on a project… only to be useless for days.

When I am really “jamming” and am passionate and excited it feels so good. I want to keep it going, keep creating, keep giving…

I know in my rational mind the cycle of energy and life go up and down. That to stay “sourced” in giving and in my passions that coincide with issues that are bigger than myself, yet… when I get tired my brain is harder to manage.

I’m taking your post to heart.

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JonathanMead September 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

@BenjaminOliverJenks That can caught my eye when I saw it. Did you know it has the pledge of allegiance written on the back of it?

Esther van der Wal September 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

Ah, this is good stuff. My energy level is always a source of concern to me. And I think many of us are guilty of beating ourselves up over not maintaining our enthusiasm or passion for a project every moment of every day. Life’s just not like that, no matter how pretty the magazines and commercials may paint the picture.

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JonathanMead September 22, 2011 at 11:34 am

@Esther van der Wal Yeah, that’s true. There are some blogs out there that herald this message too. Not that I have anything to do with that though. :)

mjcwriter September 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I totally do this! My waning energy makes me second guess my actions and passion. Is that common for all creatives? Makes me think maybe my novel shouldn’t be revised and published if I’m losing interest…

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LauraLeeBloor September 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Yes, I often berate myself for not having enough energy and excitement to keep working on projects. It’s hard to keep working on a side hustle after a full day’s work. I often find myself saying, “The more you work on your side hustle, the faster you get out of your cubicle.” Sometimes that motivates me to keep working a little longer, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I’m just too tired, so I honor that, and go to bed. And you know what? I find when I do that, I have refreshed and renewed energy and purpose to do it all over again the next day. I’d call that the slow-burning enthusiasm.

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nateguggia September 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Can you give examples of what you mean? This is very vague and sounds good in theory but what are you saying?

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jendywo September 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

It sounds to me as if you’re talking about three separate things: passion, perseverance, and energy.

Barry Neil Kaufman of The Option Institute has an interesting presentation on how we can “juice ourselves”; deliberately turn up our passion in any given moment. What’s more, it’s pretty sustainable. We entrain our brains to respond to stimuli in a certain way and at a certain level. By deliberately disciplining our reaction, we create a neural path, kind of like walking through a field. At first it’s hard, but after you walk the same way many times, it becomes literally the path of least resistance. Practice passion deliberately and it becomes your go-to juice level. (You can try it right now. Think of something you’re grateful for and then deliberately get excited about it. You can feel the chemicals juicing up your brain as you go from “yeah, that’s nice” to “that is so f**king awesome!” Notice how much more present you feel and how much you’re noticing details about whatever it is.)

Perseverance is related to commitment, which is largely related to organization. It’s about being able to stick with a decision instead of constantly bleeding off your energy by second-guessing yourself. It’s about chunking a large task down and doing the next right thing. It’s about showing up and putting in your time even when the muse has abandoned you. Keep showing up, and the genie(us) will eventually do its magic. Only work when “inspired” and you get a bunch of half-finished projects, outlines, sketches.

Energy is about building a lot and not wasting it.

For the first, we all know the advice. Drink water. Eat well. Keep regular hours/get plenty of sleep. Balance time spent on work, socialization, and alone time. Exercise (for me it’s 20 minutes a day in the sunlight before 9 a.m. or I’m a dead parrot for the rest of the day. YMMV.) Meditate. Learn. Laugh. Even the most passionate and organized person is going to fail on a diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

For the second, guilt and blame are huge energy sinks. If you’re wasting your energy beating yourself up for what you should have accomplished yesterday, you have that much less energy for today. Living with clutter is a big energy drain. We do all kinds of things to protect ourselves (including judging ourselves for not sustaining passion or commitment) that actually sabotage rather than motivate.

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Jeff - Digital Nomad Journey September 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Being stuck in the “on” position is a terrible way to live.

I think bursts of enthusiasm are important when able to be harnessed on command (if that’s possible). But we really need the down times to recharge. This slow burning engery, should be fueled by your life’s biggest desire, which permeates your actions on a regular basis.

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spiritsentient September 24, 2011 at 11:11 am

Thanks so much Jon! Beautiful post, on an often misunderstood topic. I particularly liked the nature-tsunami metaphor.

In reply to someone who felt this was ‘vague’, I’d like to propose that our language does, and always has, become relatively abstract and unspecific in regards to the spiritual concepts like energy-flow, inspiration-conduits, etc.

I also submit that the world’s like this for a reason, as a balance and a counter-point to the hyper-literal, science-community. If someone wants to connect with divine energy, In my experience usually requires ‘more faith + feeling’ and less ‘details and analysis’, at least until we succeed in blending the two a little better :)

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iamjakeocallaghan September 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Jonathan, thank you for telling the truth about energy. It’s not unlimited.

I have found that energy is more important than time. There is more time in the day, than energy I believe. This is why I do my most important work when I wake up, the time where I have the most energy.

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wildyetzenful September 26, 2011 at 7:29 am

To answer your question: All the time. Then I become really disappointed in my lack of productivity and unhappiness takes over, which in turn causes me to just blow everything off. Not a good habit to cultivate…

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jimbrowncopyguy September 26, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I think for the majority of people, myself included…energy and passion are something that we need to work on daily. For me, it’s like brushing my teeth, miss a day or two and then it’s hard to get back on track. Am I the only one who writes post it notes to myself and then forget to read them?

I am passionate about many things and perhaps that could be one of the problems…lack of focus on one. I can talk about, write about martial arts/mma 24/7 and then the same thing could be said for birdwatching. Not exactly related but I am very passionate about both.

Anyone else find themselves pulled in directions that don’t match?

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emilyroseartist October 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Yes, and instead of continuing to do just that I am actively slowing down and paying more attention to my energy levels, surroundings and the things I want and need to do that i am passionate about long term, instead of taking on many short term goals that don’t honestly make sense for me.

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thenikigurl October 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

Indeed. And I am also pulled in directions that don’t “match.” I have a hard time choosing one over another …especially when in the heat of inspiration. One idea has helped me, however…accepting that not every work or project I complete will be the best I have done. Some are things that are necessary for other reasons, and some things have to come in their own way and time. That allows me to keep working without feeling that my inability to do everything perfectly is inadequate. Or at least, that is what I am working at :)

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leejennyjh May 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

REALLY glad you pointed this out. I was worried at first when I saw this headline on your Twitter. Having unlimited skyrocketing energy is dangerous if anything. What if you (and you will indeed) crash?

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BenjaminOliverJenks September 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

@JonathanMead Haha! I love that kind of stuff. Have this odd obsession with the design and colors of the USA. :)

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