Mastery - Day 10 - ENERGY

If the word energy is traced back to its origin we end up ancient Greece, and a compound of words that if translated literally today we might read as 'in work'.

We are talking about our mental energy here, and even in sport it is the energy of our thought that makes the difference - it is the desire and want to achieve that allows people to push through 'the wall' when running a marathon. Pheidippides would probably never have made it from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, a distance of 240km give or take, in under 3 days, if he didn't have the mental energy gifted by the relief and joy at the defeat of the mighty Persian army that threatened his people.
  • Pursuing a dream, or avoiding a great hazard, will bring the mental desire, the energy, required to drive us forward.
  • Enjoying something, will bring the mental energy that drives us forward.
  • Learning will stimulate the mind and bring the mental energy that drives us forward.

Boredom and frustration will sap that energy.

Refresh your energy by doing something you love, or being with people you love - it is important to re-charge, to let the brain do something else for a while - sometimes to even let it do nothing - that’s why a walk around the block can refresh you enough to resume a draining task, we all have them, they are unavoidable.

A quick spoken reminder to ourselves can help, 'come on G, nearly finished' is often enough to help me complete a task late in the day, when all I really want to do is put my feet up.

A reminder of why we are doing something, the fulfilment of our dream, is often enough to bring that extra energy we need.


Stress generates an energy within us - but is the most dangerous, and unfortunately one of the most pervasive states we see in the world around us.
  • 'A little bit of stress helps me perform'
  • 'I work really well when I'm up against a deadline'

This IS dangerous bullshit.  The conscious mind, the pieces of brain that we think with, can rationalise away the need for stress, with the above excuses as our drivers for performance.

To the ancient brain, the deepest part of our brain that is common to virtually all animals, the unconscious brain that controls our breathing, heart rate and other unconscious physical reactions - there is no such rationalisation - the stress of running from a bear, is no different from the buzz your rational mind may feel as you work through the night to complete a report say. The ancient brain just knows that you need something extra and it releases all the hormones required to help you achieve it, it doesn’t know you are writing a report - it 'thinks' you are running from a bear - your heart rate increases, your muscles shake a bit, your breathing is irregular - you might even have to go to the loo suddenly - all ancient reactions to ancient threats which you are not facing.

  • Stress is very harmful for your body.
I know, from bitter experience - I woke on a Monday morning a quivering wreck, I didn't know why, I just knew that frankly, I felt totally fucked. I was signed off work for a month, and I hated it…


This is why balance is so important to our health, spend time doing things you love, spend time with people you love - this will recharge you mentally.

Exercise will help to use that adrenaline for its intended purpose.

Some people meditate to help calm and clear the mind, to remove the harmful inner thoughts and voices that create our inner stress, others go fishing, walking - I laugh with my kids when I can and take photographs.

There is nothing on earth to me so boring as stitching a sail - it is hard and laborious work, but there's also nothing quite so satisfying as hoisting a sail and moving somewhere in absolute silence using the power of nature alone - and I do prefer to sail alone.

    items found under a fridge
  • Unless you work in a role which really is about life and death - don't treat what you are doing as if it is life or death.

  • Find humour and fun in what you do - try and play at what you do.
I have written about creativity before - I really recommend spending time creating - the most important thing in the creativity exercises I recommend is that the result is never focused upon, quality is not the aim - it is the release found in the play of making that is important - if you happen to make something beautiful that's great, if it is fit only for the bin - well that's great too!

Day 11

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