Is the juice worth the squeeze?
You only have a limited amount of time, energy, and focus at your disposal in any one day. Once you expend those resources, you have to literally wait until they replenish.
You can do things to replenish them faster, of course. Rest helps. Recreation helps. There are a subset of experiences and behaviors that feed you rather than depleting you; seeking out these experiences and engaging in these behaviors will help you return to baseline faster than you otherwise would.
But what you’re expending your precious, finite resources on…is it worth it?
The people who get the precious, finite resource of your attention…do they deserve it?
The tasks that consume the precious, finite resource of your time…are they worth it? Do they add enough value to justify the time you invest in them?
The situations into which you pour the precious, finite resource of your energy…do those situations align with your values and wants?
Understand, we don’t always get to choose exactly where our resources go. It’d be lovely if we had COMPLETE control over how we’re to spend our time— but our bosses and jobs and other commitments might have something to say about that.
Likewise, we don’t have COMPLETE control over where our energy goes. Especially if you’re a parent, you know that whether you like it or not, a great deal of energy every day will be invested in the care and nurturing of your children. There isn’t much choice involved.
The thing is— because we don’t have COMPLETE control over where our resources go, doesn’t mean we have NO control over where they go.
We still have a great deal of flexibility and choice when it comes to where we invest our time, energy, and attention.
And the fact is, not every place where we typically invest those resources is a good investment.
How many times have we caught ourselves lavishing the precious, finite resource of our attention on a situation that will only make us sad or angry?
How many times have we caught ourselves wasting the precious, finite resources of our time on things that will only make us tired and listless…and which don’t produce a commensurate level of joy or fun to offset this “cost?”
I’m not one of those personal growth teachers who is going to tell you you should NEVER expend your resources on things that aren’t directly linked to your goals. Every scrap of research and experience we have suggests that recreation and diversion significantly enhance our ability to pursue goals effectively in the real world. “Workaholism,” as a lifestyle choice, isn’t chosen by very many successful people.
(You can trust me on the “workaholism doesn’t work” thing— I’ve tried it. Repeatedly. Just doesn’t work.)
It’s okay to expend your resources. Lavish all the time, energy, and attention on whatever you want.
But be smart about it.
If you’re going to go through the trouble of squeezing, the juice should be sweet and nutritious enough to make the squeeze worth it.
if you’re going to spend time on something, it should be something that enhances you. You’re not getting that time back; it’s a one time investment. In choosing what to spend your time on, you’re choosing to make a once-in-a-lifettime investment of hours and minutes and seconds.
It should be worth it.
If you’re going to expend attention on something, it should be something that makes you feel good, not bad. Motivated, not discouraged. Supported, not defeated.
If you’re going to spend energy on something, it should come with an upside. There’s nothing wrong with expending energy— but there should be a payoff down the road.
There’s a lot of juice in this world that’s not worth the squeeze.
Squeeze, by all means.
But taste test the juice along the way.
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