We live busy lives. Rushing to and fro, so much on our plates, too much to do. Often we spin our wheels, wondering at the end of the day if we have accomplished anything at all.
Some take the opposite road preferring procrastination. And yet, we end the day with the same feeling. Worn out, out of steam, wanting more energy to get it done.
Most of us are masters at wasting energy, unaware we are doing it. Like a balloon that is slowly losing air. We think we are managing fine until we are not.
Much of what I know about life I have learned from my horses. So once again, I turn to them for this life lesson. Energy management is an indispensable key to success in endurance racing, an equestrian sport similar to ultra marathons.
To cross the finish line with a horse looking fresh after 50-100 miles is always the ultimate goal. While to finish in a top position is coveted, it is secondary. The horse’s well being always comes first.
Horses like humans have a finite amount of energy each day. To waste as little of it as possible is essential to a successful race.
To assist me in understanding how to optimize my horses’ stamina I imagine a big ball of energy, like a giant sun. Each time energy is expended, the ball shrinks. The loss is irreplaceable for the day.
To stop the ball from deflating is accomplished by identifying the areas where energy is wasted.
1. Not staying present. Horses by nature are herd animals. During a race, their nature is to want to catch up with the horses in front of them or to slow down for the horses behind them. Either way, it expends unnecessary energy. Teaching them, I am their herd, allows them to let go of the desire to be with other horses and instead to focus on the task at hand with me.
2. Stress: Many factors contribute to stress. To help a horse be relaxed in mind and body is elemental. My interactions are intended to create a safe and peaceful environment for them. I speak with a calm voice, I move with a quiet demeanor. I ride with a soft touch in leg and hand. My crew knows, the quieter I become the more stress I am working on deflecting away from my horse.
3. Pacing: Just as driving erratically, speeding then slamming on the break uses more fuel, so does it waste energy in a horse. To travel at an even pace, utilizing the terrain to our advantage is a way to conserve the ball of energy. My mantra as I ride is to be like a metronome.
By conserving energy along the day, allows for a big burst of energy at the end of a race. Because the energy has been managed the horses have plenty of reserves to sprint to the finish line. If there was ever a time for the pedal to the medal it would be at the end of the race.
5 Ways to Optimize Energy
Each morning we awake with a ball of energy. While not all of our days are of the same intensity, the principals of optimizing energy remain the same.
1. Live in the Present Moment. If 25% of our energy is spent living in the past, and 25% living in the future it leaves only 50% for today. We waste energy by holding onto things that have already happened or we worry about things that have not come to pass. The power of the present is the only time we can make strides to any accomplishment.
2. Control Reactions. Emotional outbursts, such as screaming, resentment, and anger all deplete our ball of energy. Controlling our reactions benefits not only the optimization of our energy, but it also allows us to communicate in a manner that can be heard. In addition, our adrenals become taxed causing fatigue when we have emotional stressors. Take a deep breath before you speak something that cannot be taken back.
3. Pace Yourself. Look at ways to optimize your effort and your performance. You can do too little and you can do too much. Learn to find balance. Life is more a long endurance ride, not a sprint to the finish line.
4. Stop Procrastinating. The weight of procrastination siphons energy daily. Thoughts and worry are like a weight that we drag around with us or a dark cloud hanging over our heads. Make the phone call, address the unresolved issue, finish the task, face whatever it is you are putting off. It will lighten you up and make room for other things in fill your life
5. Take Care of your own needs. Eat well, sleep enough, take it easy with caffeine and alcohol. Refrain from stress eating sugars and carbs because your energy is low. Learn to meditate or take a walk and breathe. It’s a win-win. You will feel better, effortlessly increasing your energy and your state of well being.
The Let Go is understanding and enjoying the pace of our own journeys. Let Go of all which is unnecessary and find freedom in the idea that less can bring more.
Kiss and Put on the ground the stone which you cannot carry ~ an Afghan saying