A few mornings ago, as I was starting my warm-up laps in the swimming pool, I felt I could have done with a few extra hours of sleep.
My arms were turning, my legs were kicking, my gaze was absently following the blue line on the pool floor. A few hundred metres into it and the thought that I had a solid three-quarters of an hour still ahead of me was well and truly deflating me. I was not “present”.
When you are submerged, you hear nothing but your own thoughts, and the repetitive muffled gurgling sounds of your body moving through the water. It is meditative in a way, and because of this I soon had dismantled my lethargic thoughts with the mental exploration of effectiveness versus potency.
The word Potency is defined as the capacity to influence, and it is most often used in heard in relation to medicine, biology and physics.
Often we are time-locked in our activities, we can not opt-out sooner, we can not avoid a particular process. When we are in this situation the only variable we can adjust is the intensity, the presence, the potency. A small increase in potency often can create a significant increase in results.
The time will pass..
You will arrive at the other end as you drift through the activity, the time will still pass.
You will arrive at the other end as you move through the activity with intention, the time will still pass.
When the time has passed, will you simply arrive, or will you arrive with a payload?.
What is the best that you can get out of a given activity? In my case I promptly decided to “engage” with my training session, to be fully “present”. I did not do a personal best that day, but a simple almost insignificant shift in thinking, a marginal increase in effort turned an hour of uncommitted motion into a worthwhile training session.
Effectiveness means something works. Potency determines how great a result you will get from that work. When we are faced with an activity that perhaps is not avoidable, we can always increase our potency.
Either way you will pass the same point in time, but you will be heading in very different directions.