Your Battery Level
Do you know that feeling at the end of your school day, when your energy level is low?
Do you know that feeling at the end of your work day, when your energy level is low?
Have you examined your life to notice what happens to you when your energy level is low, and how you can get into trouble if you are not aware of it?
After a good-night sleep, you wake up groggy. Feeling groggy is simply due to the fact you are laying flat, and as a result your blood pressure is lowered. Your head has more fluids in it due to gravity, as when you are upright. Your nose may be more stuffed when you lay down from the distribution of liquids in your skull.
After you wake up, if you sit up, or get up, the fluids and blood pressure rearrange themselves – you will feel you true level of energy. Note than when you get up too fast from laying down, the blood pressure changes too rapidly, and your brain may be deprived of oxygen – making you feel dizzy.
When you are done with your morning routine, and ready to conquer another day – consider this energy level 100% of your “battery”. Let’s assume that you had a good-night sleep and that you are excited to go to work or school, or on vacation that day…
During the day, your battery level gets used, and your physical and mental performance deteriorates slowly. Its important to notice that from 80% to 60% drop, you hardly notice a change. However, when the battery goes down to 20% (arbitrary number), you not only get more tired, your thinking speed slows down. You are also beginning to feel that you NEED to rest. Why is that critical? As we can learn from babies and toddlers, when they NEED to sleep – they get cranky. We tend to think of ourselves as adults and that battery levels do not apply to us like they do to toddlers…
When you reach your 20% battery level, your mind wants some quite, rest, darkness and ultimately to shutdown the system in order to charge the battery. However, daily life still have things in store for you, as you need to make dinner, make sure the kids did their homework, pay the bills and on and on…
Naturally, this causes a conflict of forces, that are acting on you. On one end, your physical battery is losing power and it signals to you that you need to rest. On the other end, the implications of not feeding your family, not paying the bills tell you that you must keep going.
This conflict is subtle and happens in the back of your mind. What logically happens next is that you reason internally with yourself, and say “Ok, I will make a quick dinner and only pay the one bill I must and then call it a day, and go to rest and sleep”.
From this moment on, your mind is geared and focused on completing this plan as soon as you can, so you can begin your battery re-charge time – with no disruptions.
<Then Life Happens>
In most cases, people do not communicate this plan or their battery level to their family, team, employees etc.
The next thing that happens, upsets the apple-cart – Unfortunately, you may not realize it, nor the people around you.
Imagine that after you set your plan of action, your kid says in the most innocent way “Do you want to play with me?”, “Do you want to read my a bedtime story?”, “Do you want to build a fort?”
On any given day, when your battery level is above 50% (arbitrary number), you would smile and say “sure!”.
However, when your battery level is low, and all you can think about is the MINIMUM activity you need to complete, so you can shut down your systems… their innocent request comes across awful.
Because we are animals after all, and because our brain is programmed a certain way – the request is now interpreted as “you are asking me to ADD an activity to my MINIMUM activity plan, and that it will delay my rest and my NEED to charge my battery…”
Of course the kid, spouse or boss have no idea that they just asked for the impossible – as you did not communicate your battery level and its implications to them.
When your battery is at 20%, you do not seek “high energy consumption” activities such as building a fort, solving a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle or planning your wedding…
If anything, you will only do things that you must do, and avoid at all costs activities that require your full attention, focus and patience.
When someone is asking you to do something when your battery level is low, they are really coming across as if they are asking you to give them your last fumes of oxygen. This triggers the fight or flight mechanism in our mind.
You are not “in the mood” to explain why what they asked you to do is so farfetched and coming across as torture. You may now also feel guilty as you really want to do what you were asked, it is just that the battery level and timing are awful.
So, in addition to asking you to give your last bit energy with their request, they are also inadvertently making you feel bad and guilty…
The point here is to examine what happens to us when we have a low battery level, and what would be good to do at that time.
For example, if you discuss this chapter with your spouse, and agree that you communicate your battery level with one another, you will at least prevent them from making a bad situation worse. It helps the two people say “it is not you, it is my battery level that prevents me from doing now what you asked…”
Children also feel the drop in energy, and while they also have a conflict about feeling tired yet they want to keep playing and have fun. They also fail in shutting down their activities before its too late, and the result is being cranky.
Unfortunately, when you have low battery level, your reasoning fails you also, and arguing in that state is just adding fuel to the fire. If two or more people have low battery levels and they get into an argument – all hell can break loose.
The reason is that in addition to all the forces already at play, now there is a new force which is “I need to resolve the argument so I can go to sleep…” Unfortunately, this is a catch 22 and can only makes things worse. You simply do not have the tools and capacity to resolve this argument right now, which you would not even get into if the battery level of one of both people involved was over 50%.
For example, you go on vacation and your trip goes long which you all tired, upset and things just don’t seem to end. Think about your battery level and the others’ and how you can minimize the damage. Sometimes, going to sleep and getting up refreshed will help everyone see the situation in a cool, calm and collected way. Otherwise, you may say and do things you will regret.
Once you examine your battery level as a force in your life – you can better choose when is a good time to do things and improve your game of life.
References and Quotes: