I recently read something interesting in a book titled “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. In the chapter “Growth and Protection,” Dr. Lipton discusses how the human body generates and uses energy. Lipton is a cell biologist and for some reason, his comments about allocating energy to the various growth and protection systems of the body reminded me of the game Whac-A-Mole. Whac-A-Mole is a simple game. Moles constantly pop up through holes and you whack them with a mallet. Unfortunately, there are several holes, many moles and only one mallet.
So what does Whac-A-Mole have to do with human energy use? Imagine that whacking a mole with a mallet symbolizes how we respond to a request for energy. After all, it takes energy to swing a mallet and whack a mole. According to Dr. Lipton, we all have four major growth and protection systems or energy using moles that may pop up and need to be whacked at times. The body needs energy for: the fight-or-flight system that deals with external threats; the immune system that deals with internal threats (viruses, germs, unwanted bacteria); the cell replacement system; and the energy replacement system.
Just as you only have one mallet in Whac-A-Mole, you only have so much energy to allocate to the various systems. Therefore, if one system is drawing too much energy, the other systems cannot do their jobs. For example, if your fight-or-flight system needs constant whacking because you habitually operate under a lot of stress, there is little energy left over to fight off internal threats, replace worn out cells and generate new energy. It is the human body’s version of a deadly zero-sum game. Keep rushing around, multitasking, overloading, under-relaxing and embracing other stress-generating activities and you will eventually whack yourself. Yes, we all need some stress to function properly; but we don’t need to play Whac-A-Mole with our lives. I don’t know about you, but I want my immune, cell replacement and energy-replacement systems to have all the energy they need to do their jobs.
It is important to remember that the fight-or-flight system in an energy hog. It will take whatever energy it needs to deal with external threats – real or perceived – with or without your approval. Remaining energy, if any, will be allocated to other systems. So to have enough energy for all the systems to function properly, you must consciously place a high priority on activities that restore your energy. Think about it, I am basically giving you a legitimate reason to goof off and spend time on your hobbies.
Once you identify a good hobby – a hobby that help you restore energy – devote some time to it each week. Schedule this time just as you would schedule time with your boss, a staff member, a client or prospect. Take care of yourself and leave any whacking to Tony Soprano and his friends.
Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.