There’s no doubt, winters can challenge us. Our post holiday slump combined with shorter days and lower energy levels can leave us feeling a little off our game… and that’s normal.
But some people are not only off their game, their completely out of the game. They go through life barely making it week to week, surviving, but not thriving, and wondering what happened to the person they used to be– the one who was full of life and excited about the future. I’ll tell you what’s happened, they’ve lost their Mo-Jo and they don’t even know it!!
If you Google the word, Mo-Jo, some interesting definitions come out of pop culture with social references alluding to certain magical powers, a charming effect or sexual prowess that makes someone seem especially attractive, successful and effective. In the way the word is used, one might assume that only certain people have Mo-Jo and others don’t, but I would argue that everyone has it, but not everyone has it turned on!
Mo-Jo is a combination of whatever Motivates us and as a result creates within us a state of Joy. Your Motivation + Your Joy = Mo-Jo!
Mo-Jo is the formula you need to maintain a certain level of satisfaction and happiness with life. When we feel motivated, we feel useful, valuable and on purpose, which all lead to bursts of joy and happiness for our accomplishments and even our day to day efforts. Feeling motivated by something makes us want to get up in the morning because we have something we feel compelled to do. In that way, the future feels hopeful and positive. When someone is in a motivated and joyful state, they naturally seem more attractive, successful, positive and energetic. There’s nothing more appealing than a soul on fire, motivated to live out their purpose!
But without motivation, we fall into depression. We feel that we have nothing important to look forward to, nothing to contribute. When our souls, the source of our motivation, get placed on “off duty” status, we walk around life feeling pretty empty. Studies have shown that long term depression leads to anxiety, weight gain, and apathy, which when combined create a downward spiral that’s hard to get out of.
If you know you’ve lost your Mo-Jo, you need to make it a priority to recover it. I can’t help thinking about the lengths Austin Powers was willing to go to in getting his Mo-Jo back. We all got a laugh from his antics, but the importance of protecting our Mo-Jo can’t be overrated. In fact, it’s probably the single most predictor for long term health and happiness in our lives. So I’ve made a list of the top Mo-Jo thieves and some tips on taking them to the mat.
- Working a dead end job that you hate – No one is motivated when they can barely get themselves out of bed in the morning to face a future that looks bleak. All the common responses, whining, complaining, blaming and victimizing yourself won’t get you your Mo-Jo back. Taking a stand for your future, accepting responsibility for your job choice, and making some effort (no matter how small) to move into something new will light a spark under your defeated attitude. If you can’t quit your current job right away, get clear about what inspires and motivates you and do it part time, on the side, volunteer if you have to! Practice whatever motivates you and its presence in your life will grow – if nothing else, you’ll have a reason to get out of bed!
- Working no job at all – On the flip side, I’ve met too many people who have lost a job and now claim they can’t find anything comparable in their field. The job positions they are searching through all seem “beneath them.” But in my experience, unemployment is beneath everyone! Anyone who is not making a contribution to society feels pretty useless to themselves. Also, a human in action is more attractive as a potential candidate for the “right” job than one who is doing nothing. My advice- take any job at all and say a prayer that it leads you to the next one as fast as possible. Who knows, your perfect purpose and highest motivation might begin with pushing a broom in a place and with people you least expected.
- Staying in a relationship that’s bad or all wrong for you – Let’s face it, lots of us stay in bad relationships through the holidays because it’s better than being alone for these special events. But now that they’re over, living a lie with the wrong person can make us feel even worse than going solo. Being tied to someone with whom you see no future will cause you to put your own future plans on hold as well. In a situation like this, there’s nothing to look forward to. You feel stalled and resentment sets in. You spend a lot of energy blaming the other person when in reality, it’s time to move on and focus on the things that make you feel unique and whole as a person. No one wants a half hearted soul as a partner anyway. Make a decision to deal with the mess and break it off. A doorway to the future will open and things will feel brighter almost right away.
- Getting stuck in the past – Whether it’s a relationship, a job or physical state you are mourning, hanging on to the past can prevent us from feeling capable of fully living the life we have today. I agree that it takes time to heal and due diligence with our hearts can’t be replaced with a “smile and move on” attitude. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that your feelings and thoughts are preoccupied with the past and then make efforts to also engage in things and with people that provide a sense of purpose and value today. The balance will shift eventually if you make an effort to open your heart to a new possible future and a new sense of who you can be.
- Addictions – Replacing your motivation with too many artificial substitutes on a regular basis (daily) will steal your Mo-Jo and flush it down the toilet. Getting drunk every night, staying high all day, sexual rants and regular drug use give you temporary feelings of good and make you think you don’t need anything else in your life to motivate you. The trouble is, when you come down, you’re left feeling more depressed than ever. You can’t wait until the moment you can party again, making your life in between feel like hell. You keep saying that tomorrow something will happen to make it better, but the truth is, you’ve lost your will power and agency to do anything about it. You’ve placed it all in the hands of your addiction. Nothing will get better until you quit and take back control of your life. Just do it.
- Carrying a heavy debt load – The burden of debt can seem terminal. With interest accruing every month, it grows and grows. Carrying debt can easily make you feel less than everyone else because we emotionally subtract our debt from our inherent value when we feel like we can’t repay it. We feel resentment toward our debt because it never seems to go away. I know, I once got myself in way over my head and it took years to erase the outstanding balance. I did it by cutting up my credit cards and focusing on what it would feel like to live free from debt. When I focused on that feeling it kept me motivated to chip away at the financial decisions I’d made. Every payment I made was going toward my freedom and that allowed me to allocate more than I would have imagined to my debt free life!
- Long-term illness or injury – I’m a little out of my league on this one because I’ve not experienced it directly, only indirectly. My mother was terminally ill for years and I witnessed her struggle with her feelings of value and purpose. She didn’t have a lot to give, only her love and affection. She didn’t really know how valuable that was to each of us, but it kept us going through the years when life’s toughest challenges were hitting us hard. There were times I wanted her to focus more on her own life and healing, but she was motivated more by seeing us happy and successful. She’d long given up hope for having anything else meaningful in her life and that made me sad for her. Acceptance for being knocked out of the game by our physical state when we had “other plans” in mind can be tough. It can’t be easy to let go and ask God to reveal what’s next for us, but what other choice is there?
Losing your Mo-Jo, although it seems quite personal, also affects everyone around you. I know people living with a combination of several of the above issues and I’m going to be honest, I avoid them like the plague. They carry around a “Black Death” kind of aura, so heavy they leave everyone in their wake feeling like shit too. Don’t be that person everyone avoids. If you’re not excited about the future, motivated by something, figure out what’s blocking you and take action to stop it. It’s your life – make it matter.
Thanks all for reading – Happy Wintering Over… what seeds will you sow for the Spring?