June 8, 2009

The Energy of Engagement

Entropy is the normal state of consciousness – a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable. — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Some days lethargy does its best to have its way with us.

Goodness knows everybody likes a good do-nothing afternoon. It can be a real treat to sit in the sun basking in its warmth. Kicking back to watch a good movie or your favorite team play a great game? Wonderful.

And yet…

A little of that sort of thing goes a long way. And if we indulge ourselves too much, we can find that lethargy has wrapped itself around us like a lazy vampire, sucking our energy dry and leaving us immobilized.

Isolation Can Be So… Isolating

It can feel like depression after awhile, in fact. All because we’ve cut ourselves off and stopped engaging our fellow humans.

In the consulting side of my business I sometimes end up working on projects that keep me in my office for long stretches. Though I love the work, I find over time that my energy drops. I can stretch, take breaks, go for walks, but there’s really only one cure for me.

Engaging others.

One of the reasons I like coaching is that the work brings me into direct interaction with others. I find, though, that being in an outside environment is sometimes the change I need to re-energize.

It’s the stimulation I get by being around others who also want to interact. I therefore spend a good percentage of my week working outside the office in a collaborative space filled with other small business owners. I have also chosen a couple of organizations that are good fits for my interests, and I participate in them every week.

Humans are Social Creatures

We humans are social creatures. We need the energy we get from engaging others. We need one another just as much as we need a bit of quiet time, a little exercise, nourishing food, and adequate sleep every day.

Studies report that people who insulate themselves from others tend toward frequent depression and lethargy.

I watched my 94-year-old grandmother slide into lethargy as soon as she stopped getting out of her house. Yet my next door neighbor Randy, who is 90, gets out several times a week, and goes dancing every Friday night. While he has his share of health problems, he is full of cheer, vim, and vigor because he’s getting out and about.

People need people, make no mistake.

As you move into the world this week, let your energy levels be your guide. The next time you’re feeling a little lazy, do something different. Step out into the world. Engage, and be engaged.

You might just find yourself filled with new energy and purpose.

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