How to get your mojo back
Meee founder Sid Madge reveals how we can change the way we think to improve our motivation, productivity and achieve happiness.
By Sid Madge
It can be hard to maintain our own internal motivation when we’re exposed to so many external sources of news.
Scrolling through a lot of depressing or anxiety-provoking stories on social media can make it quite a challenge to access our mojo! However, much of what we feel is actually a decision we make, though this can be an unconscious decision.
Or so suggests ancient wisdom which dates back to Greek and Roman philosophy. But it seems this way of thinking has been confirmed in more recent times, too. In fact, a great deal of the science around positive psychology and happiness has its roots in ancient philosophy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – largely drawn from the teaching of Socrates – considers the origin of mental disorder, including a lack of motivation or absence of ‘mojo’, to lie not in brain chemistry but in our irrational beliefs. Epictetus, the Roman Stoic philosopher, famously said: ‘Men are not disturbed by things, but by their opinions about them.’
I’ve written three Meee in a Minute books on ‘micro-moments’ for life, work and family. Micro-moments offer us a quick, practical way to change our opinions about things and, as a result, change how we feel, the outcome and even our life.
Practice your ABCs
Albert Ellis, one of the founders of CBT, created his ABC model which is helpful when we are having a wobble or feeling demotivated. It’s a useful guide to regaining control over thoughts and feelings, so we can better access our best self – including plenty of mojo.
A is for activating event.
B is our beliefs that interpret that event and construct meaning.
C is the consequence – especially the emotional consequence.
The next time something happens, or you feel stressed by some news or situation, take a moment to notice what you’ve made it mean – what we make something mean is not the only meaning on offer. If we fail a test, should we make it mean we are useless? Or should we make it mean that we need to do more work? Practise your ABCs.
Make a decision to be happy
I’m always reading. For me, books are like journeys I can take without leaving home. They have been a source of joy and a real lifeline during the pandemic. One of my recent favourites is Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul, and in it he asks a really great question: do you want to be happy? Yes or no? If it’s ‘yes’, then what do you need to change to be happy?
Motivation is tough to access when we are miserable, so take a moment to really think about and answer that question. We all know people who seem to be happiest when they are miserable, but if you are not one of them, decide to be happy and do what you need to do to make space for happiness. If you do, your motivation will also increase.
There is nothing more powerful than a changed mind.
Aim for 1%
When we are in a slump or finding it hard to get motivated, the tendency is to pursue an all-or-nothing approach. If we have been struggling to get in shape, we might decide to run 10K straight out the blocks, or perhaps dedicate a fortnight’s exercise to sprinting as fast as we can. This strategy is the worst thing we can do. Instead, start small and aim to be 1% better tomorrow than you are today.
This approach is much more viable and is much more likely to produce the desired effect, as long as we remain consistent. It also allows us to tap into the concept of flourishing. Flourishing also has its roots in ancient philosophy – this time, from Aristotle. Essentially, it’s the idea of engaging our highest drives to develop ourselves to the highest level. Take a moment to consider one thing you would like to change and focus on improving that by 1% every day. No heroics necessary.
What is it NOT?
If you are struggling to find your mojo and you’ve checked down the back of the couch and it’s definitely not there, then a good way to track it down is to work out what it’s not.
Like so much about our life, the outcome is massively influenced by our state of mind. Take a moment to turn your lack of motivation on its head. Instead of wondering what’s happened or why you suddenly feel so flat and unenthusiastic, go in the other direction. Make a list of the things that DO NOT motivate you. If it’s easier, consider what DOES NOT make you happy. The two are inextricably linked.
Sometimes, it helps to focus on what we know we don’t want and won’t do as a way to gain clarity about how to regain our mojo.
One of the most powerful mind tricks that I employ each day is the gratitude ritual. I’m not perfect at it and I don’t always remember to do it, but the idea is to start and end the day with three things that I’m grateful for.
Consider tacking the process onto an existing habit so you don’t forget. For example, as you are cleaning your teeth night and morning, use that time to also bring to mind three things, people, situations or whatever you are grateful for in your life. Try to come up with different things rather than the same few each time. And don’t just list them like a weekly shopping list. Really connect to that gratitude as an emotion. Remember, it’s not happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy.
You’ll have spotted that all these ‘micro-moment’ suggestions focus on helping you change your meaning or choose a better frame or belief through which to view the circumstances of your life. Whatever is happening in the world around us, we need to stay motivated and positive. Making these little changes to your thinking can make a huge difference to you as you regain your mojo.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise), which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in a Minute’ series of books, which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work, or family life in 60 seconds.
For more information about the Meee enterprise, visit the website
For more information about the Meee books, visit their website