Why is today so much harder than yesterday?

Adam | Good Jobs | 7 Minute Read

Why is today so much harder than yesterday?

Adam | Good Jobs | 7 Minute Read
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It is not just you whose motivation, energy and enjoyment levels fluctuate on a daily basis. You’re human. Your body is designed for survival – not building a career or company. There’ll always be a bit of sync work to be done.

The first point of call in getting back to your best is noting a constant state of fluctuation (hour-to-hour and week-to-week) is normal. Understanding the reasons for the fluctuation (we’ll come on to this later), accepting them when you can’t do anything about them, and making the change required when you can is true empowerment.  

The second thing to note is that responding to these fluctuations and your need to find more motivation should be understood, by you, in relation to your ambition levels.

Reality check. Ambition is not necessarily a good thing. It is just a thing. It often brings success so people associate it with being favourable however it also brings a lot of failure and dissatisfaction. Ambition is simply an arbitrary characteristic used for motivation purposes, but because of its cultural mystique, people often credit themselves as being more ambitious than they truly are.

Our economy today allows pretty much anyone to be a founder / run their own business and people gravitate towards it because wanting to define your life’s narrative is very human; and yet, NOT everyone is very ambitious. And the cold fact is that business owners who are not that ambitious do not end up being Steven Bartlett or Elon Musk. 

And you need to be honest with yourself about your ambition levels. Starting with one question – what are you willing to sacrifice for your success?

Not so ambitious: Seeking comfort in your life wherever possible.

A little ambitious: Like the sound of being ambitious but favour doing your most ambitious tasks tomorrow.

Ambitious: You’re willing to work hard and stay dedicated to one thing but you’re not looking to give up the things you love to chase what you don’t have.

Hyper ambitious: Willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to prove your mission.

Remember none of those is bad or good. The key is being honest with yourself about where you are.

Often the answer to increasing energy, motivation and satisfaction is just to put less pressure on yourself. No need to be like Elon Musk if you’re more of a cute sloth; slurping-a-pina-colada-on-the-beach-kinda-person.

If you’re someone who values your down time and fun over making money or being hyper-successful, that is fine. In fact, it's more than fine – it’s great. You’re working out who you are and what’s important to you! Of course, it comes with some financial and opportunity downsides but you can always work on your ambition levels if you’re unhappy with the trade-offs. 

How? In a word, exercise. The link between movement and neuron development, creativity and will power is irrefutable. If you want to become more ambitious, more productive and find more satisfaction with your work, then one easy hack is to regularly exercise. Go for a big walk, go for a run, do some stretching, play a sport; whatever is accessible. 

If you’re someone like me who needs vices and on a sad day you gravitate towards KFC, Netflix or sex – then trust me, exercise becomes a vice that really adds value. (This is a conversation for another day.)

In short, accept who you are, and also who you aren’t. It’ll help.

The next thing required to get you back to the motivated version of you again is to have a framework that can help you make sense of the ridiculous phenomenon that is being human. 

I’ll share two with you that have worked for me without fail for nearly 15 years. 

1. My Maslow's Hierarchy Checkpoint

If you’re not familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in short it’s a pyramid-like scale that defines what humans need to live successfully. The basic premise is that you can’t climb up the pyramid without the base below being  secure. 

My slight tweak suggests that:

Most fundamentally you need your health. Once you have that you need your security (E.g. A home, money, the NHS). Then you need healthy relationships (romantic, friends, family) and you need the people around you to be proud of what you do. Finally you need to be proud of yourself. See above

The trick to using the “checkpoint” is to follow this formula:

  1. Figure out the (lowest) most fundamental point within the hierarchy that’s causing you unhappiness.
  2. Revert to the section below that and spend some conscious moments (10-15 mins taking some breaths) appreciating what you have in this section.
  3. Once finished, move back up to the section where you’re feeling unhappy and write a plan of how you’re going to actively fix your issues.
  4. Execute said plan. 

For example, 

  1. I’m unhappy about my relationships. My friend and I have been arguing about something, and I’ve not spoken to my family in weeks.
  2. Revert to Security, appreciate that I have a good monthly income and a home with a really nice bed! I love where I live and I have enough opportunities to go out and play football this weekend and have a holiday booked in a month. 
  3. I’m going to call my mother, my sister and my dad this afternoon. I’m also going to write a message to my friend about how I’m feeling, and apologise for my part.
  4. Execute point 3.

Note - You can not seek enjoyment and solace in the upper echelons if you have more fundamental issues to face. So don’t waste time caring about them. Rather, focus your energy on fixing the most fundamental stuff first! 

When doing this regularly, you’ll get used to pouring your energy into the most valuable places that will allow you the space to go and do great things like build a business!

2) 33/33/33

  1. You should spend a third of your life upskilling: being coached, mentored, learning, reading, taking lessons. 
  1. You should spend a third of your life sharing your skills: coaching, mentoring, teaching, writing, imparting wisdom or insight.
  1. You should spend a third of your life stress-testing what you’ve learned in non-theoretical environments: competing and creating.

Think about which of these 3 things you’ve been doing the least recently and get on it.

Have you been consuming too much content? Time to teach! Have you been listening to the sound of your own voice too much, maybe pick up a new topic, or book a sewing lesson!

The key here is to be conscious about balancing consumption with creation, and balancing your expertise with humility. 

If becoming a mentor sounds scary. It doesn't need to be official or structured. Just spend some time sharing your wisdom and insight with people who could use it. If you can’t directly share it with individuals, then write. Write and consider posting a blog. This can also be very useful.

That’s all, folks.

If you want to get in touch, I have lots more tips and tricks for staying motivated, or not giving a fuck when it’s time to relax. You can reach me on Linked here.

Final thought. If you're not excited about where you’re going, and you’re not enjoying how you’re getting there – you probably need to put your focus and energy into making changes. 

With love, 


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