We hit snooze on the alarm and get up late. We drag ourselves out of bed, get dressed, and head out the door to work. Our office day feels long and uneventful—even boring.
We come home, fix dinner, flop on the couch to watch TV, and scroll through social media on our phones. We’re tired, but not so tired to sleep…just blah. When we look back on the weeks, they go by quickly, but nothing stands out.
If the above scenario sounds all too familiar, chances are you have wondered how to feel more energized. How do you break out of the rut and get your enthusiasm and excitement back? Do you feel like life is passing you by because you lack the momentum and motivation to go out and seize the day!?
It’s time to wake up! Life is meant to be an adventure! We are each given an amazing opportunity to experience all the wonders our world can offer. Life is full of new experiences that give us a chance to create, discover, learn, grow, and feel energized each new day.
From time to time, we all feel like bystanders, as though we’re vicariously watching and living life through the adventures of those around us. Social media can compound this effect—we look at those photos on Instagram and posts on Facebook and see all that others are accomplishing.
We may feel a little jealous, left out, or as though we don’t quite measure up. We may experience “FOMO” (fear of missing out). But it’s important to recognize that most social media doesn’t quite capture the reality of life.
We may also feel like there’s never enough time or energy to do what we want. If our plates are full of activities that feel more routine than stimulating, we might feel mired in the day-to-day. We feel as though we’re not living our lives as fully as possible. We wonder how to feel more energized and get more enjoyment out of life. We might even be comfortable—but we feel stuck in that comfort zone.
Of course, healthy habits can be part of self-care and self-compassion. It’s important that we show ourselves love and understanding, especially when we’re going through times of stress. Healthy habits show how much we love and value ourselves. When we feel like we’re worth taking care of, we often find it easier to carry out those self-caring actions. But embracing a healthy lifestyle is only part of it; if we’re wondering how to feel more energized, we need to dig a little deeper.
If we want to feel more energized and enthusiastic about life, we need to inject some excitement into the mix. Ever wonder how great explorers and adventurers found the drive to keep going? Look at endurance runners—how do they keep up the mindset to push through discomfort and constantly move forward (even when they’ve emptied the tank)?
Most of us are probably not running hundreds of miles, climbing Mount Everest, or discovering uncharted territories. Still, we can all learn lessons from these intrepid individuals who keep pushing themselves forward, despite the odds. Endurance is as much of a mind game as a physical test of the body.
So how do we find more energy in life? Do some people just “have it” while others of us don’t? We might look at someone famous like Oprah, Beyonce, or Bill Gates and wonder where they found the time and energy to achieve all they have. Are some people simply born with more energy?
When we’re tuned in and turned on to what’s happening around us, the lights illuminate. We snap out of our stupor, and suddenly we’re experiencing aliveness. We’re challenged; we’re energized, awake, and in the zone. We’re discovering what’s called “flow.”
What is flow? We can describe flow as that hum we experience when work is going well, and we’re fully engaged. Flow is the buzz we get when we’re involved in a great conversation with another person—when we’re clicking in sync. Flow is the feeling we get when we discover something new when we feel something and connect. When we’re moved deeply by an art exhibit, when we come out of a movie ready to delve into the nuances and meaning, or when we read a book that we can’t put down, that’s flow.
Flow can happen in great conversation, it can occur at work, and it can happen in any other activity where we’re fully tuned in and engaged. When flow happens, time often feels irrelevant. We may be amazed that hours have passed because we were so focused and present with the task. If we want to awaken, feel more energized, and experience better connection and a greater sense of aliveness, we need to discover our sense of flow!
With all the talk of aliveness and the association with flow, it can get a little confusing. Many of us may think, “well, obviously, I’m alive. But, what exactly does it mean to experience aliveness? Isn’t that what we’re doing every day?”
Yes, in a biological sense, but in an emotional sense, many of us are tuned out. If we feel we lack energy and can’t break out of that sense of tiredness and lethargy about life, we may be missing out on all that aliveness has to offer. Aliveness is vibrancy, energy, and enthusiasm. When we’re experiencing aliveness, we’re experiencing a full range of emotions. We experience joy, of course, but also fear, anger, sadness, and hurt. We aren’t shying away from feelings or avoiding them because they are uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Instead, we’re staying open to new possibilities, and we approach life with a sense of curiosity and adventure.
As an adventurer, one of the critical skills you need to develop…is an attitude of opportunity—looking for possibilities rather than problems in events and circumstances that previously you may have viewed as unfortunate. Everything that happens can be a blessing and an opportunity to learn and grow, to deepen your relationship with yourself and others, or to expand your ability to serve and be served. To live this way, you will need to be vigilant, to stay on the lookout for any limiting thoughts that make you see life as a burden to be endured.
History is full of heroes and heroines who have seen possibilities where others saw only failure and loss. Mother Theresa saw opportunities for love and service where others fled disease and poverty, Abraham Lincoln saw freedom and unity in the face of division, and Nelson Mandela saw hope for the future of democracy even while in prison
And you have the possibility for that attitude every day, right in front of you. For example, if your boss comes in and says you have a new project and you need to do a, b, c, d, and e by 4:00 pm the following day, how do you respond? Is your reaction, “Wow, what a creative challenge and opportunity. What would it take for me to do this thing that feels impossible?” Likely those aren’t the first thoughts that pop into your mind. Of course, you’ll have a range of feelings and reactions in situations like that, but what if you chose an attitude of opportunity? What if you take the energy of your fear and anger and direct it to solving the problem? What if you chose to shift your attitude and take on the challenge? What would your next 24 hours look like?
We’re open to new adventures and experiences when we are young children. Children display limitless energy and enthusiasm for new activities. Each day offers new discoveries, lessons, and chances to explore. Kids are constantly making new connections. The growing requires energy, but it also gives energy in return.
As adults, we can hold onto this sense of exploration and adventure as we rediscover our aliveness, energy, and flow. We do this by looking for new chances to learn and by shifting our approach to challenges that arise. When I think of this approach to life, I often think of my friend Ellen, who’s in her late 50s. I recently ran into her, and as we caught up, I inquired about how she and her husband Jack were doing.
She reported, “His knees crack when he gets up, his back is aching, and his stamina isn’t what it was.” I was expecting her to continue a litany of complaints when her broad smile revealed her wrinkles, and wiping the dampness of her forehead from her hot flash, she proclaimed, “Old age! This is an adventure we haven’t done yet! I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. I can’t wait to see what he’s like as an older man. Another part of him for me to love.” Now THAT is an attitude of adventure!
Young parents might find themselves bogged down in the stress of raising small kids. They feel like their lives are a series of tissues, diaper changes, errands, and scheduling. Some of us may be in the throes of our careers, feeling like we’re unsure how to move forward or get ahead at work. Others may be seniors who feel like our best years are behind us. (Guess what—they aren’t!)
We can learn a lot by observing young people in our lives, whether it’s our own kids, friends, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren. We can look at the way they tackle new challenges. They’re experimenting all the time. They explore by tasting, touching, listening, looking, smelling, and really investigating each experience. They’re finding out what works and figuring out what doesn’t. Kids have great imagination and creativity. Each moment is new. Each problem requires a journey down an unforged path. Every moment is exciting. Life is a playground, and even as we get older, we can keep right on playing!
We can shift to viewing rest as a chance to recharge our batteries, relax, and nourish ourselves. We will feel more vibrant when we are finished. We might start jumping out of bed in the morning, ready to see what the day has to offer. If we view our day as a chance for new discoveries, why might we find a more efficient approach to a task at work, or we might connect more deeply with clients and coworkers. Our weekends feel refreshing because they’re filled with discoveries, adventures, and chances to appreciate our loved ones.
Discovering that attitude of adventure and exploration helps us open up a new world of possibility. When we’re ready to start a life quest, there’s no time like the present. If we want more energy and more vibrance, we must become curious about our world—looking for the new lessons from each experience, pushing ourselves beyond our boundaries for a chance to attempt something new.
A life of more—more aliveness, energy, and purpose—is waiting for all of us! We just need to reach out and embrace it!
For more ways to discover your best life, visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses geared to help you learn more about yourself, your career, and your relationships. So don’t miss out on the life you want. Go for it now!
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.
The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.