Find Your ‘Or Else!’ Factor…or else!

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In my fickle twenties, I was someone who bounced from one random side-project to another.

In 2003, I wanted to set up my own Kung Fu school (yes, really), then a few years later I wanted to be a fiction writer, then a fitness instructor. By 2013 I wanted to start a Green Living business.  

It was all pie in the sky.
I kept getting distracted by the next shiny idea. ‘Wow this sounds like fun,’ I'd think, and ‘What if I set up a business doing this?’ We’ve all been there.

Unsurprisingly, very little happened during these years apart from a lot of chat and boring my wife senseless. I read The 4-Hour Workweek three times and still, nothing changed.

The reason nothing changed is because I had nothing to lose. I always had an alternative to fall back on (my day job in marketing which paid well enough) and so I didn’t need to push myself to change anything.

But as humans, we are loss-averse, meaning the fear of losing something motivates us far more than the thought of gaining something.

So that’s why I needed to find my 'Or Else!' Factor. Otherwise I was going to stay in my marketing day job.

What do I mean by an 'Or Else!' Factor?
An ‘Or Else!’ Factor helps you focus on your number one priority in life: the one thing that you don’t want to lose. Doing this will help you turn your ideas and dreams into a real-life business and lifestyle.

You need to ask yourself: ‘I must do xyz, OR ELSE I won’t get to do xyz.’  That is, if you fail to do something in your life, the worst scenario will happen.

In my case, my ‘Or Else!’ Factor was a lifestyle choice when my daughter was born.
It was: 'I need to quit commuting to London five days a week and stop working long marketing agency hours, OR ELSE I won't see enough of my little girl growing up.

Time goes too fast and I’ll be on that train day in, day out, missing her waking up and going to sleep. That's where life happens, the little chats, the bedtime stories.

The picture below is the plan I set out for the next three months, where I listed my priorities. (A couple of them are repeated because it was early in the morning and I hadn’t had a cuppa) The white arrow shows my number one priority.


Focussing on my number one priority (my 'Or Else!' Factor) motivates me every single day, because I am afraid of losing something. In my case, seeing my daughter grow up – time that I know I’ll never get back.

What’s more, it has stopped me chasing nutty pipe dreams like being the next Bruce Lee, so my wife will be pleased.

So what’s your ‘Or Else!’ Factor?

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