Focus on 4 Energy Types to Improve Performance

Tony Schwartz, author of ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ has come up with a perspective on how we can focus on 4 energy types. In what’s referred to as ‘The Energy Pyramid’, we can see the areas where we expend our energy. The pyramid shows that building habits with the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual components of our lives help us reach peak performance when under pressure. We can take a look on how the energy pyramid works below.

focus on 4 energy types
Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash


Our Energy Types


Spiritual Energy (Tier 4): How the energy we expend makes us feel. The feeling we get when we expend energy greater than ourselves

Mental Energy (Tier 3): The focus of our energy. Are we doing one thing at a time?

Emotional Energy (Tier 2): The quality of energy we have. Are we feeling positive of negative towards what we expend our energy on?

Physical Energy (Tier 1): The amount of energy we have. Refueled through sleep and rest.

Each type of energy plays a roll in building or depleting our gas tank. They’re dependent on the one below to sustain itself. By understanding the nature of how we expend our energy, it allows us to take control and create more for ourselves. If we don’t satisfy these levels of energy, we’re unable to have clarity in certain aspects of our lives


Managing Our Physical Energy

Physical energy forms the basis for all levels. To manage our physical energy, we need to look after our physical health, eat well, and get enough rest. We don’t have to be athletes, dietitians, or sleep as much as koala bears do. All we need to do is find where we can improve and start to build on it. Benefits will be almost immediate and it will give us the motivation to keep going. Once our physical energy starts to improve, we can then navigate through our emotional energy.


Managing Our Emotional Energy

What’s important to know is that our emotions depend on our physical health. When we’re hungry, we can become agitated and aggressive. Conversely, when we’re tired and need rest, we don’t focus on anything. Emotional energy is simply being in a healthy state of mind, and not being held down by negative feelings. The emotions that don’t result directly from our physiological state can help or hinder our ability to perform. Positive feelings such as joy, amusement, interest, or are even being challenged increases our engagement and energy. Alternatively, bitterness, anger, sadness, and all other negative emotions crush our energy.  When we’re overcome with these types of emotions, it’s difficult to focus. Emotions aren’t things we consciously choose. Sometimes we’re upset for no reason, or we’re anxious when we know we’ll be fine.

Feeling good is essential to doing good. To feel good, we have to let go of negative emotions. We can do this by not lamenting the inevitability of failure, but thinking about how much we can learn and grow. A sense of being wronged and desiring revenge against the universe is what keeps us having negative emotions. The majority of what happens in life is neutral. We can make the internal choice as to what role this takes in our life, good or bad. Letting go of negative emotions and being grateful for the positive parts of our life is what provides us happiness. When we’re happy, we have more energy.


Managing Our Mental Energy

The third tier, mental energy is where the focus of our energy goes. It’s taking control of our thoughts as opposed to accepting the first thought that comes into mind. Mental energy is about the mental muscle and skills we use to get things done and reach our goals. The most important part about building mental energy is to enter into whatever we do with optimism. When we begin with a negative attitude and outlook, we presume we fail. For example, there’d be occasions where I’d enter into a boxing session feeling like I won’t achieve what I want. It’s evident that my physical energy and emotional energy isn’t where it needs to be to help me focus. I’m tired and feeling drained, so I need to use optimism to build up my mental focus and manage my mind.


Manage Our Spiritual Energy

Once we manage our minds, we face spiritual energy. This energy has nothing to do with religion, or beliefs. It encourages us to understand what’s truly important to us. For example, a person who values friendship will make more time to catchup with friends/family and communicate with others. That person would seek activities and maximise their time effectively, allowing themselves to be fully invested when it comes to engaging in what’s important. When we’re doing what feels important, there’s a strong motivation for us to keep going. We feel proud, validated, and grateful when we achieve such things. 


Charge The Battery

Energy is the battery for all our thoughts and behaviours. Without it, no techniques and tips provided in this article will help you. It’s an effective way to think about the role it plays and understanding when we’re tired and how to manage it. It dictates when we need to rest and not risk burnout, but at the same time making sure we are challenging ourselves and pushing our limits towards increasing our energy capacity and reaching our goals. By being able to focus on 4 energy types, we are able to improve performance an achieve what we set out to do.

Related: Assess Your Quality of Life: 17 Ways to Personally Improve