The Ultimate Guide To Managing Your Energy On Purpose So You Can Thrive At Work And Life


You know that feeling when sometimes you’re all fired up and focused to work. While sometimes, you’re too tired to even do simple math.

Like physical energy, your mind also has a capacity. You can only create, consume or learn so much in a day.

Before I didn’t understand my energy, I would depend on my energy to dictate my actions. While such an approach helped me to stay sane, it was not the best way to optimize my work and life.

If you ask a creative person, they will tell that they don’t rely on their motivation to create. Most of them have a routine and they get the job done even when they don’t feel like it.

Showing up is half the battle won. But to win the other half of the battle, you must manage your energy.

Before I explain how you can understand and manage your energy, let’s have a quick look at the concept of time management.

The simple rules to effectively manage your time are:

  1. Manage short-term crisis and problems (Important and urgent work)
  2. Focus on long-term strategic goals (Important but not urgent work)
  3. Avoid distractions and interruptions (Urgent but not important)
  4. Limit time-wasting activities (Not important and not urgent)
Time Management

This approach is great to manage your tasks, but it falls short as it does not consider how well you perform the tasks.

To understand your energy, you need to analyze yourself first.

One of the big five personality traits is the scale of extraversion.

If you fall more towards the introvert side of the spectrum, you’ll recharge by spending time alone. But if you’re more of an extrovert, you’ll recharge by being around people.

Find out activities that fuel you.

For extroverts, it could be having a meal with friends or family, doing small talks throughout the day, working in open workspace (but still having boundaries for no distractions while working), etc.

For introverts, activities could involve reading, painting, journaling, spending time in nature, working in an isolated environment, etc.

Being an introvert or extrovert is not all black and white. We have traits of each personality type. Many people fall closer to the middle of the scale which makes them a mix of both.

No matter what your personality is, don’t use it as an excuse to limit yourself. You can always develop skills of another personality type if you work on it.

Having said that, embrace your nature and find ways to recharge your unique self.

After doing the self-analysis, let’s learn how you can manage your energy for optimal performance.

Here are the 4 types of activities:

1. Mentally Soothing & Soul Recharging

Activities may vary according to your personality as discussed earlier. Regardless of your introverted or extroverted nature, picking up a hobby or doing enjoyable tasks which require less mental effort fall under this category.

2. Mentally Stimulating & Soul Recharging

Activities involve creating, learning, working on a passion project, problem-solving, etc. This is the space when you need to thrive and perform with high energy levels.

3. Mentally Soothing & Soul Sucking

It involves not being your authentic self, doing things to please others, over-consumption of negative news, useless drama or social media, etc. These activities may not seem to affect you in that moment, but they result in wasted time and energy. They may occupy your mind for a long time and make you unfocused when it’s time to perform.

4. Mentally Stimulating & Soul Sucking

This is the 9–5 job that you absolutely hate (not all jobs are like that but you know the ones I’m talking about). When you’re forced to work and solve problems with no purpose or aspiration, it not only depletes your mental resources, it also crushes your soul.

Another example of such a situation is being in relationships with wrong people. They may take you for granted and ask for favors but never show up when you need help. They can influence you negatively, bring you down and leave negative vibes when you’re around them.

The worse is when they pretend to be your friend but they don’t want the best for you. Beware of such people because they will not only suck the soul out of you, but they can mentally keep you busy with their never-ending needs and demands.

Energy Management

Perform Soul Recharging Activities

In an ideal world, your goal is to do the activities that recharge your soul. These activities could be common or they can be unique that work for you.

You can switch between mentally stimulating and mentally soothing activities to manage your mental energy.

If you’re stuck in a situation where you have to perform soul sucking activities, then try your best to change your perception. Find meaning in the smallest things and take it as a challenge to overcome. It could become your story of struggle that you can embrace and share.

Energy Hacks

Some activities can charge you up so well that you can use them as a pre-performance or recovery ritual. Some energy hacks can fix a dopamine, serotonin or oxytocin deficiency in a healthy way. They can boost your motivation, help you manage your mood, keep you focused and calm.

Here are few options you can try out and see which energy hacks work for you:

Listen To Music

To enhance your focus while doing deep work, you can listen to background sounds or music — Nature, cafe, classical music, video game music, etc.

When you want to feel pumped up, listen to musics with high energy to boost your motivation.

You can also listen to music for leisure as a mentally soothing and soul recharging activity.

Sleep Or Take A Nap

Sleep is the ultimate way to rejuvenate. Get 7–9 hours of sleep every day and notice the magical transformation in your energy, focus, and mood.

If you fall short on sleep, you can also take power naps in the afternoon to wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

‘Coffee nap’ is a hack many high-performers use to boost their energy levels. In this method, you drink coffee right before taking a nap. By the time the caffeine kicks in, you will wake up super recharged in about 30 minutes.

Just make sure not to drink too much caffeine regularly. You want to avoid getting dependent on caffeine for energy. Also, avoid taking a nap or drinking coffee in the evening or at night so you can get quality sleep at night.

Deep Breathing Or Meditation

Deep breathing signals your brain to relax. It supplies oxygen to the brain and helps us to regain focus.

Observing your thoughts is another way to hit the pause button and watch yourself from an outside perspective. Notice the thoughts entering your mind and then let them go one by one. The thoughts will come back or new thoughts will enter your brain but your job is to simply observe and let them go.

Another approach is to daydream or do nothing. Because we live in the age of the internet, we spend a lot of our time in front of a screen. Our brain hardly gets any chance to rest.

To improve your creativity, give your brain some time to wander. Give it some private space where there is no external stimulation from people, phone or computer.

Move

Physical movement has proven to improve memory, cognition function and beat depression. Choose how you want to exercise — Lift weights, do bodyweight exercises, run, swim, or play a sport.

For best results, move often, do resistance training (through weights or bodyweight) and do some cardiovascular exercises.

On the days when you don’t get the chance to workout, try to keep your body active by switching between standing and sitting while working. You may also do jumping jacks or walk a few steps between the sitting time.

Stretching, yoga, tai chi, qigong, and self-massaging by using a foam roller are good ways to loosen up the body and decompress the spine. Inversion (hanging upside down) or holding handstand position improves blood flow to the brain. You can use a wall to support yourself while doing a supported handstand. But only perform the move once you have enough strength to hold your own bodyweight.

Cold Showers

The benefits of cold showers are similar to physical exercise for cognition and energy. It energises you, makes you more alert and improves your mood.

Eat Well And Hydrate

I can’t emphasize the power of nutrition enough. Eat nutrient-dense foods to get an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Keep your body and brain healthy by drinking enough water, eating enough protein, colorful vegetables and fruits, healthy fats and other healthy foods that your body digests well.

The key is to listen to your body. Notice how it reacts to different foods and adjust accordingly.

Avoid simple carbs and sugars to not get blood glucose spike and crash. Keep your blood glucose stable by eating fiber-rich complex carbs which will maintain your energy levels.

Express Gratitude

Practice the skill of happiness by being grateful. Stop the negative chatter and switch to a beautiful state.

Do Random Acts Of Kindness

Leaving a kind review or a comment, helping a stranger, answering a question on Quora, writing a thank you letter are some ways you can do it.

The positive impact on others will recharge your soul.

Experience Novelty

Work in a different environment, take a different route, hop on a random bus, go to a new place, meet new people, learn or try something new and the list goes on.

Even when you’re doing things out of routine, try to notice new things. Sometimes, I give myself the task to notice ten new things on a path which I’ve walked thousands of time.

Connect With Friends & Family Members You Love

Share your experiences and lessons. Listen to others. Give support. Ask for help. Laugh. Hug. Love. Forgive.

Connect With Nature

We are more disconnected from nature than ever before. Being in nature and listening to the natural sounds can make you feel peaceful.

The vitamin D from sunlight helps in many hormonal functions in our body. It beats depression and keeps you in a good mood.

Play

Animals and kids play all the time. It’s only us, adults, who have forgotten the joy of playing.

Let yourself immerse while playing and forget all the worries for a while.

Watch Documentaries Or Movies

Watching documentaries and movies is an amazing way to expand your knowledge, experience thrill or get inspired.

Read

Read nonfiction for learning and fiction for pleasure. Switch off the world for a while and get lost in a book.

Express Creativity

Write

Writing is a therapy, an expression and a way to share ideas or lessons with the world.

Even if you’re not a writer, you can journal to let thoughts come out of your mind. It will make you feel at peace and help you let go of the worries.

Draw

I have zero drawing skills. But still, I doodle or color often to feel calm.

If you draw well, do yourself a favor and paint or draw for the sake of your soul.

It doesn’t even have to be drawing. You can knit, create a collage, decorate or find other ways to express creativity.

Sing or dance or play an instrument

It’s another form of expression. Let that voice, music or those moves come out.

Clean, Declutter, Organize or Simplify

Reduce the number of useless decisions you make to avoid decision fatigue. It reduces your mental energy which you can preserve for important tasks. Routinize the day-to-day activities in your life so you don’t have to make too many decisions on the fly. This way, you will give your brain some time to rest.

You can also make bulk decisions on one day of the week. For example, you can make a list, buy groceries and prepare or plan meals in advance for the next few days.

Zoom out and remove all the tasks you don’t need to do. Don’t sacrifice your sanity for the sake of ‘productivity’. Postpone, delegate or delete tasks from your to-do list.

Organize or declutter closets, files, documents, browser tabs, emails, etc.

Delete. Uninstall. Sell. Donate.

Practice the joy of less. Desire less stuff. Let go.


When you feel overwhelmed, distracted or disconnected, use the energy hacks to get back on track all refreshed and recharged.

It’s wise to step back, unplug and recharge on purpose to do your best deep work.

As you learn to manage your energy better, your productivity and focus will improve; and you’ll enjoy your life as you hustle for your dreams.

Want To Succeed Every Day?

Design your daily success checklist for high performance and success. Click here to download the free PDF file.

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I Stopped Chasing Success And Happiness. Here’s An Alternative To Make The Most Out Of Life.

Liars.

They told me that if I find success, I will be happy. And some told me that life is all about happiness and enjoyment.

I disagree with both.

You can achieve so much and still feel hollow from inside. In the same way, you can feel happy and still perform unhealthy or destructive activities. It may also lead to being settled or ignorant of your capabilities.

Success is about achieving more. Happiness is about being content with what you have.

If you desire less, you suffer less. Thus, you become happier.

If you desire more, you suffer more. But, you may become more successful.

So which one should you choose?

You can choose both.

We all suffer in one way or another. But the question is — What are you willing to suffer for?

The problem is that most people desire too many things at one time.

The more things you desire, the more you have to suffer.

So, what’s the solution?

Desire less, but desire strong.

We go about desiring things all day long and then wondering why we’re unhappy. So, I like to stay aware of that because then I can choose my desires very carefully. I try not to have more than one big desire in my life at any given time, and I also recognize that as the axis of my suffering. I realize that that’s where I’ve chosen to be unhappy. — Naval Ravikant

When we desire a lot, we may remain unsatisfied with life.

The reason is that no matter what we achieve, we still have unmet needs which will stop us from giving ourselves permission to be happy. So, we stay unfulfilled and unhappy.

Even if you have a huge bucket list of things you want to do before dying, focus only on checking a few items first instead of trying to do all at once.

Pick your priorities and desires carefully and then let them be the source of your suffering.

Borrow happiness from the appreciation of what you’ve already achieved and then desire a few things strongly.

Once you get what you want, take the time to appreciate and move on to your next achievement.

Kill Regrets Before Death

Regrets can either come from desiring too many things or not having the courage to follow your inner voice.

What do you enjoy doing?

What are you willing to struggle for?

What sacrifices are you willing to make?

How do you want to be remembered?

These are the key questions you must answer to avoid the biggest regrets in life.

Don’t chase what success means to other people. Define what success means to you.

Take the time to define your values, core desire, deeper purpose and a vision.

When your daily actions reflect who you are and what you want to become, you will feel calm and fulfilled. And once you achieve your goals, you will feel immense joy and gratitude.

After success, you have to realign and check with yourself if you’re moving in the right direction.

Misalignment with yourself keeps you unhappy even after achieving your goals.

Integrity keeps you happy on the path of success.

Your decisions and action must be aligned with your values. The moment you betray your values, you will feel unsatisfied.

Alternatives To Success and Happiness

Instead of chasing success, chase growth. And instead of chasing happiness, chase peace.

Being on a path of continuous growth and passion helps you live a meaningful life.

Don’t tie your happiness with your goals. Pursue goals for continuous growth, not for a set destination.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. — Benjamin Franklin

While suffering, you may not find success or happiness. But you can always find growth and peace in any situation.

The combination of growth and peace leads to a life of fulfilment.

So, don’t settle. Change the things you don’t like about your life but also accept the things you can’t change.

Success may involve comparison with others whereas growth is about the comparison with your past self. Happiness is just a state of mind whereas peace is a way of living.

People think delaying gratification for future success is to delay happiness. But it’s not true.

The act of delaying gratification can become joyful if you treat it such way. When you’re intrinsically motivated, the struggle becomes the joy.

Keep pushing your boundaries and take the time to appreciate your growth.

Stay curious about how much you can grow and learn. (Hint: There is no limit)

An Analogy…

Hedonic Treadmill

It’s a rat race where beautiful moments are forgotten and the present is based on misery. It leads to burnout and then we may find unhealthy ways to make ourselves feel better.

slimming-1136637_1920.png

Trek

It’s a walk towards the top of the mountain. You can look back to appreciate your achievement. You can feel the beauty in the present moment. You keep moving forward. You stay focused on your vision. Here, you intentionally make time for rest, relaxation and recovery.

On this pursuit, success tastes much better than achieving success on a hedonic treadmill. And after achieving success, what do you do? — You appreciate and move forward.

adventure-1850912_1920

Skip the hedonic treadmill, go on a trek instead.

Conclusion

Suffering is inevitable, and it’s important for success. Misery is when you suffer for the wrong reasons.

Suffer for the right reasons and enjoy the pursuit of growth and peace. Success and happiness will come along.

Remain grateful and strive for what truly matters to you.

Looking for more alternatives to happiness and success?

Read: There’s more to life than happiness and success (3 min.)

Want To Succeed Every Day?

Design your daily success checklist for high performance and success. Click here to download the free PDF file.

A Practical Hack To Combat Negative Thoughts In 2 Minutes Or Less

According to National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts.

If we repeat those negative thoughts, we think negative way more than we think positive thoughts.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapists have a term for it — ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts).

All negative thoughts are not bad. Being alert can help you survive but most negative thoughts are useless. They only create imaginary drama in your mind.

Let’s break this pattern. Do an exercise with me.

Step 1

Take out a piece of paper or open a writing software on your computer or mobile.

Step 2

List every negative thought you have. Once you’ve listed everything down, don’t stop. Dig deeper and write more thoughts about:

  • Your fears
  • Your insecurities
  • Your losses
  • Things that stress you out regularly
  • Things that irritate you about other people

Step 3

Make another column or a separate list.

Now, for every negative thought, write at least one positive thought.

  • If you fear failure, write one instance when failure helped you to learn a lesson.
  • If you’re insecure about your skills, write how much you’ve improved since you started.
  • If you’ve lost a relationship in the past, write about the beautiful time you spent with each other.
  • If you stress about work, write how your work is serving other people.
  • If you don’t like your coworker’s behavior, write about one positive thing about that person.

Shifting perspective sounds easy. But it’s not.

It takes practice.

This is why I want you to do this exercise right now. Once you do this exercise, your mind will remember it.

It will become part of your thinking process. Whenever you think of a negative thought, counter it with a positive one

Nervous about giving a speech in public? Think of the positive impact you will make.

Lost money? Think of one thing you have remain.

Feeling jealous? Appreciate one thing about yourself.

Make it a habit. Give yourself a one day challenge to balance your thoughts.

The aim is to make this habit part of your subconscious. Once it has become part of your thinking process, you will shift your perspective like Tony Robbins does.

Tony says we live in either of the two mental states — A beautiful state or a suffering state.

A beautiful state is when you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity or appreciation.

A suffering state is when you feel stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful or fearful.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Tony was not born optimistic. He practiced it. He put in the effort.

You can do the same.

Your thoughts are the roots of your destiny. Your next action results from your next thought. You owe it to yourself to improve the quality of your thoughts.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” — Lao Tzu

Take action

Do the exercise and give yourself a one day challenge to get started.

It takes a cue, routine and a reward to form a habit. The cue here is an automatic negative thought (ANT), the routine is a positive thought to balance it out, and the reward is how you feel.

Repeat until it becomes part of your thought process.

Comment below and let me know how it goes.

Want To Succeed Every Day?

Design your daily success checklist for high performance and success. Click here to download the free PDF file.

Protect Your Big Life Vision From The Drama Of Life By Using These 3 Shields

“Drama, combat, terror, numbness, and subservience — every day these things wipe out your sacred principles, whenever your mind entertains them uncritically or lets them slip in.” — Marcus Aurelius

You have one life.

If you don’t protect it, you will end up hating your life and resenting other people for your circumstances.

Most people seek excuses to hide from the work that needs to be done.

Instead of doing the work, they seek drama.

You can either put your focus on everyday drama or on your future vision.

Before protecting your vision, you must define it to set a direction. Lack of direction leads to lack of clarity which gives birth to inaction.

Once you define your vision, you must protect it or your mind will be occupied with stuff that is unimportant.

The mind constantly seeks thoughts to think, challenges to face and problems to solve. If you don’t set an intention, it will make up its own challenges and problems. Hence, you will run on autopilot with useless thoughts occupying your mind.

SHIELD #1: Environment

To protect your vision, you first have to optimize your environment for growth.

Eliminate the negative people, stuff or distractions that bring you down. Sometimes, it’s hard to say goodbye but if you want to grow, you have to let go.

As you remove the clutter from your life, add things that will help you reach your vision. Find growth-oriented people and invest in the education or tools you need to succeed.

Your mind is precious. You must set up your environment to bring quality thoughts in your mind.

As long as your mind is occupied with useless drama or other people’s agendas, you will keep finding reasons to hide from your daily grind.

Treat your attention as a valuable resource. Don’t waste it on the news, notifications, people or events that are not worth your attention.

Brainwash your mind by reading books and articles. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts while performing mundane tasks.

Set boundaries. Build habits. Perform morning and evening routines. Ruthlessly say no to the things that are not important or exciting for you.

Don’t be available to everyone all the time. Go in a cave and do the work that must be done. No one else cares about your priorities.

“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Energies are contagious.” — Rachel Wolchin

SHIELD #2: Wellbeing

When your laptop or mobile runs out of battery, what do you do? You can’t force it to perform without recharging it.

In the same way, you need to treat your wellbeing like a baby.

Let’s face it. If you’re in pain or feeling sick, how could you possibly look beyond the present drama in life?

I’m not saying that you should not focus on your health during rough times. But most people don’t take care of themselves until they face a health condition.

So don’t wait for the diseases to come your way. Prevent poor health if you are serious about working on your vision.

Your mental and physical health are interconnected.

Your food, sleep, and physical movement determines how your brain functions throughout the day.

Feed yourself highly nutritious foods. Get quality sleep for 7–9 hours. Train your body or at least move throughout the day to optimize yourself for high performance at work.

Your mind and body are tools for reaching your full potential.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” — Buddha

SHIELD #3: Philosophy

Your reality is made in your mind.

Even after protecting your environment or taking care of yourself, you will often face drama in your life.

This is where the third shield comes in — your philosophy.

How do you react to stress? What do you do during the time of adversity?

If you ask most people, they panic or get depressed.

I myself get frustrated when things don’t go the way I want them to go. I hate it when useless drama in the present clouds my vision for future.

But then I have to remind myself — What can I do about it? If the answer is nothing, stop worrying. If the answer is something, do everything to solve that problem.

Life is unfair. But life is also a gift. Learning to shift perspective is the key to realize the beauty of life.

Conditioning your mind to act calmly and think clearly during the time of crisis is a skill that takes time to develop.

When life throws drama at you, receive it. Then, manage your thoughts and feelings with tools like — meditation, mindfulness, journaling, gratitude, and kindness.

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
― Marcus Aurelius


Setting your own priorities and working on your vision may sound selfish. But if you want to do a greater good, you have to put yourself first.

As they say in the airplanes, put on your own mask before helping anyone else.

Be selflessly selfish to make the world a better place.

Use your environment, wellbeing, and philosophy as the three shields to protect your vision.

Now go. Make it happen.

How to get life-changing ideas

Creativity is a muscle. If you want to boost it, you have to train it regularly.

If your creative muscle is well-trained, then you can come with good ideas in any situation of life. Here are a few tips you can use to become more creative and come up with life-changing ideas.

1. Get into the creative state

Stop. Breath. Check in with your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state.

These are negative states you want to avoid:

Emotionally

  • Unsettled
  • Dissatisfied
  • Irritable
  • Frustrated

Physically

  • Stressed
  • Tense
  • Restless
  • Exhausted

Spiritually

Disconnected from:

  • Self
  • Others
  • World
  • Job

Mentally

  • Unfocused
  • Worrying
  • Unsure
  • Distracted

If you find yourself in any of those states then you can do following activities to break the negative state:

  • Go for a walk
  • Change rooms
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Listen to music
  • Exercise
  • Sing, whistle, …
  • List reasons to be thankful
  • Breathe deeply a few times
  • Meditate
  • Reframe the situation, look at it from a positive perspective, a funny perspective…
  • Drink some water
  • Chat with a friend
  • Play a game
  • Have a meal mindfully
  • Write/speak out loud your thoughts
  • Daydream
  • Read

Once you’re in a creative state you’ll feel:

Emotionally

  • Excited
  • Happy
  • Contented
  • Playful

Physically

  • Comfortable
  • Flexible
  • Relaxed
  • Energetic

Spiritually

Connected from:

  • Self
  • Others
  • World
  • Job

Mentally

  • Focused
  • Clear
  • Confident
  • Open-minded

Ask yourself how you’re feeling in each of the state. If all the states are in check, it’s time to create the ideas.

2. Be silly

When you come up with ideas, don’t take yourself seriously. Think less, feel more. Lighten up your mood by finding humor. Think like a kid. For a kid, there are no rules. Playfulness plays a huge role in creativity.

No idea is useless. Even the ridiculously bad ideas have a purpose. They help your mind to get relaxed and then the ideas start to flow smoothly.

If you want to be creative, you have to let go of the fear of coming up with bad ideas. Don’t let bad ideas hurt your self-esteem. Let go of the fear of judgment. If you don’t do that, you may miss the good ideas hidden underneath all the bad ideas.

3. Be curious

Question assumptions and seek for answers. With the help of internet, you can find the answers to the questions that spark your curiosity. If you have a problem that you need to solve, chances are that there has been at least one other person who had the same problem and he/she solved it. The circumstances may vary but always look for inspiration.

4. Diversify your perspective

Hire different perspective to look for solutions in different ways. You can look from the perspective of:

  • Your higher self (Your better version)
  • Your future self
  • Your past self
  • Friend
  • Stranger
  • Expert (different areas)
  • Old person
  • Child

5. Shake things up

Get off of your routine and break life patterns. Experience novelty by trying something new. Notice the small things that you ignore everyday. You can daydream, choose random items to focus on, get on a random bus or try a new activity such as drawing, dancing, playing, etc.

Your mind will get new stimulus and you’ll be filled with new ideas that you may have never thought of before.


Once you have a lot of ideas on the table – eliminate the bad one; mix and match the good one and finally consider the ones which light up energy in you.

Learn to listen to your intuition. Our intuition doesn’t always roar. It sits in silence and waits for us to pay attention to it. As soon as you notice a spark, your state will change and it’s our job to find that little voice of intuition. So, stop. Breath. Listen to the spark and then turn those ideas into reality.

 

Turn your life into a game

Life is an adventure.

Sadly, many of us don’t treat it that way.

Think of your life as a game. Games are designed to be an adventure.

Your life can be an adventure too if you treat it that way. Does it mean that you’ll always have a good time? No. There are times of struggle and setbacks but we keep on playing those games because that’s what we like about games.

Games have taught me many lessons on how to live a life.

1. Addiction

Games are addictive.

Addiction does not have to be bad all the time. In fact, each one of us is addicted to one thing or another. Writers are addicted to writing. Singers are addicted to singing and so on.

Addiction in itself is not a bad thing. If you’re obsessed with something and you don’t let it destroy you or control you then I would call it a healthy addiction.

On the other hand, if we let out job or business destroy other parts of our life like health, relationships, etc. or we let it control us, it can turn into an unhealthy addiction.

 

2. Objective

Every game has a mission or at least a hidden objective behind it. Without it, there will be no purpose of the game.

In the same way, we all need to have missions in our life. The missions may change or develop as life passes by.

Weak objectives will result into boring or unfulfilled life whereas strong objectives will make our life purpose driven.

There are side quests in life too but it’s up to us if we want to pursue them or not. These side quests are a representation of all the things we want to do in life. The important part is to remember that whether we complete our side quests or not, it should not affect our main objective(s) in life.

 

3. Challenge

Most games are designed to be challenging. If a game is too easy, it won’t be too long before the player quits the game.

If there are no obstacles or enemies, there is nothing to master in the game. Gamers keep on playing a game because they fall in love with the grind.

We need challenges in life. Growth only happens when there are obstacles to overcome. Life will become too boring if we get everything we wanted without any effort. Embrace the challenges.

4. Failure

Our education system has conditioned us into believing that failure is bad. Thanks to games that teach us that failure is okay. All you have to do is retry.

Life is like a game. Sure, there are opportunities in life that can be missed but there is no dead end. No matter how much we fail, there is always a way to move forward in life.

Every time we fail in defeating a level, boss or enemy – we learn new tactics that we can use next time.

Gamers who succeed are the ones who persevere during the hard times. Life is exactly the same. You fail. You learn. You experiment. You repeat until success.

5. Rewards

Every time we overcome an obstacle, games reward us in some way. These rewards give us a morale boost or resources to continue our journey.

Life is no different. If you’re getting paid for your job, then you’re getting resources to live your life.

However, we need to claim some rewards. Gratitude and celebration are the rewards that we need to give ourselves for our efforts or results. These rewards feed our soul.

Progress is one of the core motivation of life. If we don’t track or see our progress, our soul will get drained of energy. Reward yourself and feed your soul.

6. Avatar

Many games allow us to customize our character. We can change their attributes, upgrade their skills, provide accessories or dress them however we want to.

We can treat ourselves as an avatar too. Imagine a greater representation of yourself which is your avatar. What skills does it have? What values does it hold?

The best part is that we can even customize our goals. Games have their own objective while your objective in your life is up to you.

Define your avatar and work towards upgrading your avatar every single day.

7. Hacks

A lot of gamers fall into the trap of using hacks and cheat codes to complete their objectives in the game.

Hacks are like shining objects that you think will make your life better but in reality, they make you worse.

In life, seeking a shortcut to success is a hack. They might get you the end result but you won’t get the skills needed to achieve those results.

When you work on your skills and take the full journey, it’s not just the success that you get in the end. You transform yourself. Your character changes. Confidence becomes part of who you are.

When success becomes a habit, you’re able to repeat the process and thrive in every journey of your life.

Pleasure is easy but happiness is hard

Pleasure is easy.

A rush of pleasure neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin can easily be obtained by activities like browsing social media, eating a cookie, laughing, etc.

While some of these activities are good for us, some can be harmful if we get addicted to short-term momentary pleasure.

Instant gratification is not reliable for long-term greater happiness.

Everyone wants to be happy. We do most of the things in life because we want to be happy. So why is it so hard to be happy?

Once we get happiness it doesn’t take much time before we lose it. We keep chasing happiness and it never seems to stay with us.

What if we stop chasing happiness? How amazing it would be if we become a ‘happiness magnet’.

There is no magic spell to attract happiness. But there are a few ways I personally use to ‘hack’ happiness.

1. Suffer

Suffer? Isn’t suffering opposite of happiness?

We all have been taught that suffering is miserable. It’s painful and makes us feel terrible.

It’s all true. But what we’re not often told is that suffering is happiness in disguise.

If we never experience suffering we’ll never experience true happiness. In order for us to truly appreciate the beauty of happiness, we need to experience suffering.

A prize money earned by thousands of hours of hard work and practice is way more valuable than money won from a lottery. Yes, both will bring happiness to you but the happiness that you’ll experience in the first scenario would be priceless.

The first reason for that is the feeling of pride and achievement which you will not get if you win a lottery. The more effort we put into something, the more we value it.

Another reason why suffering brings happiness to us is that when our goal is meaningful enough, suffering becomes a way of happiness.

If you look at athletes training hard, you might think that they are in misery and pain. They indeed experience pain but happiness becomes part of the pain.

You don’t need to smile to be happy. You could be sweating, huffing and puffing and be happy if you enjoy something.

I’m sure you’ll have at least one thing in life that you enjoy suffering for. It could be exercising, hustling, parenting, traveling, and so on. Every journey is a combination of pain and pleasure. The combination results in happiness.

Whether you believe it or not, we seek obstacles. If life were too easy, we’ll be bored to death.

2. Take shots of happiness

Happiness is a state, not an object to keep. If you aim to be happy 24*7, you’ll end up in misery. At one point, you’ll become tired of being happy and emotions like anger and sadness will take its place.

The absence of happiness will create room for happiness. You can fill the void of unhappiness with activities that can make you feel at peace. Activities like deep work, deep thinking don’t directly bring happiness to us but they can put us in the state of flow which I’ve talked about in the previous post.

Remind yourself to be happy. We all have heard the phrase “happiness is a choice”. What it means is that at any given moment, we can change our mental state. Realize that all our thoughts are a product of our experiences, surroundings, and imagination.

If you’re dwelling on a past mistake or worrying about a future event, you can choose to look up at the sky and get lost in the beauty of nature. I know it’s easier said than done. It takes practice and awareness of our thoughts to ‘choose happiness’.

At least once a week, schedule a gratitude meeting with yourself. You can do it on daily basis on a journal too but don’t let it become a mundane task. Writing or speaking can help you express your thoughts but you need to feel the emotions every time you express gratitude.

3. Miss out on life

We have unlimited choices at any moment of our life. We are always missing out on something. There is no best way to spend your time.

Sometimes, we feel sad because of missing out an event or activity. Be okay with that sadness. When we choose to do something, we are automatically not doing thousands of other things that we could have done.

Appreciate the one thing that you’re not missing out on. If you were not reading this post, you would be doing some other activity. But you don’t have to think about what you’re not doing. The possibilities are endless.

4. Do random acts of kindness with no expectation of getting anything in return.

It’s no surprise that making others happy is one of the best ways to think beyond our own problems. If you do something bigger than yourself, you’ll be free of your own small worries of life.

You can do the random act of kindness for your friends, family, colleague, strangers or simply share happiness with them by involving them in your experience.

If you want to pursue kindness, you’ll first have to be happy yourself. If you’re not in a positive state, you’ll do injustice to people around you.

Make others happy so that you can be happy and be happy so that you can make others happy.