In the second part of Focus and energy series I want to talk about focusing on the wrong things. One of the most common problems people are complaining to me about is time. They say “I don’t have enough time.” I know how that feels like because I also had such a complaint soon after I started Potentia Society. There was more and more work to be done and less and less time to do it. At the end of the day I was completely drained. And after a while even sleep doesn’t help you anymore. When you go to bed thoroughly exhausted day after day sometime after you also wake up exhausted. That’s when the vicious cycle of chronic fatigue begins.
Because you are tired all the time you lack focus and energy no matter what you do. In fact at that point you begin losing time since you become slower and slower at everything you do. Everything takes you even longer to accomplish than before and you get much more easily distracted by your surroundings. Then the most stubborn people take that vicious cycle to the extreme by cutting themselves off their biggest supply of energy that they have available – their sleep. It’s the easiest thing to do I guess but also the most foolish. That is how you begin to hate your life and that is the last thing you want to come to.
When I was trapped in that vicious circle I was thinking: “There has got to be a better way to do this. I cannot go on living like this year after year. Not to mention how can I teach people to live life optimally and help them with their well-being if I am living almost like a zombie myself.”
After some searching I found a principle which helped me turn that life around. I would contribute a big part of how I am living today and how it changed my life for the better in a very short period of time to that principle. It’s called “The 80/20 rule” or “The Parreto principle” and it simply states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. What that means is that around 80% of what happens in our lives comes from 20% of our actions. So a person who has never evaluated his or her life is wasting around 80% of his or her time! That’s three-quarters of his or her waking hours.
When I first hint or suggest this principle to people complaining about lack of time most of them say: “Everything I do is important.” That was also my reaction when I first heard about the principle. But can you imagine someone who has never done strength training in his or her life that would go to a coach and say: “I’m as strong as I can be. I don’t think I can increase my strength anymore.” How ridiculous does that sound? There is always room for optimization and if you have never reflected on your life like this before then there is a lot of space for optimization.
By starting the elimination process in your life the first thing you will get back is your time. But it’s important that you don’t immediately start to fill that gap with another activity. Try to just feel that newfound freedom. Because with that sense of freedom your energy will slowly start reemerging. You get energy by making a room in your life for spontaneity. By doing that in my life I feel like every year has been better than the previous one.
Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. And what I think he meant by that is that much of our life is really spent on things bringing us low value in exchange for our time. There are two reasons I can think of why people live this way. First is because we rather live in security than growth. We are afraid of making mistakes. Second is because we think that doing something unimportant great makes it important. It doesn’t. You may feel proud in your mind that you can do something great but if it is unimportant you are just wasting your time and therefore your life. By living like this your life just remains of low value to you. If you are asking questions such as: “Where is the good life? How much time will it take me to get there? Why are so many people enjoying their life and I’m not?” Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your life right now. Not wait for it to pop up itself in some distant future because it never will. It’s your mission to dedicate yourself to your life.