Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Ephemeral Mojo

We all have our mojo days. Those days when you come in, and the day just rolls off your fingertips. Your article writes itself, your drawing jumps on the canvas, your sales calls are easy and rattle out like a machine gun. You're in the zone, and all seems possible.

Leaving aside how to get in and out of that state - which is frankly beyond the scope of not just this post but this entire blog - we recognise that often, the opposite is also true. You have NO MOJO. you come in, and your first instinct is to procrastinate. You know you should do some work, but have no idea where to start. Which book to open first to revise; which client to call or what to tell them. You are lacking in inspiration, motivation and energy. Most of those days end up producing very little.

Move The Chains

So the bad news is, there is little that you can do about this, at least as far as I know. Mojo will come and go. It is what it is. The good news is, there is a hack to make this all but irrelevant.

Here is what you must do: MOVE THE CHAINS. This is a really important concept, and powerful habit, which, once acquired, will have big and lasting compounding effects on your life. What does it mean? Well, followers of the NFL will recognise the phrase. it refers to when a football team makes a play and manages to move the ball forward a bit. It isn't an 85 yard pass; it is a 6 inch run. It is an incremental gain, possibly hard fought.

Now, here's the thing: this may not sound like much; but it is key. Those days when you have mojo are the days for the 85 yard pass. They're the days where things seem easy, and you hit the home runs. I have no advice for those days; because you don't need it. Let the mojo do the work.

On the non-mojo days, however, you must move the chains. What does this mean? It means putting one foot in front of the other, and taking one step. In writing, they say you should write something every day. Even if it is garbage, and ends up in the garbage. But you move forward, somehow. This applies to all pursuits. Figure out the simplest thing you know how to do and do it. In sales? look through your client list and find out the best one to call. Then write a list of what you might call them with. Or go through previous communications with them searching for inspiration. In sport? Go do 100 reps of whatever it is you do. You get the point - find out something you can do to move you forward - however simple - and do it. Get it so that you've done something that day. You've moved the chains.


Now, here's where the magic is. By doing this, you'll achieve two things, that wouldn't otherwise happen. One, half the time, you'll hit inspiration. You'd be amazed at how much of the time, simply moving the chains ends up in home runs. The mere act of acting ends up being disproportionately rewarded. Two, even absent this, over time, all the little steps will compound massively. Think, if you get into this habit; and move the chains a bit each and every day; over a year how much progress this will add up to.

This is one of those key habits that will turn you into a superhuman if truly adopted, from a productivity perspective. So train yourself, each and every day - move those chains.

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