Many things in life always sound better in theory.
- “I’m going to save my money, buy real estate, and live off the rent money.”
- “I’m going to start a blog, sell courses, and live off the passive income.”
- “I’m going to open a yoga school and only work a few hours a day.”
Alright, that’s great. I’ve talked about putting in the work many times before. I’m not going to do that again. We know that by know.
So let’s assume you are putting in the work. And to be honest, I’m pretty sure you’re taking your career seriously. Why else would you read these types of articles, right?
However, we also want to live a good life. I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed. Richard Koch, the author of the seminal book The 80/20 Principle, said it best:
“Do the things that you like doing. Make them your job. Make your job them.”
Let’s be honest here. If you’re currently not enjoying your life, and you’re not waking up every morning with a sense of excitement, you need to do something about it.
You deserve to live a good life. The people in your life deserve that as well. In fact, we all deserve that. No one wants to live or work with a pessimist.
And in this article, I want to share one idea with you that has made a tremendous impact on the quality of my life. In his book, Richard Koch talks about how 20% of activities result in 80% of our happiness.
It’s a term, originated from the economist Vilfredo Pareto, that was coined by Joseph Juran. Pareto found that 80% of the land in most countries was owned by 20% of the population.
But that idea goes beyond wealth distribution. Richard Koch applied it to everything, from business to happiness. And not everything has to be distributed 80/20. Some things are distributed 90/10 or even 99/1. The point is that cause and effect is not a 50/50 relationship.
For example, 100% of my happiness comes from only one measure: My personal energy.
Understanding the impact of mood on happiness
I’ve been thinking about this concept for a long time. I always want to know how and why things happen. So I ask myself things like:
- Why am I in a good mood today?
- Why am I in a shitty mood today?
- Why am I happy in this moment?
- Why am I stressed right now?
To answer those questions, I keep a journal. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m a big advocate of journaling. I also wrote an article about my journaling system.
And recently, I finally discovered a pattern. How I feel is determined by my personal energy.
- High energy? Good mood, feeling confident, looking forward to the future, chest up, smiling, enjoying myself, and doing whatever I like.
- Low energy? Bad mood, sad, afraid of the future, timid, shying away from eye contact, worrying, etc, etc.
Now, you might think that’s pretty obvious. But no one ever taught me to manage my energy. Not in school, not at work, and not in business. But managing it has made a big impact on the quality of my life.
“So how do you manage your personal energy?”
In practice, it looks like this. Ask yourself:
- “What activities destroy my mood and drain my energy?”
- ”What activities make me feel good and give energy?”
Before the childish folks go out and say, “I love partying and spending all my money,” I want to say that if you want to be smartass—go and do that somewhere else.
Here’s an example of what I mean. I think writing is a hard and tedious activity. I don’t enjoy it at all, to be honest.
However, after I do it, I feel good about myself, and it gives me a lot of energy. So that makes it worth it to me. So it’s not about avoiding hard things. It’s about looking at the results activities have on your mood.
Here are two other things I’ve learned about managing your personal energy.
- Identify 20% of the activities that bring you the most results for every aspect of your life.
Look at your relationships, business, health, money. Then, focus on doing more of the activities that improve those aspects.
- Continuously re-evaluate.
Get feedback. Journal. And always ask yourself whether you’re on the right track. Life is not static. You must adjust your course manually. There’s no autopilot. So always take time every day to reflect and look forward.
- You don’t have to be in a good mood all the time.
That’s not realistic. I aim for being in a good mood 95% of the time. Also, you can be in a good mood and go through difficulty. Life is tough. So It’s better to be in a good mood to make it easier.
Look, life is long. And if you play it right, you can do most of the things you always wanted. You just need to have patience and manage your energy so you can ENJOY the things you do.
Start now by asking yourself: “What’s the one thing I can do today to improve my mood?”
Ask yourself the same question tomorrow.
And the day after that.
And so forth.