Book Review: Mojo: How To Get It, How To Keep It, How To Get It Back If You Lose It By Marshall Goldsmith.

What is the one quality that differentiates truly successful people from everyone else? In his book, ‘Mojo:How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It’, author Marshall Goldsmith answers the question. He explains that truly successful people can be distinguished by the significant amount of time they spend on activities that provide meaning and happiness. He calls this attribute Mojo and believes that by cultivating it we all can create more fulfilling and successful lives. 

The book in a nutshell

According to Goldsmith, the most successful people have Mojo and he defines it as:

‘that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.’

When mojo is high, we’re in harmony and there’s no difference between the positivity with which we see ourselves and what we are doing, and how we are perceived by others. 

Mojo comprises four elements: 

  1. Identity- how we perceive ourselves.
  2. Achievement- how we value our accomplishments.
  3. Reputation- how others see us and our achievements.
  4. Acceptance– our ability to differentiate between what we can change, and what is beyond our control.

No one part of Mojo is more important than the others. Success comes down to all elements working together and by understanding how we can start to influence it.

Key Takeaways

  • Mojo is measurable and because of that we can influence and improve it. The author describes two types of Mojo: Professional Mojo, a measure of the skills and attitudes we bring to any activity, and Personal Mojo, a measure of the benefits we receive from doing a particular activity. Each of these are broken down into a number of subcategories listed on a ‘Mojo scorecard’ that can be used to measure how we are doing in each of the mojo categories. The scorecard helps us answer the following:  How much long-term benefit or meaning did I experience from this activity? How much short-term satisfaction or happiness did I experience in this activity? The answer to those two questions can help us assess whether we are working on the right things.
  • Our identity can be changed. One of the greatest barriers to changing our Mojo is our belief that we cannot alter our identity. We get stuck living out limiting beliefs of who we are when we all have the ability to create an identity, one that is not controlled by others or the past. The concept of a created identity is at the heart of Mojo and means that we choose who we want to be. We can choose bigger goals and dreams and go beyond our perceived limits. More importantly, we can bring this vision to reality, we can change to become who we want to be. 
  • The most powerful achievements are the ones that fuel both professional and personal Mojo. In other words, what we do is appreciated by others but also makes us feel good about ourselves. This ensures that we don’t just judge our achievements by someone else’s measure of success but also assess it’s value based on how we feel about it. We can increase our Mojo by focusing on goals that truly matter to us while letting go of those that don’t bring meaning or fulfilment.
  • A poor reputation can make keeping Mojo an uphill struggle but we can change it. By stringing together a series of consistent corrective actions we can start to rebuild a damaged reputation but it won’t happen overnight.
  • We kill our Mojo when we refuse to let go of what we cannot change. Acceptance is key as it focuses our minds on what we can influence and liberates us from railing at what we can’t. When we carry around resentment and anger it can only weigh us down and deprive us of Mojo.
  • We must learn to discern when it’s time to change our situation or change ourselves. Mojo is a function of the relationship between who we are and our situation. Often we believe we are powerless in a situation, unable to change it when the key is to look within. We always have the power to change ourselves and how we relate to a situation. A quick way to kill Mojo is when we waste time trying to change a situation when we should be changing something about ourselves.

Who this book is for

If you’re ready to start cultivating Mojo then this book will show you how. The author provides a number of tools aimed at helping us improve in all areas. 

Are you struggling to define and shape your identity? There are tools to help you clarify your goals and create a sense of purpose. They will help you select your criteria for a successful life as well as define the short-term versus long-term benefits you desire. 

Do you want to achieve more? There are tools to help you overcome inertia to get started and keep going consistently. 

Is a poor reputation holding you back? Tools are provided to help you identify the problem and rebuild your reputation over time.

Do you struggle to deal with areas in your life that you can’t control? The tools will help you identify what is really within your control. They will teach you how to change what you can and let go of what you can’t.

Final Thoughts

I love the concept of Mojo. It conjures up feelings of confidence and positivity, the image of someone who is successful and happy. Who wouldn’t want to live like that? If Mojo really is a route to a happier and more meaningful life then this book provides a blueprint.

It shows us how to create and cultivate success by deciding who we want to be and taking action to make it a reality. It gives us the tools to make the changes we want one small step at a time. Mojo isn’t a one and done type of book but one you will go back to time and time again.

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