energy bus leadership

The Energy Bus – Book Review

Posted on October 3rd, 2015

Since it was first published, millions of people worldwide have read The Energy Bus. Overall, it is a good read: well-written and light-hearted, The Energy Bus introduces the importance of positivity to anyone wishing to get more out of their life and work.

What is ‘The Energy Bus’?

Perhaps the unique selling point of the book is that instead of offering a plain textbook account of positivity, The Energy Bus tells a story…

It is a story about George, a family man struggling at home and at work whose tale begins when he finds that his car has a flat tire and that he’ll have to take the bus to work. Cursing the heavens, George finds himself on a bus greeted by its enthusiastic driver, Joy: “Good day to you today, Sugar!” Over the course of a series of trips on the bus, George meets a number of fellow passengers with inspiring life stories of their own. And, gradually, George finds himself and his life transformed by the advice he receives from everyone on The Energy Bus.

The Energy Bus is, in other words, a metaphor for the benefits of being positive. Will George get on The Energy Bus and ascribe to the good advice of Joy and her passengers, or will he continue in his negative ways?

“I guess you can say I’ve had a change of heart. I’ve decided to take the bus to work from now on. Driving your car to work is great but it’s more fun on the bus!!”

Learning Points

Although it may seem a light-hearted story, The Energy Bus is full of good advice, backed-up by scientific research.

“Life is simple. But in all our stuff we make it complicated and become blinded to the simple truths. But it’s the simplest lessons in life that are often the most profound and meaningful”.

Positivity is a major topic at the moment, with a raft of recent scientific research pointing to the vast work/life benefits of being positive. The Energy Bus – one of the latest books in this tradition – itself refers to recent research carried out by the Heart Math Institute assessing the ways in which our energy states are unconsciously “broadcast” to each other, as well as to Daniel Goleman’s work Emotional Intelligence , which explains why emotional intelligence can matter more than IQ.

“What emotional intelligence really is all about is tapping the power of your heart when you are leading, selling and communicating.”

So there are some important ideas to take away from The Energy Bus. Staying true to the language of the book, they can be roughly distilled for you as follows:

  1. You are the driver of your bus.

You are in control of your life and can decide which direction to take. Decide where it is you want to go, and drive there with confidence and purpose. “You don’t have to sit passively by like so many other unhappy souls who let life create them. You can take the wheel and choose to create your life, one thought, one action, one choice at a time. It’s your bus and you’re the driver and you choose where you are going and the kind of ride it’s going to be.”… “So where do you desire to go, George? What’s your vision?… Once you know this, all the other rules will fall into place.”

  1. Don’t be alarmed by obstacles.

Setbacks are inevitable – try to see the good in every situation. Take responsibility for your judgements and try to respond in active, positive ways to bad situations. “There will always be potholes and roadblocks that can block your journey on the road of life. Things happen like your flat tire, George. But it’s how we choose to deal with the events in our life that means everything. We all get down but the key is what we do to turn life around.”

  1. Invite people on board.

Be friendly and helpful, and tell people about your vision – because you never know who will be able to help you in return, and because helping people is a positive thing to do, and you will earn positive feelings because of it. “Remember, you’re driving the bus, George… But as you drive you want to keep asking people to get on. The worst they can say is no. If you don’t ask they won’t know to get on. Plus the more people you pick up along the way the more energy you create during your ride.”

  1. Beware of ‘energy vampires’.

Don’t waste time on anyone who tries to run you down or tear holes in your positive vision of your life and work. “Some people are going to get on your bus and some people won’t. Don’t worry about the people who don’t get on your bus. Don’t waste your energy on them. Don’t try to make them get on. You can’t drive anyone else’s bus. You can only drive your bus.”

  1. Be positive!

Once you’ve settled on a positive vision of where you want to go, positive energy is the fuel which will make the bus run. The key is to uphold your vision with the sustained positive energy which will get you there in the long run. “Positive energy is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. The stronger it gets the more powerful you become. Repetition is the key and the more you focus on positive energy the more it becomes your natural state.”… “Have fun and enjoy the ride!”

Overall, a great book on the importance of our mental attitudes to success in life and work. Having a particular skillset or aptitude is not enough without also having the will to succeed, and the positive attitude which will get us there in the long run.

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