It’s All About the Energy

The world is full of distractions competing for our attention. Keep your focus on where you spend your energy.

You know energy: gas, electric, hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, biomass, geothermal. All the ways we fuel our basic needs and lifestyles.

Then there’s the energy empowering us personally: food, vitamins, medicines, sleep, excitement, surprise, anger. All the ways we invest in ourselves and interact with our surroundings.

The energy we experience through our senses is just as potent: in the air, in a song, in a glance, in a touch, in the presence of a masterpiece, in the quenching of our thirst. Through these things we feel fully alive.

Then there are the ways we are energized through our emotions: in a memory, in a dream, in a feeling, in an idea, in an encounter, in escaping danger. Palpable and powerful, this kind of energy can leave us invigorated and exhausted.

Spiritual energy fuels our aspirations: in a state of peace, in a belief, in a movement, in a sacrifice, in the work, in the impact, in the achievement. We generate energy by making a difference, transcending human limitations.

Socially we energize each other: one on one, in families, in groups, in classrooms, in crowds, as communities, nations and species. Our interactions spark everything from relationships to revolutions.

Of course, energy doesn’t always move us forward. There is power in the struggle, in the pain, in the loss, in the lesson, in the new understanding, no matter how unwelcome. Growth generates energy, too.

So yes, it’s all about the energy, but it’s even more about how we choose to spend it. The choices are more than fossil or renewable, burning or conserving. It’s about when and where we choose to spend our energy. Don’t like something? Why give it energy? Want to improve circumstances? Spend more energy there. Feeling a drain from people or situations? Hit the off switch. When we stop fueling negativity, it loses its power.

As we celebrate the holidays and prepare for another year, I wish for you new insight into the things to which you give your energy, and how those things help you to grow and thrive and find fulfillment…and then…choose accordingly.

Walter McKenzie is Senior Director for Constituent Services at ASCD, leading its affiliate, connected community, professional interest community, student chapter and emerging leader programs.

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