batterij opladen

Battery charging

“Doctor… How on earth do I get my batteries recharged?” This was the headline of a post on LinkedIn¹ advising 7 types of rest to prevent symptoms of fatigue, stress and worse and reduce the pressure, from society or that a person puts on themselves. Good advice.

On the wrong track

However, a human being is not a battery. The metaphor only works when you want to rest physically or mentally. Stress, burnout or worse are not always prevented by this. If there is an energy leak, you can keep recharging until the cows come home. Because if you use the recharged battery to diligently pursue the wrong goals, you will end up like Don Quixote, fatally tired. So it takes more than symptom control! This is why I use another metaphor: two horses and a charioteer.

Two horses and a charioteer

Socrates states in Phaedrus that ‘the soul can be compared to the combined strength of a pair of winged horses and a charioteer’. The charioteer represents
common sense. He has the task of restraining a zealous horse and an unruly one and leading them to the right (and meaningfull) destination.

“‘Let us note that in every one of us there are two guiding and ruling principles which lead us whither they will; one is the natural desire of pleasure, the other is an acquired opinion which aspires after the best; and these two are sometimes in harmony and then again at war, and sometimes the one, sometimes the other conquers. When opinion by the help of reason leads us to the best, the conquering principle is called temperance; but when desire, which is devoid of reason, rules in us and drags us to pleasure, that power of misrule is called excess.’” Plato (from “Phaedrus”)

Personal leadership

Common sense seeks balance and direction. Balance between, on the one hand, zeal and ambition – the pursuit of the best. And, on the other hand,  the unruliness of personal needs and urges – the desire for pleasure. If common sense succeeds in balancing and directing one’s life so that it reaches its proper
destination, personal excellence becomes possible, Socrates said.

No personal mastery without it::

  • taking into account what you enjoy and what makes you unruly and unique;
  • pursuing what you think is best and what makes you zealous and honorable;
  • using reason to lead you to the best and something meaningful.

Without balance energy loss

Without personal mastery no balance and energy loss without balance. Because imagine the unruly horse not enjoying the ride the charioteer is leading toward. That doesn’t feel right, it gets a belly ache and doesn’t go at full speed, and that creates frustration in the other horse who is instead running zealously and hard in the direction the charioteer is directing. And thus has to give extra energy because of the opposition. Result: frustration and loss of energy.

The other way around is exactly the same. Suppose the charioteer steers exactly in a direction that the zealous horse thinks will not take him where he is aiming. Frustration and lack of motivation result, causing the two-horse to run at half speed and the unruly horse to expend twice as much energy.

And then there is the situation where both horses are running at full speed, but the charioteer is not in control of the reins. Then chances are that short-term goals and happiness for now are pursued, while long-term goals get out of sight and a wrong turn is taken, with later frustration on the part of the horses because they thought they were arriving somewhere where, due to circumstances they hadn’t anticipated, they still ended up on an unwanted path and lost their way.

Recharge battery or find balance

In short, if you are balanced and on the right track, the 7 types of rest work to recharge the battery. After recharging, do you notice that the energy quickly leaks out again? Then it’s important to unplug the charger, find the cause of the leak and pay attention to three important themes or questions:

  1. Who am I, what makes me unique and what do I enjoy?
  2. What steps do I take, what makes my heart beat faster and what steps do I have to take?
  3. How do I want to live, how do I give meaning to my life and where do I want to go in the long run?

And since you are unique, that requires hard work. There is no training or manual with 7 steps for it. You have to create the recipe yourself with ingredients that ensure that your battery is always charged. Don’t you do that? Then the pressure of society will only increase and the battery will drain faster and faster, until …. the body signals “I don’t want it anymore, just figure it out, I’m pulling the plug, I’m tired of short-term recharging!

Which metaphor works for you?

Battery or two-horses and a charioteer? Or …. which metaphor for humans resonates with you the most? Which one do you use the most or do you prefer? I’d love to hear about it!

Info – Coaching – Book

Want to explore what you can do to find yourself on the right track or choose the right path?
If so, please contact me without obligation.

For personal coaching on your development, leadership and growth? See: Personal Development – Peter Roemeling

Info or ordering Excelling in freedom | A recipe for personal development.

Links en verwijzingen

  1. Faelens, Gianni (2024) 7 types of rest. Linkedin 
  2. Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de (1997). Don Quixote.
  3. B. Jowett (1999). Plato, Phaedrus.
  4. Roemeling, Peter (2018), Excelling in freedom | A recipe for personal development