Thousand-Watt Bulb

Chapter 76 of the book Self-Help Stuff That Works

by Adam Khan:

HERE'S AN ODD SUGGESTION: When you're working, try to burn calories. Be useful, helpful, and as productive as you can. Even if your job is sitting at a keyboard all day, try to do it energetically and with enthusiasm. It may seem stupid, but give it a try before you decide. Blast out your effort like a thousand-watt bulb and here's what you'll get in return:

  1. You'll be more energetic, not less. You'd think it would wear you out, but that's not the case, as you can find out for yourself by trying it. You may have a pleasant sense of relaxation at the end of the day, as you would from some good exercise, but it won't make you tired. Holding back makes you tired. Going through the motions makes you tired. Just trying to get through the day makes you tired.
  2. You'll advance faster. Of course, when opportunities come around, the person putting their all into the work (you, for instance) is going to be chosen over the people who are getting by doing as little as possible. Obviously.
  3. Your job will be more secure. Giving your all will make you feel more secure in a sometimes insecure world. And you'll not only feel more secure, your feeling will be an accurate perception of the reality.
  4. You'll feel better about yourself. It feels good to do well. And you can look your boss in the eye and know s/he's getting a good deal. You can see that there are very few people you work with (or none at all) who give their all. The comparison between you and the rest of the pack will make it very clear in your mind you can stand tall and proud when your supervisor is around.
  5. You'll improve your abilities faster. Whatever skills your job requires will be honed more quickly when you're giving it your all.

THE HUMAN BRAIN and body has a default setting: Conserve energy. You know this from personal experience. It's probably hardwired genetically and kicks in with the onset of adulthood. You and I have a natural tendency to try to be conservative with our energy output. That's there naturally, but you're not stuck with it. You can override that default setting with a simple decision: Put out as much effort as you can.

Put the decision into action and before long, you'll forget. You'll be back to your default setting. When you notice you've gone back to the conserve energy mode, decide again to try to burn calories. Remake your decision again and again. Blasting out the energy won't wear you out or make you tired. But it will make you feel proud, secure, and confident.


When you're working, try to burn calories.

Here's a way to make your work more enjoyable.
Play the Game

One way to be promoted at work and succeed on the job may seem entirely unrelated to your actual tasks or purpose at work.
Vocabulary Raises

This is a simple technique to allow you to get more done
without relying on time-management or willpower.
Forbidden Fruits

Here is a way to turn your daily life into a fulfilling, peace-inducing meditation.
Life is a Meditation

A good principle of human relations is don't brag,
but if you internalize this too thoroughly, it can make
you feel that your efforts are futile.
Taking Credit

next: An Island of Order in a Sea of Chaos

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, October 16). Thousand-Watt Bulb, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: March 31, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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