The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz power of full engagement

The Power of Full Engagement is based on the research Jim Loehr, and Tony Schwartz completed while working with corporate athletes to help them achieve peak performance. The core of their philosophy is that “energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.” In the book are four principles of full engagement. The first is that full engagement requires drawing on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy. Principle 2 states that we must balance energy expenditure with energy renewal. Principle 3 says that to push beyond our mental limits, we must train like elite athletes do. Principle 4 states that positive energy rituals are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.


The book argues that we must approach life as a series of sprints, rather than a long drawn out marathon- that we must fully engage for short periods, and fully disengage for brief periods before jumping back in. The intervals and timing of nature are discussed when explaining the idea of ‘work-rest’ ratios that elite athletes use to train. Periodization is the practice of bursts of work followed by stretches of recovery. Rather than sustain ourselves artificially with caffeine and sweeteners through a marathon, we should be mindful of ebbs and flows of activity in life.

The period between focused activities is also critical to our efficiencies and success. Loehr and Schwartz noticed that the best tennis players took between 15 and 20 seconds between points to mentally recover, and were able to reduce their heart rate by as much as 20 bpm. We should follow the same idea, taking the time to recover rather than be constantly in motion. Drinking water is a simple way to improve our physical energy reserves that we easily overlook- by the time we feel thirsty we are already dehydrated.

The book says that watching tv to recover is like eating junk food, and states that “researchers such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi have found that it is correlated with increased anxiety and low-level depression.” The more interested, excited, creative and confident individuals are internally motivated. Merely doing things for extrinsic benefits is no nearly as powerful as intrinsic motivators inside of us. We should build our lives from the inside out.

95% of our behaviors are automatic, habitual patterns. The key to great performances is systematically building positive rituals into our lives. This makes the fundamentals of recovering energy auto-pilot for us, allowing our conscious awareness to be at the moment.

Originally posted 2016-06-01 04:56:05.

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