Our capacity depends on how much energy we’ve got in the tank. Energy is defined in physics simply as “the capacity to do work.”
Human beings aren’t meant to operate in the same mechanical way computers do – at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. Rather we are at our best when we pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy. When we fail to regularly refuel, we progressively run ourselves down.
Computers can run on one source of energy. Human beings have four core energy needs: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Computers are one-dimensional, and have no feelings. Human beings are multi-dimensional and feel deeply. At our complex best, we can simultaneously cultivate the opposite qualities that make us more wholly human: honesty and compassion, confidence and humility, rationality and intuition, reflectiveness and action, self-care and care for others. Overuse any of these qualities, and it will undermine the expression of its complementary opposite.
The challenge for any modern organization is to build policies, practices, and cultures that better meet people’s needs, so they are freed and fueled to bring more of their skill and talent to work every day. It’s a new value exchange: Take better care of your people and they will take better care of your business.