Jul 11, 2021 | How Do We Build Value in the Job Market? Alfred Adler's Theory and How You Can Profit From It

no motivation to work? the odyssey model

Do You Feel No Motivation To Work?

Do you feel that you currently have no motivation to work? That despite your strong work ethic, you don’t have the inspiration and energy to do your best? Or, you feel that despite the amount of work and dedication that you put into your career every single day, the results are below your expectations? And, as a result, you are undervalued by your employers and/or clients?

We all have those transient phases in our careers when we feel down, and we lack enthusiasm for what we do. It is perfectly normal. However, what to do when you feel no motivation to work for months or even years? Perhaps, it is because you made suboptimal choices in your career management. And, despite your strong work ethic, you found yourself in a position in which you don’t build as much value in your environment as you would build with the same skills and mindset but in another place, and in other circumstances if the position was more suited to your natural potential. This is where the classic theories of human motivation come in handy (Fig. 1).

Learning About the Roots of Human Motivation Will Help You in Career Management

Sigmund Freud was a pioneer in researching the roots of human motivation. According to Freud, people are primarily driven by unconscious factors: a dual instinct of libido and aggressive drives. In adult life, their acts and choices often reflect their traumas and early memories from childhood. Freud’s student, Carl Gustav Jung, developed yet another theory. He believed in a collective unconscious: a hive mind of sorts that we all share. He was also a strong proponent of balance as the basis of human motivation. Namely, he believed that in our lives, we aim to find a perfect balance between our inner life and the outer world. In this article, we will focus on yet another, less popular theory of human motivation though: Alfred Adler‘s theory. 

Alfred Adler’s Approach To Human Motivation

Alfred Adler was an Austrian medical doctor and psychotherapist living between the eighteen-seventies and the nineteen-thirties. He was one of the close affiliates of Sigmund Freud. They used to meet in an informal discussion group (a.k.a. “the Wednesday Society”) in Freud’s private house on Wednesday evenings. These friendly gatherings among the top medical doctors, psychologists, thinkers, and philosophers led to the creation of the psychoanalytic movement—one of the biggest and most influential movements in twentieth-century psychology.

Unlike many others (including, e.g., Carl Gustav Jung) whom he considered his students, Freud treated Adler as his colleague and respected him as an expert in psychiatry and an equal partner for discussion. Although Freud and Adler were befriended and respected each others’ opinions throughout their careers, their views on the roots of human motivation differentiated with time.


Figure 1 The classic theories of human motivation. According to Sigmund Freud, people are primarily driven by unconscious factors: a dual instinct of libido and aggressive drives. Carl Gustav Jung believed that in our lives, we aim to find a perfect balance between our inner life and the outer world. To Alfred Adler, the roots of human motivation lie in the upward drive for perfection, and the desire to contribute to the world. 

Namely, Alfred Adler has developed a belief that human motivation goes way deeper than sexuality and low instincts. According to his inferiority theory, we are all born with an inferiority complex: the inner feeling that you are never good enough at what you do—not even for your own standards. According to Adler, the associated lack of self-esteem, doubt in one’s value, and the desire to prove ourselves and create value for others is the strongest drive among all. Just as William Faulkner likes to say, the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing to write about.

Influenced by the work by Jan Smuts, Alfred Adler developed a strong belief that as humans, we don’t consist of parts—such as Freudian id, ego, ad superego—but rather, we are holistic, creative beings who are in control of their lives, and responsible for who they become. He decided to call his approach to psychology “Individual Psychology” where the keyword “individual” means “undivided.” He believed that, rather than staying under a strong influence of subconscious drives, we are aware of what we are doing and why. Rather than being the prisoners of our past, we are free decision-makers motivated by our future and determined to achieve our unique personal goals.

Personality vs Lifestyle

Adler used to avoid the traditional concept of personality and preferred talking about people’s way of life or lifestyle, meaning the unique ways in which one handles problems and interpersonal relations. According to his school of Individual Psychology, we aim to create the ideal versions of ourselves (the idea somewhat related to the self-actualization theory rooted in Abraham Maslow’s work). There are as many ways of achieving this personal goal as are people.

To one person, the best way is to demonstrate their full dedication to their employer and to their team, and to become the employee of the year. To someone else, the best way would be to create the funniest and the most colorful fairy tale book for children. To someone else, perhaps becoming the wealthiest or the most physically appealing person in their neighborhood is the way to go. Or, writing a popular blog. Or, creating a popular Instagram account.

Adler was putting a strong emphasis on the social side of human psychology—regardless of which way of proving ourselves and building value we choose, the value that we produce becomes meaningful only in the context of others, never in isolation. In other words, the real value is what we can offer to other people, not just what we can do for ourselves. And, to feel truly accomplished, we need positive feedback from our environment.

Finding Motivation and Career Management Are Hard! You Need To Discover What Your Natural Way of Creating Value Is

Despite this internal sense of control, in practice, overcoming the inferiority complex is still hard! We are our own biggest critics, and no matter how far we get, we always feel that we might have done better. It’s just a never-ending fight with yourself, with your mind playing tricks on you all the time. Most people only win this game in old age—or never.

So, how to find your natural way of creating value as a professional? And then, imporve on your career management skills, and choose a career that will allow you to get the most satisfaction and thrive?

On The Ontology of Value Model: How Do We Build Value?

In Ontology of Value, we conducted a broad, two-year-long study to reveal the most common ways to build value as a professional in our society. Our findings revealed that there are at least eight ways in which you can create value in the job market:

Creator - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

CREATOR (a.k.a. Hipster, Visionary, Designer, Inventor, Innovator) is an individual whose biggest driving force is a novelty. Creators can be found in all areas of the job marketfrom politics, through arts and sciences, to all branches of industry including IT. Creators’ minds circulate around high-level concepts. They feel the happiest when they derive new ideas and produce new, original content that amazes their environment. Creators treat professional life as a life-long pilgrimage: a journey from solving one type of problem or developing one concept to another.

Problem-solver - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

PROBLEM-SOLVER (a.k.a. Hacker, Developer, Expert, Specialist) is a professional whose biggest drive is tackling specific, specialistic problems. Problem-solver’s ambition is becoming an expert or the to-go-to-person in a certain domain. Problem-solvers can independently come up with new solutions, i.e., hack problems. They find utter joy in finding geeky tricks to solve the issues encountered by their colleagues and astonishing people in their environment by making unexpected fixes to everyday problems.

Linchpin - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

LINCHPIN (a.k.a. Hustler, Communicator, Deal-maker, Community-builder, Connector) is a communicator and a deal-maker whose biggest drive is growing projects and building impact by developing and managing communities, finding collaborators and followers. The term “linchpin” means the central, pivotal piece of a wheel. Linchpins are, indeed, the hearts of their communities. They have strong interpersonal skills, are empathic, and easily take other people’s perspectives. They enjoy expanding projects by increasing the outreach and finding potential new clients or beneficiaries of the organizations that they represent. Linchpins love people! They are usually well-connected and gifted with the ability to find the right people at the right time.

Manager - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

MANAGER (a.k.a. Executive, Leader, Principal) is an individual whose biggest passion is managing a functional team and steering it in a way to reach the chosen goals. Managers feel the happiest when they can orchestrate a group of people to reach their targets efficiently and in a friendly, collaborative atmosphere. They ​are good at finding synergies between people and putting the team members in the right roles. However, managers also take an individual approach to optimally motivate every team member.

Achiever - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

ACHIEVER (a.k.a. Role-model, Performer, High-flyer, Go-getter) loves to compete and win. Achiever’s biggest drive is to become a leader in some disciplines and serve as a role model to others. Some achievers (e.g., Olympians) aim to become world-renowned professionals in their field and inspire young people around the globe. Other achievers don’t seek public attention, but rather, prefer to be recognized in a narrow, specialistic field. In either case, achievers have the ambition to get to some level of measurable success and positively influence others.

Missionary - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

MISSIONARY (a.k.a. Mentor, Helper, Guardian, Protector, Supporter) is an individual whose biggest drive is to help other people directly. Most missionaries have a strong personal sense of mission (as the name suggests!) and are eager to compromise on their level of comfort or sacrifice a large portion of their free time to serve others. Missionaries feel the happiest when they see the smile on the face of the person whom they have just helped. They highly value non-material qualities at work, such as integrity, equality, and diversity.

Contributor - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

CONTRIBUTOR (a.k.a. Workplace-Architect, Logistician, Coordinator, Planner, Trustee) prefers to create an infrastructure for others so that they can accomplish their projects and build their careers. Contributors usually avoid the spotlight—they prefer to work from behind the scenes. They care about creating a friendly atmosphere at work and are masters of multitasking. Contributors feel the happiest when they observe that their working environment develops in harmony, and when they live a balanced lifestyle. They enjoy hearing that it feels great working with them and that their contribution matters.

Investor - The ODYSSEY Test - The Ontology fo Value - Bielczyk

INVESTOR (a.k.a. Capitalist, Financial Libertarian, Patron, Philanthropistaims to achieve full financial freedom and only focus on doing projects out of interest rather than out of need. Investors don’t search for fame and recognition for what they do. They prefer to build their wealth in silence and live a peaceful life so that they can enjoy a high degree of personal freedom and cherry-pick projects that are most exciting to them. They are also eager to support budding projects with their know-how and financial resources.

How To Make Sure That You Don’t Experience No Motivation To Work Ever Again? Discover Your Natural Way of Building Value Using the ODYSSEY!

How to find out your natural way of creating value as a professional? Perhaps, after reading the descriptions given above, you can already identify what type of value builder you are by nature! However, we often cannot reliably diagnose ourselves and need some cheat sheet to help us.

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2021, July 11th). How Do We Build Value in the Job Market? Alfred Adler’s Theory and How You Can Profit From It. Retrieved from http://odyssey-careers.com/all-posts/no-motivation-to-work-how-to-discover-your-profile-as-a-value-builder/ 

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Would You Like To Get Helped in Discovering Your Value-building Profile?

 And, in finding your optimal spot in the job market? Right here, right now?

We are proud to introduce our new project that has been in the making for the last two years! Our project is called “The Ontology of Value: Discovering Your Source of Value for the Society & The Environment That Values You (ODYSSEY).”

This test will not only show you what type of a value builder you are, but it will also indicate how high you score compared to the general population of white-collar professionals. Self-navigating in the job market becomes much easier once you know where your edge is, and which roles give you an advantage compared to the general population.

This aptitude test helps professionals and students with a strong work ethic in finding their edge in the job market. Are you unsure what your natural way of creating value is, and which tribe in the job market will welcome you with open arms? Try our new test, built using a combination of psychometrics and machine learning! Please find all the information at the test website:



Would you like to know more about the flow of value through society, the concept of building value as a professional, and the general guidelines for career management in the job market of today? You can also get familiar with the ODYSSEY model through the model booklet, “The Ontology of Value: Discovering Your Source of Value for the Society & The Environment That Values You (ODYSSEY) (Bielczyk, 2021)” available on our website


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