4 Tips to Curb Running on Empty

About 4 minutes to read

Has this ever happened to you?  You climb into your car, start it and a buzzer sounds; or you are driving and a screeching noise blares, your gas tank is near empty.

Most of us know what this means.  We have approximately 50 kilometres until our car runs out of gas or petrol.

If you are like me, you tend to push the vehicle to its limit.  There is always something more important to do in the moment that we hear that warning buzzer the first time.  We either are running errands, are late for work, or want to visit a friend quickly.

Sometimes, so distracted by other things, we simply forget.  We blend out the noise of the buzzer; we become blind to the orange or red warning signal and we push our vehicles to their limit.

Perhaps we even run out of gas.  Stuck at the side of the road, miles from a service station; possibly placing ourselves in danger.

By pushing our vehicles to their limit, we incur all sorts of stress.  We experience an adrenaline rush, worry, and fear – all unnecessarily – if only we had acted immediately when the warning sounded.

Our cars are not the only ones to run on empty; often we do this to ourselves.

We do not pay attention to the warning signs – stress, exhaustion, sleeplessness, tension, pain in the body etc. and we keep on pushing until we run dry.

Women are notorious for doing this.  We put others needs of before our own, feel guilty if we create space for ourselves to be alone, believe that the world we care take will fall apart without us.  We neglect to fill our tanks, we run on empty.

Men run on empty too.  Often trying to fulfil the expectations society has of them to be strong, the breadwinner, impenetrable and “manly” they sink all their resources into work and fulfilling a specific role and do not take care of who they truly are.

I am convinced that all of us want to live happy, fulfilled, meaningful lives.  We want to experience connection, feel love, and know that our lives count for something.

Often we are not living how we truly desire because we neglect the most important person in our lives, namely ourselves.  We forget that in order to live a fulfilled life, it all starts within.  How we value, care for, and love ourselves is essential to how we experience our lives.

However, we seek happiness in outside distractions and entertainments, neglecting self-maintenance until we are running on empty.

Speaking from experience, I know that this is a desperate state to be in, and the emptiness and isolation we feel can be overwhelming as life takes on a meaningless hue.

Here are four tips to curb running on empty:

  1. Fill your tank with your source of happiness and joy

None of us driving a diesel-powered car would willingly fill the tank with petrol (gas or benzene) as we know this could cause irreparable damage to the engine.  Yet as human beings, we do this to ourselves constantly.

We chase after and fill ourselves with things we believe will bring us energy, power, fulfilment only to feel empty, disillusioned and powerless.

The antidote to this madness (yes it is madness) is to know ourselves, to know what our source happiness, and joy is.

Do not believe for one second that my path to happiness is yours, or that the path someone else expects you to follow is the right one.  We each need to spend time in self-discovery, learning how to fill our tanks with life sustaining energy; we owe ourselves that much.

  1. Make powerful choices daily

Absolutely everything in life is a choice.  How we think, speak, react, and behave, even how we fill our tanks – everything is our choice.

Start today by choosing how you want to live today.  Many times, we think too far into the future without being present with ourselves now, where our life is actually unfolding.  So stay present in your now and make those choices that bring you to your personal happiness.

  1. Embrace transformation

Many of us have a fair amount of awareness, most of us take action, but not all of us embrace transformation.

I would like to stay with the example of filling the car tank.  Knowing that you are near empty (awareness) but delaying visiting the gas station (action) will not bring you further down the road (transformation).  Eventually you will stand still.


When we are living our lives with awareness and taking action based on our awareness we experience transformation.  This is where the fun is.  This is where we see ourselves evolving and growing as people.  We can liken transformation to rocket fuel that we place in our tanks.

Embracing transformation is not without growing pains and work, but this is our playground, where we introduce new experiences into our human experience and where we create rich inner resources for ourselves.

  1. Avoid complacency

If you own a car, you know that it does not run endlessly on one tank of gas.  You have to continue filling the tank.

Do not expect a miracle of endless fuel.  As the driver of that vehicle, you will need to fill up often and service it regularly.  Failure to do so results in a speedy demise of the engine.

The same is true for our lives.  When we become complacent, we die.  The process may not be instantaneous, more often it is a slow rot, so please avoid this horrible demise by remaining vigilant and embracing tips 1-4 above constantly.

Complacency is a dead-end street, don’t travel down it!

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