Imagine that you had a vehicle, and you didn’t know what kind of fuel it took. So every day you use the vehicle, and then you just guess what you have to put in the tank. Gasoline? Biofuels? Diesel? Electricity? You have no idea. In order to even keep the vehicle moving at all, maybe you just throw a little bit of everything in there and hope for the best. Even if the vehicle limps along, you’re certainly getting nowhere near maximum efficiency. And you’re probably damaging it.
Lots of vehicles actually work like this – did you know you can put vegetable oil in a diesel engine and it’ll run? It’ll also, you know… really destroy the engine over time, but it’ll run.
Do you know what else works like this?
You do a lot of work! All day, every day you’re doing stuff. But that engine needs fuel, my friend. And I don’t just mean food and water and sleep. I mean you need to get something back to make it all worth it. You need joy. Something to fill up your tank. Now answer honestly: do you know what your perfect fuel mix is?
Most people don’t. Most people are behaving like that top example; they’re throwing a mix of random stuff and hope into the tank. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, they don’t know which is which, and they move along.
You deserve more. You can have more! You just need a little tracking. Get some paper, and every day write down what your first happy thought was that day. Write down your last happy thought before you went to bed. Write down the thing you looked forward to when you were waiting for something unpleasant to end. Write it all down.
In a month, look at all your answers. Pattens will emerge. You’ll have looked forward to the same things multiple times. The same happy thought would be what you woke to more than once. Once you have an idea of what those things are, you can deliberately seek more of them.
And maybe certain things you thought energized you… won’t. Maybe you’ll look back at a month’s writing and realize that “television” or “alcohol” never appear on your list. If they aren’t filling your tank… why are you doing them?