There are two ways to experience everything in life: as stuff or as energy. “Stuff” is everything that drains you, and “energy” is everything that fills you with enthusiasm and excitement.
Both stuff and energy come in three forms: things, people, and thoughts.
Certain activities in your life involve things—objects and other tangible details in your surroundings. Things that you might consider to be “stuff” could include:
- Answering email
- Doing paperwork and administration
- Manual chores
This isn’t about the worth of these activities, but simply what they do for you. Any activities that you, personally, would categorize as stuff will cost you energy and keep you from doing something else that would contribute more to other people.
Here’s one way of getting energy back from things: Some percentage of what happens in your quarter is recurring and predictable. So why not lock these activities into a system that’s handled automatically by other people or technology? You’ll free up a whole area of your brain and be able to use that energy for better things.
Everyone on the planet is valuable—but they might not be valuable to you. So it’s important to tell the truth about who adds to your energy and who takes it away.
People who have a future bigger than their past have a lot of energy, but people whose past is bigger than their future have a lot of stuff.
Some thoughts always stop you in your tracks and deplete your energy. Dan Sullivan noticed that anytime someone who was well off was mentioned in his family, there was an implication that they were unhappy. Yet, as he got to know people who had money, he saw that they were actually significantly happier. Many people just take in those negative thoughts about financial success, but in the marketplace, they disable you, and they’re not useful.
Consider, on the other hand, the effect on your energy when you hold a thought like, “I’m pioneer, and I deserve to be rewarded for the value my creativity brings to others.”
Things, people, and thoughts that are energizing tend to hang out together—as do the things, people, and thoughts that are stuff. The importance here is what’s true for you, because what’s “stuff” for you could be “energy” for someone else. Nobody on the outside can make a judgment on what other people see as stuff or energy. Everybody’s unique in relationship to this.
Get started on eliminating stuff
Divide a piece of paper into two columns, and then mark these “Eliminate Stuff” and “Increase Energy.” Now in the first column, write down three “stuff” you’re committed to eliminating over the next 90 days, and in the second column write down three “energy” you’re committed to increasing over the next 90 days.
Remember, these can include things, people, and thoughts. What’s stuff for you? What’s energy for you?
This is your energy transfer game plan for the next 90 days. You have to be committed and decisive about taking action on it if you want more energy and less stuff in your life.
If you did this over a three-year period, you could eliminate 36 “stuff” energy drains and amplify 36 energy-giving activities. Do this over 25 years, and the number jumps to 300! What would that exponential increase do for your creative output?
An immediate payoff.
The moment you eliminate stuff and increase energy, the payoff is immediate. And as you go through the exercise again and again, you acquire a sensitivity for spotting “stuff” things, people, and thoughts—and you won’t go to that part of town.
When you reach that point where you have 10x less stuff, you also have 10x more energy. It’s automatic. So if you want 10x more freedom, the formula is simple: Eliminate stuff. Increase energy.