5 Life Lessons Batteries Taught Me
They’re also the silent partner in our ever-accelerating and mobile lifestyles.
At Interstate Batteries, we’re up to our brain cells in coin cells, AAs, lithium-ion batteries, auto batteries and any other kind of portable power.
I’m Youssef Sleiman, one of the writers for Interstate’s communications group. Along with all the fun we have, we talk and learn a lot about batteries. Sure, we write about a lot of technical information. (And if you don’t know your cranking amps from your milliamps, we got you covered.)
There’s also a lot of heart. Batteries aren’t the most vocal, active or even visually stunning things out there. But if you pay attention the way we have, you pick up some real heartfelt ideas.
Today, on National Battery Day, I took some time to contemplate the deeper lessons I’ve picked up from batteries.
There’s Positives and Negatives
Come on. You had to expect something like this. Still, that doesn’t make it any less true.
Life has positives and negatives, ups and downs, easy times and low times, etc. And there’s an appropriate time for everything. (Check out Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes.)
Is your life unduly pressed one way or another? Too much positive? All negative? Make a conscious effort to exhibit the right thing at the right time. Comfort people who need to be comforted. Laugh when there’s laughter. Commiserate, empathize and uplift.
It’s not easy, though. There’s no finer social skill than studying the present and engaging with it. And that means accepting both ends of the battery.
Speaking of obvious, here’s a piece of advice every battery knows – but everyone seems to ignore.
A battery may be full of power at the start of a day. When you run it all the way down, there’s no more energy, no more get-up-and-go, no more oomph – until you recharge it. Sound familiar?
You need a good night’s sleep, a party with friends, a quiet lunch or 20 minutes to do whatever you need to recharge.
The analogy goes deeper. When you continuously run a battery down, either by leaving your car’s glove box light on or letting your cellphone battery hit 0%, you could harm the battery’s ability to store more electricity. And continuously running yourself until you’re empty can leave you with more down days than up.
“I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing; but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Bottom line: Recharge yourself – and prevent recurring exhaustion.
Clean Your Connections Every So Often
Okay, follow me on this. You know that corrosion on your car battery? This leftover grit can come between a good battery and your car. Your car may not start one morning – just because there’s so much corrosion that the electricity can’t jump from the battery to your starter.
And ain’t that just like people?
We’re busy. With so much to do, who’s got time to give a genuine compliment? To buy flowers for your wife or a gadget for your guy? You answer 300 emails a day, but you can’t write a 300-word letter to your grandma, right?
Yet, these are how we clean our human connection. Give your valued connections a little TLC. You may see much more energy pass through those relationships, just because you cleaned the corrosion off.
Turn It On
We value authenticity. I know I do. “Keep it real. Shoot straight. Yeah, but what do your really mean?”
And the effort we put forth to impress someone may feel fake, right?
Let me ask you this. What’s the natural state of an engine: on or off? You can’t leave an engine running all the time, yet it’s designed for the key to turn.
Batteries are the answer. It’s both.
Demonstrating social graces, etiquette and wit to impress a client, mother-in-law or a complete stranger isn’t a betrayal of your inner self. You’re a social person, designed to interact and mature with others. “Turning on the charm” still reveals the authentic you. It’s just a dynamic, 100-horsepower and 800-amp you.
Use the energy you’ve got.
Batteries come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, voltages, terminal types, reserve capacity, and cranking amps. They’re all designed to do something specific.
And not to get hokey, but so are you. No other person on the planet is you. No one else sees what your eyes see, feel what your fingers feel or interpret others’ words the way you do. You’re the only you we’ve got.
And I forget that a little bit each time I read about studies that categorize me (full disclosure: 32-year-old, Lebanese heritage and U.S.-born married parent of three).
And the truth is, we can’t afford to forget this. Sure, batteries can do most things we put to them, but each one has a unique capacity for certain tasks – and so do you. Never forget it.
Chances are, as you read this post, you’ve got about six different batteries within your arms’ reach. How often do you think about them?
Well, maybe, thinking about them a little bit more today will encourage you on National Battery Day.