Feeling Low? Ask These 2 Questions To Reenergize Yourself

Lacking motivation is a natural part of being human. The task may not be enjoyable or we are just tired, and procrastinating provides an attractive escape. 

But what if there was a way to reenergize yourself when you felt low? I recently stumbled upon such a method. And it’s so simple that you only need to ask two questions:

  1. How am I feeling?
  2. What do I need?  

I discovered these questions on a gloomy Monday evening. I was four weeks into a startup accelerator and I had a ton of work to prepare for a big pitch I would hold on Wednesday. And I was so overwhelmed I just wanted to check out and collapse on my sofa. I was unsure of what the product should be. I didn’t have a clear idea of how we would make money. And I had no idea how I would put together a pitch deck to convincingly answer these questions in just two days. 

In short, my energy was about as low as it could get. 

But then I paused to ask myself:


“How am I feeling?” 

The answers came immediately: Overwhelmed. Lost. And (what surprised me)… Lonely. I was actually feeling alone with no clear sense of direction. 

You might think that naming all these negative emotions would just make me even more depressed, but it actually turned everything around! Until now, I couldn’t climb out of the hole I was stuck in, because I didn’t realize where I was stuck. It was like trying to read a map not knowing where I was on it. Naming my emotions had two benefits: 

  • It helped me realize my “emotional location”, so I could begin navigating my way back. 
  • It took the power out of the negative emotions, because now I knew what I was dealing with. I had faced loneliness many times before. I would overcome it this time again. 

The second question that then popped into my head was:


“What do I need?”


After some thinking, the answers I came up with were: To have company. To be appreciated. To feel needed. The feeling I craved was actually to be of service for others. And the best way I could be of service to others would be by working on my startup. 

Once I realized this, my motivation to throw myself back into work was completely refueled! Just 5 minutes before, working on my startup had been the last thing I wanted to do. Now, I didn’t want to do anything else. I ended up brainstorming many new ideas for both the product and revenue model, and was able to put these new insights into a great pitch deck for the big event on Wednesday.

After this event, I have begun using the two questions: 

  1. How am I feeling?
  2. What do I need?

To recharge whenever I feel low on energy. The reason these questions work so well is that they give you a roadmap. “How am I feeling” helps you realize where you are. “Who do I need?” helps you realize where you want to be. Once you know both the start and the end point on the map, the journey between them becomes clear. 

The next time your motivation hits its bottom, try asking yourself these two questions. Until you know where you are starting from and where you want to go, it’s impossible to know what you should do to recharge. But once you have these two points in place, the path forward is clear. And most often, that clarity alone will be everything you need for your motivation to come roaring back.


Pain = Gifts Why hardships is something to be embraced – because they give our lives meaning

Every one of us faces hardships and disappointments. A project we worked on for months gets derailed. The team we are in charge of keeps underperforming. A job offer we thought we had gets retracted. 

When painful experiences come, it’s easy to feel lost and to lose faith in ourselves. Just this past week, I’ve on two occasions experienced setbacks in my startup that caused me to start doubting myself. But have you ever asked yourself:

Why does reality constantly force us to face pain? 

Personally, I’ve always viewed pain as simply a “fact of life” that we have to put up with. I never considered it as anything but negative. But I’ve recently changed my mind. Whereas I used to view hardships as needless pain – I’ve now realized that painful experiences are actually gifts! 

This may sound bizarre. Why would a deeply painful experience be something to appreciate, even be grateful for? To clarify my point, imagine if the world was completely “perfect”. There are no more problems left you can solve. No opportunities you can seize to make things better. Nothing that you – and uniquely you – can contribute with. It’d just be a perfect paradise to be enjoyed. 

Is that a world you’d like to live in? Would you feel that your life had a purpose? 

My guess is that you’d answer “no”. A world that is “perfect” – where we never experience hardships or pain – may seem attractive on the surface. But it’s also a world that completely lacks meaning. And what makes life meaningful? 


Meaning comes when we feel we are needed.
When there is an empty space to make the lives of others better,
that you – and only you – can fulfill better than anyone else. 


Meaning comes from imperfection. From things not being as they should be. And realizing that we are the person to change things for the better. Pain and hardships are actually what gives us a purpose to live for. 

Not only must the world be imperfect for us to feel a sense of meaning. But it must also be hard – and sometimes even painful – to achieve the positive change we wish to make.

Imagine if you never had to struggle to get what you want. As a parent, for example, you never had to struggle to raise your child. As a friend, you never had to struggle with conflict. As an entrepreneur, you never had to struggle to build the business you envision? 

How rewarding would your “efforts” feel like? 

The fact is that if we don’t experience hardships – sometimes painful ones – there is no true effort we have to put in.

How much effort we are willing to put in is how deeply we care.  


If we never get the chance to face our fears, to push through despite the pain, we never get the chance to show the world how much we care. Never having to struggle actually robs us of the most rewarding feeling we can have; to care about something so much that we are willing to sacrifice our own comfort in order to achieve it. 


So why does reality force us to face hardships? 

Because it’s trying to teach us something. Reality actually wants us to grow. And the way we get stronger is by facing – and overcoming – hardships. Exposing us to pain is just reality’s way of saying: 

“There is a lesson you need to learn about life. Resist the lesson, and you’ll keep yourself in this pain for longer. But if you learn it, your pain will transform into joy.”

When I look back on my own life, every one of my hardships turned about to be a gift: 

  • Feeling lonely in high school? It helped me discover my purpose of building a world of more belonging.
  • Failing an exam that reduced my choices for going on an exchange? I got an even better school and friendships that I wouldn’t trade for anything. 
  • Lying to one of best friends? It taught me the value of always being authentic. 

Why pain = gifts

I still find it hard to face pain. And that’s as it should be. It can’t be painful and easy at the same time. But I now realize that pain is something to embrace and be grateful for! For three reasons: 

    1. Meaning: If there wasn’t any pain to cure in this world, and no opportunities to make a difference to others, I wouldn’t have anything to live for.  
    2. Caring: If it wasn’t hard to achieve the things that matter to me – impact and loving relationships – I could never show the world how much these things mean to me. 
    3. Growth: If I never experience setbacks, I would never get the opportunity to grow as a person. 


We can’t escape from pain. But we can choose how we relate to pain. We can choose to view it as something purely negative that we just have to suffer through. Or we can embrace it as the thing that brings our lives meaning, deepens our love for the things that matter to us, and nudges us to grow into the best version of ourselves. 

Of course, we want our lives to be better than they are now. But the joy comes from struggling to get there. Life is meant to be that way. We are meant to face pain. And we are meant to overcome it.

And that, is what makes life worth living! ☀️