Understanding the MOJO concept and its major qualities from Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith has been a real game-changer in terms of attitudes and behavior in hundreds of executives around the world. His book "MOJO" has many good thoughts and ideas, and there are some major elements of MOJO as well, that is worth considering for real growth and personality development of anyone. In the fist of this five article series, an attempt is made to look at the concept of MOJO and its major qualities.


Marshall Goldsmith has the remarkable ability to make complex matters simple. His concept of MOJO is no exception. His book "MOJO" is an exceptionally good piece of work. This book is available in paperback editions too. It has been published by Hachette India. This 200-page book is a real eye-opener in terms of knowledge applicable to any human being. This article refers to the paper-back edition and all quotes refer to this version only.

According to Marshall Goldsmith, MOJO is "that positive spirit toward what we are doing now, that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside". He goes on to explain the keywords in the definition. "Positive spirit is unambiguous. It's a feeling of optimism and satisfaction. It conveys both happiness and meaning".(page 18)

On the same page, he clarifies that "Toward what we are doing focuses us on the fact that we are dealing with an activity or a task, as opposed to a state of mind or a situation". And here comes the big clarification, "When we are measuring our Mojo, we do so in the immediate present, not in the recent past or vague future".(page 19)

Let us take two examples of well-known examples of public figures, who are established cricketers, and achievers in their own right. One can easily watch videos of their actions when they had displayed many Mojo moments. The first one is M.S. Dhoni, who inspires millions to this day. Dhoni is indeed one who has a real MOJO. His ability to remain cool under the most difficult circumstances, for example, has been well documented and is now available in hundreds of articles, videos, and even youtube collections. He has almost singularly contributed to the splendid success of the most well known and celebrated IPL side in India, called the Chennai Superkings. When Dhoni was the Test Captain, his record was second to none, in terms of positivity and the entire energy that would flow on the field.

Another example of a shrewd cricketing brain that has produced some of the most outstanding spells of off-spin bowling in the world, belongs to Ravichandran Ashwin, among the best of world-class spinners in the world. He would exhibit the highest levels on MOJO on the filed and the various commentators had often talked about his variations and the positivity that he brings to the table. He has been instrumental in many memorable India wins, particularly in India.

Major Qualities of MOJO

Irrespective of who we are, or our present position, it is always essential that we develop all the MOJO qualities mentioned above. This is particularly true of the tough conditions that now prevail in the economy.

In this article, we will look at five major qualities that go to define the MOJO in the first place. We then proceed to differentiate this from NOJO-- the exact opposite of MOJO. The various qualities of MOJO, and the opposite of NOJO,in each case, according to Marshall Goldsmith, are:" Take responsibility: play the victim; Move forward: March in place; Run the extra mile: satisfied with the bare minimum; Love doing it: feel obligated to do it; Appreciate opportunities: tolerate requirements; make the best of it: endure it; Inspirational: Painful to be around; Grateful: Resentful; Curious:Uninterested; Caring: Uninterested, Caring: Indifferent; Zest for life: Zombie-like; Awake: Asleep.

Of the above, we will take the five major qualities for discussion. They are: take responsibility, Run the extra mile, Love doing it, Appreciate opportunities and Zest for life.

Take responsibility

It is easy to understand the utility of this MOJO quality. We can easily see it in many bank managers. Those who have a positive MOJO will be seen to be motivating their subordinates quite well. The visible teamwork in the bank branches will enable customers to transact business quickly. Similarly, we have often observed that some good teachers in schools, even ordinary Government schools, even spend their own funds to make a big difference. Their act of self-sacrifice brings in a lot of private funds and donations in both cash and kind. Every moment of their lives is a MOJO moment.

Run the extra mile

This is another MOJO aspect. Even in public places like the shopping malls, we often notice salesmen who do a little bit extra. They would do parts of the job they are not normally expected to. For example, they would readily engage a small child from the family. Quite naturally, the child will run around and ransack a few things. He or she might even pull certain things from the shelves. By engaging with such a child, the salesperson would have even closed a sale, as the parents would have had time to see how a particular garment like a ready-made shirt fits them and so on; this process of making the entire atmosphere lively is a very good mojo quality. On the shop floors of several TVS group companies, contract employees would voluntarily input the SAP data and stay beyond working hours to solve some practical problems. These are typical instances of this vital MOJO quality at work.

Even at home, our wives do this, with monotonous regularity. When she cooks up a dish that we like and what our children like, that is her MOJO moment. When she wins appreciation for her work, that is her MOJO moment. When this repeats itself, the MOJO becomes a habit. The positivity spreads all over. Questions such as "what can be done now?" are tossed around as a routine. Obviously, the MOJO moments are infectious and the positivity spreads to others too.

Love doing it

This is another MOJO quality. Those with good MOJO qualities love themselves. Their jobs and whatever they do. They take on additional responsibilities. Even in marriages, they do love whatever they are assigned to do, and also love doing it. In a particular marriage, for instance, this author noticed the maternal uncle of the girl doing everything. He would run around, welcoming every single relative on either side. He would run to the large kitchen, checking the quality of the food being prepared. He would go around the main hall on the early morning of the actual wedding ensuring that the pandits are well prepared and all the arrangements for the rituals to take place are perfect.

Similarly, he also ensured that he had a group of volunteers, to run around and ensure that each guest was served whatever he or she asked for. The entire atmosphere became so happy. The best part of the whole thing was that this gentleman did not bother a bit to even listen to any appreciation that came from so many people. "It's my pleasure" was all that he said.

Appreciate opportunities

Look at the vada pav sellers on the pavements leading to every major railway station in Mumbai. Look at how they do business. They are always so brisk, always serving customers so fast. Those who rush to their offices are brisk too. They always look for opportunities. It is a fact of life that they make several thousands of profit every day. Similarly, the entrepreneurs of Coimbatore city can always be seen to appreciate any opportunity to do business. There is one YouTube video showing a couple of engineering graduates doing a good job of running a vegetarian restaurant in a suburb. They have had the right location for the business. It is a suburb where there are many good colleges. Hundreds of students study in those colleges and look around for food at any point in time. They are happy customers in this hotel, that also prepares a number of organic food items at reasonable prices. The entire city is full of such people, who exhibit the highest level of positivity. Their MOJO is infectious.

Zest for life

We often see this in many a cinema actor. Nothing comes free in life. It involves a massive amount of hard work. Of tolerance for the ambiguity and of being able to put up with any difficulty in the course of the work. For a particular movie, it was said that the Tamil superstar, Rajnikant, had to endure with a particular make up that extended up to sixteen hours. The particular makeup would itch him every single moment, but the superstar did not utter a single word. He is also known as one actor who would sleep on the floor and not make any issue of it.

The zest for life is often seen in such people. It is also seen in hundreds of hardworking servant maids, who do all their work with a smile and endure all insults or hardships. Their MOJO moments are plenty and it often gets reflected in the quality of their work. We indeed have a lot to learn from such humble people.


The concept of MOJO is quite simple. The qualities Marshall Goldsmith talks about are also simple and direct. We should always develop MOJO qualities for success in our lives.


No responses found. Be the first to comment...

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: