I snort in disbelief when people talk about aligning their chakras or feeling their chi or whatnot. I don’t believe in “metaphysics” in the sense of The Secret or in mystic fields that your soul can touch to attain inner harmony.
That said, I do think that people do draw off a fixed pool of mental stamina. Each person’s pool fills to a different level and you can only swim in the water you have.
A good metaphor might come from video games — you know the type, the sort that have a “mana” reserve that you draw from to cast spells or use special abilities. When you run out of mana, you are blocked until your pool refills.
As I was gallivanting about town yesterday evening, it occurred to me that one barrier people erect on their road to fulfillment rests in not managing their pool of mental stamina effectively.
Let’s break it down into mathematical terms to illustrate the point. Assume you have 100 energy points. You sit down and arrive at a list of life goals that include a mix of short- and long-term tasks you need to achieve them. How do you balance each task? If all your short-term tasks end up consuming 120 points, and you only have 100, do you wear yourself out? Do you give up? Do you stagger accomplishments? No two people are going to respond the same way. Often, people will not realize that they’re venturing into negative-energy territory and instead get part-way through an initiative and then give up from exhaustion.
Many people survey the book of work they’d have to accomplish to live their ideal life and, adjudging it too difficult a read, set it aside and content themselves with just getting by.
You have to master your own psychology. If you know that you have 50 free points, then spend 40. Spend them on one major project. Take your various projects and attack them in parallel, not in series. Instead of spreading yourself too thin on a bunch of things, take one big thing at a time and break that thing into easily managed parts. Don’t commit all your resources lest you find yourself out of energy at the wrong time and thereby risk failure or loss of motivation.
Many self-help experts suggest that goal-setting is the key to success. Although I agree with this sentiment, I don’t think it goes far enough. Not only must you set goals, but you must set an execution schedule that lives in harmony with the available energy you have at your disposal.
Remember — lots of stuff sips from that pool. Relationship drama? Workplace angst? Family discord? Self-loathing? Too little sleep? Poor nutrition? Life leaches your supply of mental energy, sometimes faster than you can re-fill it.
Thus: Set goals that are achievable not just in an objective sense, but also in light of your own life situation and your own psychology. Don’t bring yourself to the point of mental exhaustion, when all the efforts you’ve expended crash and you risk backsliding or retreating into despair.