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Energy Gains

Basketball Is Psychology XXXI

(Photo via Chicago Sky)



We need energy to perform at our best.

If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t have enough energy to play as well as you can.

If you don’t eat enough, you won’t have enough energy to play as well as you are capable of playing.

But there is another valuable source of energy that often goes unexamined: people.

Drains and Gains

Do the people on your team leave you feeling energized or do they make you feel drained?

In his book People Fuel, Psychologist Dr. John Townsend termed the two types of people energy drains or gains.

Just one interaction with an energy drain can leave us feeling exhausted. We dread being around these people because they suck the life out of a room, and they drain out all the energy.

There’s nothing better than being around people who leave us feeling energized. We look forward to being around them because we leave every interaction feeling more passionate, motivated, encouraged, and empowered; these are energy gains.

What’s the difference between people who are gains and drains?

Leadership researcher at the University of Michigan, Kim Cameron found the differences between people who drain our energy and people who add to our energy:


  • Brag, promote, and talk about themselves

  • Devalue others

  • Lack empathy

  • Spend a lot of time talking about themselves

  • Focus on the negative

  • Complain about problems

  • Are quick to criticize others when things go wrong


  • Take responsibility and follow through with what they say

  • Support others

  • Are upbeat and optimistic

  • Look for solutions instead of complaining about problems

  • Acknowledge others’ contributions

  • Express gratitude

  • Help people around them

  • Are empathetic

Essentially, gains are team players while drains are self-centered.

Emotional Energy Management