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5 Deep Life Lessons Batteries Taught Me

June 2017 | By Youssef Sleiman
They don’t talk. Yet, batteries make profound statements all the time. Here’s what I heard after four years with batteries.

Batteries are everywhere – in your pocket, on your keys, in your kitchen junk drawer, on cranes, in cars, on Mars, and in the pyramids (well,maybe.)

They’re the silent partner in our ever-accelerating lives. Have you ever thought about what they could teach you?

At Interstate Batteries, we’re up to our brain cells in battery cells, car batteries, AAs, lithium-ion and any other kind of trustworthy source of power. We talk a lot about batteries. We know they’re not most vocal, active or even visually interesting things out there. But if you pay attention, they might teach you deep lessons about life.

Here are five that charged us up.

1. Life Has Positives and Negatives

Come on. You had to expect something like this.

Life has positives and negatives, ups and downs, easy times and low times, etc. And there’s an appropriate time for everything. (Check out Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes.)

Is your life unduly pressed one way or another? Too much positive? All negative? Make a conscious effort to exhibit the right thing at the right time. Comfort people who need to be comforted. Laugh when there’s laughter. Commiserate, empathize and uplift. It’s not easy, though.

There’s no finer social skill than studying the present and engaging with it. And that means accepting both ends of the battery.

2. You Must Recharge

Speaking of obvious, here’s a piece of advice every battery knows – but most of us ignore.

A battery may be full of power at the start of a day. When you run it all the way down, there’s no more energy, no more get-up-and-go, no more oomph – until you recharge it.

Just like you.

You need a good night’s sleep, a party with friends, a quiet lunch or 20 minutes to do whatever you need to recharge. The analogy runs deeper.

When you continuously run a battery down, either by leaving your car’s glove box light on or letting your cellphone battery hit 0%, you could harm the battery’s ability to store more electricity. And continuously running yourself until you’re empty can leave you with more down days than up. 

That applies to your skills, too. Here's how author Ernest Hemingway took this battery life lesson to heart.

“I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing; but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

 Bottom line: Recharge yourself – and prevent recurring exhaustion.

3. Clean Your Connections Every So Often

Okay, follow me on this. You know that corrosion on your car battery? This leftover grit comes between a good battery and a good commute. One morning, your car won’t start. It’s not the battery. It’s the build-up of corrosion so thick that the electricity can’t jump from the battery post to the wires right beside it.

And ain’t that just like you?

We’re busy. Places to go. Kids to drop off. Classes to take. Parties to plan. Errands to run. Projects to finish. And with so much going on, who’s got time to smile?

Human beings thrive on connections. If you’re too busy as a human doing, you’re going to lose your spark.

To clean off your human connection, offer a genuine compliment. Buy her flowers. Write him a thank you. You answer 300 emails a day, so surely you can intentionally trade-off to write a 300-word letter for your grandma.

Give your valued connections a little TLC. You’ll see more energy pass through those relationships, just because you cleaned a little corrosion off.

4. Turn It On

We value authenticity. I know I do. “Keep it real. Shoot straight. Yeah, but what do you really mean?” 

And the effort we put forth to impress someone may feel fake, right?

Let me ask you this. What’s the natural state of an engine: on or off? You can’t leave an engine running all the time, yet it’s designed for the key to turn. Batteries are the answer. It’s both.

Demonstrating social graces, etiquette and wit to impress a client, mother-in-law or a complete stranger isn’t a betrayal of your inner self. You’re a social person, designed to interact and mature with others.

“Turning on the charm” still reveals the authentic you. It’s just a dynamic, 100-horsepower and 800-amp you.

Use the energy you’ve got.

5. Everyone Has a Size and Power

Batteries come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, voltages, terminal types, reserve capacity, and cranking amps. They’re all engineered to perform under specific conditions and achieve certain tasks.

So are you.

No other person on the planet is you. No one else sees what your eyes see, feel what your fingers feel or interpret others’ words the way you do. You’re the only you we’ve got.

Sure, like a good battery, you can handle most of the tasks the world puts to you. Good.

Now, go find the unique capacity, unique fit, unique power you offer to the world. We need it. Just as a car is a pile of gears, oil and fiberglass until a battery brings it to life, your co-workers and neighbors need what you offer to get things really moving.

When you match your unique gifts with the world’s unique needs, it’s powerful.

What Have You Learned from Batteries?

Got a lesson of your own? We’d love to hear it and share it with our community. Email us at

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