5 Ways To Energize And Take Back Control of Your Life

Apr 03, 2022

Image provided by Simon

There are two types of people in your life.

Some will drain you every time you talk to them. You’ve all got someone in your head right now who does this to you.

Others will electrify you. They make you feel inspired to attack your day. Simon Ong is one of these people. He’s won an award for the Life Coach of The Year at The International Coaching Awards.

I was lucky enough to share some teppanyaki with him and his wife Laurie for lunch one day. Our conversation lit a fire under me. I made the changes I’d been meaning to make but had been procrastinating.

Here are five ideas that can make a difference in your life from his book Energize (not an affiliate link).


3–2–1 rule

I don’t need to explain to you why sleep is important. We know should be getting more but we cling to bad habits.

“So we’re not getting enough work done because we’re sleep-deprived and we’re not sleeping because we’re not getting enough work done” — Matthew Walker.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you google ways to improve your sleep. Many methods could help but only if you actually follow through with them. The more complicated the rules you follow, the less time you’ll go before breaking them.

Try Simon’s simple 3–2–1 rule:

  • 3 hours before bed stop working —After you finish work, you need time to let your mind unwind. Otherwise, you’ll end up laying awake in bed thinking about work or even worse dreaming about work. Dreams should be about going on adventures not sitting at your desk!
  • 2 hours before bed stop eating — Allow your body time to digest your food before you go to sleep rather than make it work when it should be resting.
  • 1 hour before bed no more devices — How can you process your own thoughts if you’re drowning in a pool of pixels?

“Choose your words carefully”

Words are powerful yet we use them carelessly.

There is a chicken and egg problem. Are we stressed because we frame our life negatively or do we use disempowering words because we’re stressed?

A classic example is “need to” and “have to.”

It’s a lie 99% of the time.

I want you to remember those two phrases for the rest of the week. Every time you say them, I want you to consider how much control you have. “Need to” and “have to” imply you have no control. You make yourself seem powerless.

Simon recommends you replace the words with “will” because it shows you’re in control. I like to use “I choose to” or “I want to”.

In reality, this is what’s really happening. If you’re working late to get a promotion rather than spending time with friends or family, it’s a choice. We don’t like to say this out loud because it doesn’t fit the narrative we tell ourselves about who we are.

Stop lying to yourself.


Write a letter to yourself

I consider the Amardeep of last year a dumbass. Even the Amardeep of last week made some questionable decisions. It’s normal for me not to agree with my past self. It shows I’m growing.

I can laugh at most of my mistakes because they are harmless. I’d be lying if I didn’t carry around some baggage from history though. The younger, stupider version of ourselves sometimes hurts people including themselves. You might have some scars you hide from the world. I have.

Yet logically, once you’ve taken the lesson from what happened, the scar is useless. It only holds you back. I know it’s easy to say this and harder to heal. One way to do this is by writing a letter of forgiveness to your younger self. It works best if you’re honest. Tell yourself what you would have done differently. Be open if you wish everything would have turned out differently but accept your present.

I might publish my thoughts online but my letters are deeply personal. They’ll likely never see the light of day. They don’t need to. They are for me. They help me heal. They stop circumstances of the past from leeching my energy. As Simon says, “you can either have cluttered books or cluttered minds”.

“Stop treating your health as a side hustle”

Whatever field you’re in, you’ll have some people who value hard work over everything. Hustle worship has infected the minds of people everywhere.

Yet stop for a second.

Want to be better at business? Being healthy will help.
Want to be a better parent? Being healthy will help.
Want to be the life of the party? Being healthy will help.

When I interviewed Twitter Co-Founder Ev Williams, he said he had no regrets about how he lived his twenties except for one thing. He wishes he prioritized his health sooner. The regrets of people we admire are powerful. It stops us from blindly following their path and instead we can make our own, better, path.

Often people sacrifice their health because they convince themselves they are helping other people. This fallacy must end. Stop struggling as a badge of honor. Tell the people you care about. If they care too, they would want you to prioritize your health.

Drink your water. Eat right. Exercise.

“Success” can wait.


“Focus on consistency over intensity”

 I felt personally attacked by Simon here but it’s a personal fault I’ve known about for a long time.

I know when I put my mind to something then nothing can stop me. Except myself of course. I’ll go too hard too soon and burn myself out. I then need a long break. In the meantime, others who were more measured keep going. They catch up with me and then go past me.

My challenge is finding the right level of intensity where it’s sustainable but doesn’t bore me. I’m not alone. When you start something new, it’s exciting and you have lots of energy for it but overenthusiasm in the short term can mean the passion won’t survive in the long run.

This has happened to me in my entrepreneurial career. It’s only been 9 months since I left my job but I wanted to be “successful” straight away. By many measures I was. I earn more than I did as an employee and have grown in confidence in a way I never thought possible.

Yet this came at a cost. I slowly began working longer hours and answering more clients. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted when I quit my job but I found myself locked in a new pair of golden handcuffs.

After reading Simon’s books, I canceled some of my highest paying clients and took a break from others. It wasn’t easy but it was the right choice. Living the way I have would burn me out. I chose to take the loss of income and focus on building something sustainable instead.

Will you make the same decision?

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.