Book: Power of full engagement

“Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”


The core tenet of the book is that you have to manage your energy if you want to achieve anything. The best way to manage your energy is to balance spending with replenishing. This is in line with what Tony Robbins is saying.

The book is a result of years of consulting work by the authors. They worked with CEOs, athletes and other high performers to increase their output.



In the book, there are 4 sources of energy described:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • mental
  • spiritual

As at Tony Robbin UPW – the „bigggest bang for the buck” is at the physical level, since it is often overlooked / ignored. Drinking water, avoiding sugars and getting exercise will prime everything else. But people often forget that and everything else gets outta whack.

My takeaways:

  • Capitalize on morning energy, Post-lunch will always be slump.
  • Take breaks. – for a walk etc, instead of sitting in front of Facebook
  • DO NOT skip workouts when overworked – they are what will keep you going

I found this video review if you are up to that sort of thing 😀

My kindle highlights

  • Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.
  • Performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.
  • The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become. The more we blame others or external circumstances, the more negative and compromised our energy is likely to be.
  • To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.
  • has a unique transformative power, both individually and organizationally.
  • Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
  • Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.
  • The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal.
  • We, too, must learn to live our own lives as a series of sprints—fully engaging for periods of time, and then fully disengaging and seeking renewal before jumping back into the fray to face whatever challenges confront us.
  • To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.
  • Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy—are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.
  • Creating positive rituals is the most powerful means we have found to effectively manage energy in the service of full engagement.
  • “How should I spend my energy in a way that is consistent with my deepest values?”
  • Managing energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. Performance is grounded in the skillful management of energy.
  • By building highly efficient and focused recovery routines, these players had found a way to derive extraordinary energy renewal in a very short period of time.
  • At the heart of the problem is a fundamental conflict between the demands of our man-made civilization and the very design of the human brain and body. .
  • We are machine-centered in our thinking—focused on the optimization of technology and equipment—rather than human-centered—focused on the optimization of human alertness and performance.
  • I find myself feeling guilty if I’m not working.
  • “More and more what I find is that you don’t really live in the present anymore,”
  • • Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy. We call this oscillation.
  • • The opposite of oscillation is linearity: too much energy expenditure without recovery or too much recovery without sufficient energy expenditure.
  • Balancing stress and recovery is critical to high performance both individually and organizationally.
  • • Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-term reward.
  • In practical terms, the size of our energy reservoir depends on the patterns of our breathing, the foods that we eat and when we eat them, the quantity and quality of our sleep, the degree to which we get intermittent recovery during the day, and the level of our fitness.
  • Drinking water, we have found, is perhaps the most undervalued source of physical energy renewal.
  • The longer, more continuously, and later at night you work, the less efficient and more mistake-prone you become.
  • the first thing we had her do was to open the journal that she had purchased and half-jokingly named “Catharsis.”
  • This is a note i want to haave
  • Somewhere around 3:00 or 4:00 P.M. we reach the lowest phase of both our ultradian and our circadian rhythms.
  • This explains why, over the centuries, so many cultures intuitively institutionalized the sort of midafternoon nap that is increasingly disappearing in our 24/7 world.
  • The concept of stress inoculation is very much like the concept of preventing a particular disease through vaccination.
  • Physical energy is the fundamental source of fuel in life.
  • Physical energy is derived from the interaction between oxygen and glucose.
  • The two most important regulators of physical energy are breathing and eating.
  • Eating five to six low-calorie, highly nutritious meals a day ensures a steady resupply of glucose and essential nutrients.
  • Drinking sixty-four ounces of water daily is a key factor in the effective management of physical energy.
  • Most human beings require seven to eight hours of sleep per night to function optimally.
  • Going to bed early and waking up early help to optimize performance.
  • Interval training is more effective than steady-state exercise in building physical capacity and in teaching people how to recover more efficiently.
  • To sustain full engagement, we must take a recovery break every 90 to 120 minutes.
  • Snowden discovered that those nuns whose writing expressed a preponderance of positive emotions (happiness, love, hope, gratitude and contentment) tended to live longer and more productive lives. Nuns with the highest number of positive-emotion sentences had half the risk of death at any age as those with the lowest number of such sentences.
  • After interviewing a large sample of managers and their employees, the Gallup Organization found that no single factor more clearly predicts the productivity of an employee than his relationship with his direct superior.
  • Gallup found that one of the key factors in sustained performance is having at least one good friend at work.
  • she built a reservoir of positive emotional energy that she could draw from at her job.
  • Next, he framed his critical feedback not as a lecture but as a discussion, allowing for the possibility that his perception might not be entirely accurate.
  • We may overvalue toughness and undervalue tenderness, for example, or do just the reverse, when in fact both represent important emotional muscles in our lives. The same is true of many other opposites: self-control and spontaneity, honesty and compassion, generosity and thriftiness, openness and discretion, passion and detachment, patience and urgency, caution and boldness, confidence and humility.
  • In order to perform at our best, we must access pleasant and positive emotions: the experience of enjoyment, challenge, adventure and opportunity.
  • The key muscles fueling positive emotional energy are self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness and empathy.
  • Negative emotions serve survival but they are very costly and energy inefficient in the context of performance.
  • The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership.
  • Access to the emotional muscles that serve performance depends on creating a balance between exercising them regularly and intermittently seeking recovery.
  • Any activity that is enjoyable, fulfilling and affirming serves as a source of emotional renewal and recovery.
  • Emotional muscles such as patience, empathy and confidence can be strengthened in the same way that we strengthen a bicep or a tricep: pushing past our current limits followed by recovery.
  • We also need access to realistic optimism, a paradoxical notion that implies seeing the world as it is, but always working positively toward a desired outcome or solution.
  • The capacity to stay appropriately focused and realistically optimistic depends on intermittently changing mental channels in order to rest and rejuvenate.
  • Beginning with the German physiologist and physicist Hermann Helmholtz in the late nineteenth century, many thinkers have sought to define the sequential steps of the creative process. Five stages are now widely recognized:
    • first insight,
    • saturation,
    • incubation,
    • illumination
    • and verification.
  • two “yoga” breaks
  • Time management, we tell our clients, is not an end in itself. Rather it serves the higher goal of effective energy management.
  • Some activities generate considerable spiritual renewal without demanding significant energy expenditure. These include walking in nature, reading an inspirational book, listening to music, or hearing a great speaker.
  • We define integrity—a key ingredient in character and a primary spiritual muscle—as doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it.
  • Spiritual energy provides the force for action in all dimensions of our lives. It fuels passion, perseverance and commitment.
  • Spiritual energy is derived from a connection to deeply held values and a purpose beyond our self-interest.
  • Character—the courage and conviction to live by our deepest values—is the key muscle that serves spiritual energy.
  • The key supportive spiritual muscles are passion, commitment, integrity and honesty.
  • Spiritual energy expenditure and energy renewal are deeply interconnected.
  • Spiritual energy is sustained by balancing a commitment to a purpose beyond ourselves with adequate self-care.
  • Spiritual work can be demanding and renewing at the same time.
  • Expanding spiritual capacity involves pushing past our comfort zone in precisely the same way that expanding physical capacity does.
  • The energy of the human spirit can override even severe limitations of physical energy.
  • So long as we skim across the surface of our lives at high speeds, it is impossible to dig down more deeply.
  • Jump ahead to the end of your life. What are the three most important lessons you have learned and why are they so critical?
  • Think of someone that you deeply respect. Describe three qualities in this person that you most admire.
  • Who are you at your best?
  • What one-sentence inscription would you like to see on your tombstone that would capture who you really were in your life?
  • A value in action is a virtue.
  • Values hold us to a different standard for managing energy.
  • Next, she got more specific about what these values meant to her in practical, everyday terms.
  • A vision statement is a declaration of intent about how to invest one’s energy. Regularly revisited, it serves as a source of sustaining direction and a fuel for action.
  • The search for meaning is among the most powerful and enduring themes in every culture since the origin of recorded history.
  • The “hero’s journey” is grounded in mobilizing, nurturing and regularly renewing our most precious resource—energy—in the service of what matters most.
  • When we lack a strong sense of purpose we are easily buffeted by life’s inevitable storms.
  • Purpose becomes a more powerful and enduring source of energy when its source moves from negative to positive, external to internal and self to others.
  • A negative source of purpose is defensive and deficit-based.
  • Intrinsic motivation grows out of the desire to engage in an activity because we value it for the inherent satisfaction it provides.
  • Values fuel the energy on which purpose is built. They hold us to a different standard for managing our energy.
  • A virtue is a value in action.
  • A vision statement, grounded in values that are meaningful and compelling, creates a blueprint for how to invest our energy.
  • To be effective in the world, we must find a balance between looking honestly at the most painful truths and contradictions in our lives and engaging in the world with hope and positive energy.
  • Intellectualizing is a means of acknowledging a truth cognitively without experiencing its impact emotionally.
  • A graphic example is the leader who charismatically makes the case for honesty, or decency, or teamwork to his gathered troops, only to flagrantly violate his professed principles in his everyday conduct.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how fully engaged are you in your work? What is standing in your way?
  • How closely does your everyday behavior match your values and serve your mission? Where are the disconnects?
  • How fully are you embodying your values and vision for yourself at work? At home? In your community? Where you are falling short?
  • How effectively are the choices that you are making physically—your habits of nutrition, exercise, sleep and the balance of stress and recovery—serving your key values?
  • How consistent with your values is your emotional response in any given situation? Is it different at work than it is at home, and if so, how?
  • To what degree do you establish clear priorities and sustain attention to tasks? How consistent are those priorities with what you say is most important to you?
  • Without realizing it, we often create stories around a set of facts and then take our stories to be the truth.
  • As the psychologist Martin Seligman puts it: “When our explanatory beliefs take the form of personal, permanent and pervasive factors (It’s my fault . . . it’s always going to be like this . . . it’s going to affect everything I do”), we give up and become paralyzed. When our explanations take the opposite form, we become energized.”
  • “How might the opposite of what I’m thinking or feeling also be true?”
  • Facing the most difficult truths in our lives is challenging but also liberating. When we have nothing left to hide, we no longer fear exposure. Vast energy is freed up to fully engage in our lives.
  • • Facing the truth frees up energy and is the second stage, after defining purpose, in becoming more fully engaged.
  • Avoiding the truth consumes great effort and energy.
  • At the most basic level, we deceive ourselves in order to protect our self-esteem.
  • Some truths are too unbearable to be absorbed all at once. Emotions such as grief are best metabolized in waves.
  • Truth without compassion is cruelty—to others and to ourselves.
  • What we fail to acknowledge about ourselves we often continue to act out unconsciously.
  • A common form of self-deception is assuming that our view represents the truth, when it is really just a lens through which we choose to view the world.
  • Facing the truth requires that we retain an ongoing openness to the possibility that we may not be seeing ourselves—or others—accurately.
  • It is both a danger and a delusion when we become too identified with any singular view of ourselves. We are all a blend of light and shadow, virtues and vices.
  • Accepting our limitations reduces our defensiveness and increases the amount of positive energy available to us.
  • disengaging—conserving energy by not investing too much of it in anything or allowing himself to think too deeply about the choices that he was making.
  • The bigger the storm, the more inclined we are to revert to our survival habits, and the more important positive rituals become.
  • Rituals for Our Times.
  • “Families who sit down to dinner together every night are saying without words that they believe in the need for families to have shared time together. . . .
  • Participants proved far more likely to eat healthy, low calorie foods when they were asked in advance to specify precisely what they intended to eat for each of their meals during the day, rather than using their energy to resist eating certain foods all day long.
  • When intentions are framed negatively—“I won’t overeat” or “I will not get angry”—they rapidly deplete our limited stores of will and discipline
  • Considerable evidence suggests that smiling literally reduces arousal and short-circuits the “fight-or-flight” response. It is nearly impossible to smile and to feel angry at the same time.
  • • Rituals serve as tools through which we effectively manage energy in the service of whatever mission we are on.
  • Rituals create a means by which to translate our values and priorities into action in all dimensions of our life.
  • All great performers rely on positive rituals to manage their energy and regulate their behavior.
  • The limitations of conscious will and discipline are rooted in the fact that every demand on our self-control draws on the same limited resource.
  • We can offset our limited will and discipline by building rituals that become automatic as quickly as possible, fueled by our deepest values.
  • The most important role of rituals is to insure effective balance between energy expenditure and energy renewal in the service of full engagement.
  • The more exacting the challenge and the greater the pressure, the more rigorous our rituals need to be.
  • Precision and specificity are critical dimensions of building rituals during the thirty-to sixty-day acquisition period.
  • Trying not to do something rapidly depletes our limited stores of will and discipline.
  • To make lasting change, we must build serial rituals, focusing on one significant change at a time.
  • Because he left each morning before they awoke, he decided to write each of them a note each day and slip it under their doors.
  • Managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance.
  • we must learn to balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.
  • Most of us are undertrained physically and spiritually (not enough stress) and overtrained mentally and emotionally (not enough recovery).
  • A corporation or organization is simply a reservoir of potential energy that can be recruited in the service of an intended mission.
  • 1. Go to bed early and wake up early
  • 2. Go to sleep and wake up consistently at the same times
  • 3. Eat five to six small meals daily
  • 4. Eat breakfast every day
  • 5. Eat a balanced, healthy diet
  • 6. Minimize simple sugars
  • 7. Drink 48 to 64 ounces of water daily
  • 8. Take breaks every ninety minutes during work
  • 9. Get some physical activity daily
  • 10. Do at least two cardiovascular interval workouts and two strength training workouts a week


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