There are not many people who can be excited all day. It’s hard to find people who brim with smiles all the time. If you are one or you have such people in your circle, it can be such a blessing.
It is not hard to put a performance once a while, and display emotional energy on a case by case basis. But to be gracious 100% of the time is some bit of a task. And the kind we have been called to.
But it turns out that getting that to work starts from a keen understanding that this energy is not infinite and has got to be managed. Positivity, willpower, self-control and optimism are not infinite qualities – they can be exhausted.
You know, one time, a psychologist Roy Baumeister demonstrated a clever experiment. He put students in front of an oven in which chocolate cookies were baking. Their delicious scent wafted around the room. He then placed a bowl filled with radishes by the oven and told the students that they could eat as many of these as they wanted, but the cookies were strictly out of bounds. He then left the students alone in the room for thirty minutes. Students in a second group were allowed to eat as many cookies as they wanted. Afterward, both groups had to solve a tough maths problem. The students who were forbidden to eat any cookies gave up on the maths problem twice as fast as those who were allowed to gorge freely on cookies. The period of self-control had drained their mental energy – or willpower – which they now needed to solve the problem.
This is a fundamental insight. All of these virtues are not available round the clock. It gets depleted as we encounter challenges of different kinds and people of different nature and we need to find our unique ways of getting a recharge. Whether its finding in-between moments of relaxation, taking sporting activities, spiritual exercises, or volunteering in a community club, we must have a programme for getting new energy.
Always stay charged!