Tips on how to use your limited mental energy.

English Level: B2 🇨🇦

Full Transcript

Volkswagen by Jorge Robleto

The body and mind are like a Volkswagen. It needs fuel to work. Ideally, that fuel is a good night’s rest, healthy food, and good relationships. Then the question becomes, how do I use the gasoline in my tank?

I have options. I can use the gasoline to drive to Stressville. The road is full of hills and sharp turns. The weather is terrible there so you have to deal with low visibility. It’s an exhausting trip and it’s not certain I’ll have enough gas to make it back home.

I can go to Critique Town. People there drive around aimlessly pointing out what they don’t like about everyone else’s car. “Your car is old. I hate the color. It doesn’t look comfortable.” All the while, their own cars are falling apart and are in need of repair.

Angerheim is not very far away. I’ve been there many times. But I have to be careful. There are many car accidents there. Everyone speeds and nobody respects the rules. “Hey, what are you doing?” puhhhh. I can get there quickly, but it’s not certain I will return in one piece.

Someone told me about the twin villages of Resilience and Self-Awareness. It’s not an easy journey but I’ve heard the view is beautiful from there. I’ve been told it’s safe, enjoyable, and worthwhile. I put the location in my GPS and I go.

Stress is exhausting and doesn’t allow us to see clearly. It uses up so much energy and oftentimes leaves us lost. Criticising others instead of focusing on our own flaws is a waste of time. We get nowhere. Anger destroys relationships. These explosions of emotion hurt others and ultimately, anger destroys us. But there are other options.

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s the antidote to stress. This can be learned through experience and intentional practice. We can train ourselves by doing uncomfortable things. For example, by learning a new language, meeting new people, or reading books that challenge our worldview. The more we do this, the more resilient we become when difficulties appear.

Self-awareness is a conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings. When we have the impulse to criticize someone, self-awareness reminds us that we also have flaws. When anger builds up inside, self-awareness reminds us of strategies to stay calm.

We must use our bodies and minds, but our energy is limited. So think carefully about how you use that energy on a daily basis. If you don’t take care of your Volkswagen, it will break down sooner rather than later.

Vocabulary Words

  1. fuel (noun): material such as coal, gas, or oil that is burned to produce heat or power.
  2. aimlessly (adverb): without purpose or direction.
  3. twin (adj.): something containing or consisting of two matching or corresponding parts.
  4. Resilience (noun): the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.
  5. Self-awareness (noun): a conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings.
  6. worthwhile (adj.): worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance.
  7. flaw (noun): a fault or weakness in a person’s character.
  8. antidote (noun): something that counteracts an unpleasant feeling or situation.
  9. impulse (noun): a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act.

Phrases to Remember

  1. low visibility: Visibility is defined as how well you are able to see or to the ability to be seen. When a rain storm makes it very hard to see, this is an example of a situation with low visibility.

Think about the emotions that use up your energy.

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