Managing personal energy is the key to success

Managing personal energy is the key to success

D. Murali and M.J. Madhavan

Chennai, July. 13: If you want to reach great heights in life and taste success, wealth, happiness and health, you need to manage your energy, thoughts and emotions with insight, says Ravindra Potharaju, the founder and CEO of Bangalore-based PEM Training Solutions (

PEM stands for ê¢__‘–personal energy management” and Potharaju’s organisation aims at helping individuals and corporates establish and sustain effective “energy flow patterns”.

The quality of one’s life depends on management of personal energy, he asserts. “It is all about drawing energy from various sources and deploying it effectively, which would lead to sustained happiness.”

Listening to one’s inner voice will guide exactly to what one wanted to be, assures Potharaju, an engineering graduate from Birla Institute of Technology, and former head of learning services, IBM India.

Find the ê¢__‘–genie” or ê¢__‘–interest” within, he exhorts. “It is the most valuable thing in life. Striving to acquire knowledge of this, therefore, should be the sole purpose for anyone. All others are only secondary. Because once this knowledge blooms, other things will fall in correct order.”

Alas, most of us programmed to do what others wanted us to do from our childhood days, and we do it unknowingly, frets Potharaju. “Most of us are programmed to lead an ant’s life! It becomes little harder afterwards to find the ê¢__‘–genie” within, because of the ê¢__‘–programmed” mentality.”

Finding or feeling the ê¢__‘–genie” is not enough; check if you have the courage to pick up the profession you love. Very few have achieved that, says Potharaju, in a recent email interaction with Business Line.

“The few who have the initial courage to pick up a profession they love, tend to lose heart when the desired results are not forthcoming immediately. They lapse back into ant’s life.” It is the rare ones, like the true leaders, who manage to see themselves through the initial stages of ridicule, rejection, insecurity and uncertainty they are subjected to.

‘successful people are those who immensely loved their profession and created value to the environment around. They enjoyed their profession fully with unbridled willingness flowing out. Success and money reached them because they created value to the people around them, and not because they desired wealth directly or solely for itself.”

Taking a cue from those who succeeded, one can start enjoying the daily chores, be it in office or at home, with willingness at whatever ê¢__‘–level” one is placed, and that would, definitely, create value for the others around, he advises.

Well, how does one handle failures in profession, some of which may be due to decisions going unexpectedly wrong or due to sudden health problems? ‘such crises are like falling into quicksand,” according to Potharaju. “The first step to remain afloat is to stop struggling. The more one struggles against it the more he would get sucked into it and very soon the problem will totally engulf him.”

As in the famed prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous, one must perhaps learn to accept things that cannot be changed. Potharaju narrates the example of a successful soccer player who damaged his legs permanently in an accident. “He needs to realise that he cannot play the game. Non-acceptance of the ê¢__‘–crisis” situation would lead to a constant struggle ê¢__‘–inside” – between the ê¢__‘–memories of the past” and ê¢__‘–worries of the future”. In the process, he would allow the present moment, where the solution lay, to slip away.”

Acceptance in total has the ability to turn one’s attention to ê¢__‘–now” and, as a result, solutions would start emerging, explains Potharaju. “The disabled soccer player would realize that there are other options, to continue doing what he enjoys and make a profession out of it, like becoming a coach or a commentator. During the period of uncertainty, it is only self-belief that can carry you further.”

On what should be the motivating force for pursuing anything, be it success, wealth or fame, Potharaju’s prescription is simple and straight: “First, ask yourself if the profession, study or anything that you are doing is enjoyable to you, and how you can be more useful to others by performing that, by reaching out to more folks and creating value for them. The task should also challenge your abilities. Also assess whether there is a fair value in return.”

Success, after all, is the ê¢__‘–energy owed” flowing back to us in different forms, he reasons. “The source of ê¢__‘–willingness” needs to be permanent to sustain ê¢__‘–enjoyment at work” and that would come only when you choose a profession that you love.”

Environment reshapes our abilities, for good or bad, cautions Potharaju. “Environment is more powerful than one’s will which is why the wise would choose their company very carefully.”

A wily ê¢__‘–cat” to watch out for is ê¢__‘–ego” that can creep in now and then! “Bell the cat in time, otherwise it will drag your energy into unwanted things,” he says, alluding to a popular bedtime tale.

“Will created by manipulation of emotions can at best be temporary or artificial. Ego, the ultimate source of this ê¢__‘–artificial will” can be easily manipulated, and whatever can be manipulated cannot be sustained.”

Competition is part of our work life, and we keep our collective noses close to the grindstone. It does dissipate energy at the personal level, concedes Potharaju. He suggests a look at the nature of competition to know whether the energy spent is consumption (which is wastage) or investment (which comes back).

“If competition is not mindless and for correct reasons then it is investment. A cricketer giving his best at the highest level for his country gets the energy flowing back to him in the form of recognition, wealth and happiness.”

When desiring a pursuit, take a leaf from Arjun, the iconic archer in the Mahabharata, counsels Potharaju. “In a mind-free state, he aimed at a bird’s eye, seeing only that, and not even the bird. While executing, the energy stored in his bow got transferred to the arrow, which flew fast to hit the bird’s eye when released.”

What is the moral of the story? “Like an arrow gathering energy from an archer’s hand, one’s desire should get abundant energy. For that, a person must aim at the desired target with single-minded approach, not encouraging other thoughts in the mind. Then, the desire, after deriving abundant energy, gets converted into strong action and results in success.”

Dipping again into ancient wisdom, Potharaju cites the Buddha’s words – that the root cause of all evils is desire – and goes on to add a fresh perspective to the maxim: “To enjoy sustained happiness, asking for the correct desire would help. Otherwise, mere fulfilment of the desire would take away happiness in life.”