derek bobo: the leeches must go

Let's tackle the problem from a different angle this time.

I've been talking a lot about challenging the social norms that get pushed through mass media and consumerism. With this comes looking at things a little differently. Being more intentional and appreciating all of the little things that are over looked.

Now I think it's time to look at the energy leeches in your life. Energy leeches are things that suck the life out of you and leave you feeling drained. They take from you but offer nothing, or very little in return. Energy leeches, like actual leeches, can easily go unnoticed if you aren't looking for them.

Energy leeches can be found in many different forms. Everyone's list is going to be different but a few idea starters might be clutter staring at you every day, a project that you've left unfinished, a place you visit, or even the people in your life.

The typical path to happiness involves adding more and more "good" to your life. While there are times that this is, in fact, true; I think there is an equally important recipe. That is eliminating more and more "bad" from your life. It may sound ruthless, and I guess sometimes it can come across that way but if you don't eliminate the things that are holding you back they'll eventually drag you down with them. It doesn't always feel good, but you don't need that in your life.

I've been spending a fair amount of time on eliminating energy leeches lately. Here are a few things I've done:

  1. Got rid of all of my CDs and moved my entire music collection to my iPod. I can listen to it on my computer, with headphones, in the car, or broadcast it using my iHome dock. It allowed me to part with all of my CDs that were in the car as well as a huge stereo that took up a lot of space.
  2. I throw away unsolicited "junk mail" before it even hits the kitchen table. I have a lot of my bills setup on automatic payment so I don't have to deal with them.
  3. Removed all of the plants/foliage around my garden. It was blocking light from the plants I wanted to grow, growing through the fence and a pain to mow around.
  4. Donated about half of my wardrobe to Goodwill. I hated digging through my closet to find the handful of things that I wear on a regular basis. I didn't wear most of it anyway.
  5. Cancelled my cable subscription. It was a waste of money and I can get most of it online. I expect we'll be far more productive at home and spend more time as a family rather than spacing out in front of the TV.
  6. Friend cleansed my Facebook. We all have people on our list that we don't really talk to in real life and those that, for some reason, everything that comes out of their mouth is negative. I have compassion and can certainly differentiate venting about a bad day and perpetual negativity. It's the latter that had to go.

Removing all of these things one time will certainly make a big impact, but unfortunately it's not a silver bullet that solves the problem forever. Once you've eliminated some of these leeches it's important to not let them back into your life and to constantly be on the lookout for new ones. However, each time you lighten the load it will allow you to see things a little more clearly so that you can continue to focus your valuable time and energy where it's most important to you.


28 First you must become
04 One Foot in Front of the Other
21 The Zen Master
08 Those You Spend Your Time With
19 You're Probably a Prepper
12 Anger Management
04 All About Choices
02 What I Know About Being a Dad (so far)
01 The Dalia Lama on Humanity
30 Time to Reflect
28 The Leeches Must Go
26 Take a Moment to Appreciate
26 A Matter of Perspective
19 The New Rich
17 The Story of the Mexican Fisherman
15 What's on your List
14 The Most Precious Resource
13 Three Things to be Happy
11 The Joneses
07 Be Intentional