Most people have experienced the occasional hour – or day – when their thoughts are tangled and their ideas are cloudy. They can’t seem to get anything done, no matter how much they try. Like a phone running low on battery, they feel sluggish, like they can power down at any moment. At night, when they look back on the day they just experienced, they can’t help but think: “What a waste!”
“Are You Fully Charged: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life” is a recently published book by the best-selling author Tom Rath. Diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder as a child, Rath quickly learned how to live life one day at a time. Rather than conceptualizing life as a series of long-term goals – become wealthy, have a family, achieve perfect health – Rath suggests that the key to happiness is to focus on each day.
Rath found that the three things that distinguish a “low charge” day from a “positive charge” day are:
Meaning: The person does something that benefits someone else.
Interactions: The person creates more positive moments than negative moments.
Energy: The person makes choices that improve his or her mental or physical health.
To achieve meaning, positive interactions and energy, individuals do not need to attend a weekend retreat in the mountains or a series of intense self-help seminars. They simply need to take time out of their day to achieve each goal. People can achieve meaning by doing a favor for a loved one, such as cleaning the house or surprising the cherished individual with dinner. People can foster positive interactions by calling their family members to let them know that they’re thinking of them. And individuals can increase their energy by getting enough sleep, practicing meditation and eating nutritious food.
By making sure to fulfill all three components every day, people can minimize the days when they go to bed unsatisfied.
Backed by research
The methods outlined in “Are You Fully Charged?” were inspired by research that indicates that daily well-being is distinct from people’s overall perception of their lives. For instance, many people suspect that wealth is the key to happiness – however, wealth does nothing to improve daily happiness. Although it seems natural to assume that wealthier countries are happier than poorer countries, research has indicated that the country with the highest daily happiness index is Paraguay, a country ranked at 105 among the world’s nations in wealth.
Thanks to the almost ubiquitous use of smartphones, collecting information about daily living has never been easier. More and more research indicates that daily happiness is distinct from the more traditional markers of success.
Find your own daily happiness
Like many self-help books, many of the techniques outlined in “Are You Fully Charged?” seem to be easier said than done. After all, how can a person fight cloudy thoughts if that cloudiness is due to a drug addiction or a mental health disorder?
Although a single book is not enough to treat a serious illness, it can be a valuable tool when combined with therapy or medication. Compared to other books that focus on happiness, “Are You Fully Charged?” is less intimidating, given that its message focuses on one day at a time. Readers do not need to radically alter their lives, or work on a single problem for weeks, months or even years. They only need to do small, positive things on a daily basis.
“Are You Fully Charged?” is part of a series that includes a feature-length film, an app, a children’s book, a website and interviews with scientists. For further information, please look at its listing on Amazon.