1-Sentence-Summary: The Energy Bus is a fable that will help you create positive energy with ten simple rules and make it the center of your life, work, and relationships.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Table of Contents
Did you know that one of the most common times when people commit suicide is 9 AM on a Monday? Sadly, it seems like the start of yet another workweek is what drives some over the edge when they already feel like they can’t handle life anymore.
Luckily, circumstances aren’t quite so dire for most of us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes go through a serious rough patch. Jon Gordon once did. He struggled at work, his team was imploding, and, due to all the stress, his family life was falling apart too. After being fired from his job at a dot-com startup, his wife even asked him where the man was that she married!
But instead of throwing his hands up in despair, Jon then decided to sit with that question. He thought about his life, motivation, and purpose. And then it came to him that he wanted to write and speak. Having no time to lose, he immediately got to work.
Three inspired weeks later, he finished the manuscript for The Energy Bus. And while it would be a long time before the book became the bestseller it is today, that was the real beginning of his journey.
Here are 3 lessons from the book to help you start yours:
- You must reclaim the driver’s seat of your life. You can do so with the E + P = O formula.
- To inspire others to support your journey, be enthusiastic. It’s contagious.
- Always do your best to love people by listening to them, showing empathy, and commending their work.
Are you ready for a ride into positivity? Then here’s your one-way ticket for The Energy Bus!
The Energy Bus Summary
Lesson 1: Take control of your life with the E + P = O formula.
The hero of this story is George. He works at a light bulb company and is in a similarly negative situation Jon was in several years ago. Worse, one Monday, his car breaks down and he finds out that, for the next two weeks, he’ll have to take the bus. What he doesn’t know is that from the moment he gets on, his life is about to change.
The bus driver, Joy, is committed to unleashing the positive energy in every single one of her passengers. To do so, she shares ten rules with everyone on the bus. The first few are about regaining control over your life if you feel you’ve lost it. Since positive energy is the only proper fuel for a good journey, which is the third rule, we should focus on the upside of everything, Joy says.
She shares the E + P = O formula with George, which means that energy plus perception equals outcome. And if your perception is positive, you’ll always have a positive outcome. This is similar to the Stoic idea of ‘amor fati,’ which means to love your fate, no matter what it brings. It’s the difference between thinking life happens to you and life happens for you.
You can’t control everything that happens, but you can control what you believe about what happens. If you focus on gratitude, solving problems, and learning new things, you’ll always come out on top.
Lesson 2: Humans can sense enthusiasm from a distance and it’s what gets people on your bus.
The seventh rule is that enthusiasm is what’ll get other people to join you on your ride on the bus and motivate them as you travel through life. The word is originally Greek – entheos – and means “to be filled with the divine.”
Joy tells George that he is the CEO of his bus and life – the Chief Energy Officer. It’s on him to spread his positive energy to as many people as possible. And when your good energy is sincere, that’s easier than you’d think. If you’ve ever heard a friend rave about some product, event, or person, you know how easy it is to get caught in the wave.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Over thousands of centuries, humans have evolved to understand emotions from afar. One example is our body language. Jon also quotes a study that showed our heart has its own electromagnetic field, and the waves it sends can be sensed by others, even if they’re up to ten feet away!
So don’t just look for the positive, share it with others. We don’t always have a great day, but whenever we do, it’s a chance to spread good vibes and inspire those around us.
Lesson 3: Love people. Make time to listen, recognize them as individuals, and appreciate their accomplishments.
Every day he takes the bus, George learns a little more about life and becomes slightly more positive. Near the end of his journey, he’s rallying his team to work together and deliver a great product launch presentation, hoping they’ll catch his renewed spirit.
The way he does this, and the way you should treat everyone who gets on your bus, is by loving them. As humans, we all have a deep-seated need for appreciation from other humans. Love fulfills this need, but it doesn’t always have to be the romantic, cheesy kind. Here are the three things Joy tells George to do for and with his team:
- Meet people one-on-one, make time, and listen.
- Practice empathy and show people you realize they, too, are just humans.
- Recognize individual accomplishments and highlight people’s contributions.
These are things you can do with any person you meet, be it someone at work, a date, or your closest family. If you do, you’ll soon have plenty of great company on your bus ride of life!
The Energy Bus Review
The Energy Bus is based on an idea that’s as old as language itself: stories move people. What I like about this one, in particular, is that it’s one continuous metaphor, not research sprinkled with the occasional example. The concepts are simple, but the way Jon presents them really makes me want to give them a try. He sure lives what he speaks!
Who would I recommend The Energy Bus summary to?
The 25 year old college student about to graduate, who feels lost in life, the 58 year old manager, who’s burned out and lost sight of his purpose at work, and anyone who’s currently going through a major slump.