In Western society, at least, the main emphasis by far is on physical energy.
Take a few moments to answer these questions. What percentage of your friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbours seem very interested in attaining a high level of physical energy? On the other hand, what percentage of them appears very interested in attaining a high level of emotional and/or intellectual energy? I suspect that you will come to the conclusion that the majority of people you know fall into the first category: people who focus on physical energy.
The fact is that relatively few persons focus on the "other energies" – emotional and intellectual - and fewer still share their thoughts about this topic with other individuals. When most people think about personal energy they consider little if anything beyond its physical aspects. Why? For one thing almost all formal references to energy have to do with its physical dimensions. When was the last time you read a book or article or heard a speech which highlighted emotional and/or intellectual energy? Yet emotional and intellectual energy are at least as important as physical energy.
We are taught almost from birth that personal energy is essentially a physical phenomenon. Very few comments by parents, teachers, babysitters, or other key individuals are directed toward emotional or intellectual energy. Rarely do parents and others urge children to conserve these commodities. Can you recall when a parent, teacher, or anyone else prompted you to tune into these "other" energies? Has anyone asked you to roughly calculate how much emotional and/or intellectual energy you have at any given time? Were you taught as a child or adolescent what kinds of action to take if the energy needle was on "empty", and you felt emotionally or intellectually drained? If you are typical in this respect, your answers to all three questions will be a firm "no".
Let’s get back to physical energy for a moment. I will assume that you are not a rare exception to a general rule. Therefore, you can probably recall a number of instances when you were involved in something which called for pronounced muscular exertion and someone reminded you to avoid getting physically tired; or encouraged you to take a time-out from physical activity, or to "slow down". Parents happen to be especially fond of making such comments to their children.
What are some of the results of ignoring "other energies"? Lack of attention to them clearly produces a variety of negative consequences. Numerous individuals have been shaped or moulded to believe that to feel fully energized, they only have to work on their physical energy. Yet even those who engage in vigorous physical exercise on a regular basis may still feel drained under certain circumstances (for example, situations which call for a high level of emotional or intellectual energy). How can that be explained? Simple. Physical exercise is often not a substitute for actions designed to conserve and augment the "other energies".
For most of us, focusing mainly, if not entirely, on physical energy means that we are dealing with only a minor portion of the forces, factors, and conditions which contribute to excessive energy depletion. Yet much research indicates that emotional and intellectual energy play the biggest roles in maintaining high productivity and avoiding overload. While physical energy is clearly important, its role is usually smaller.
Personal Energy specialist, Mark Berman, reports the following result of his investigations into the relative importance of each of the three energies:
- About 20% of respondents reported that their physical energy was usually the most frequently depleted of the three types.
- More than twice as many persons, about 45%, stated that emotional energy was the first one to be drawn down to a critical level.
- Some 35% of respondents indicated that intellectual energy typically was dissipated before the other two types of personal energy.