As you start making the difficult journey into your more mature years, you’ll no doubt find yourself facing a few challenges you hadn’t even considered back in your youth. The first time you realise that you really can’t stay for “just one more pint” when you know you have to be up early is a watershed moment for every man – it’s not pleasant knowing that your body isn’t functioning like it used to.
Of course, it’s nothing to dread, really – once you start getting on in years, sitting with a whisky and the paper ends up looking rather more appealing than another late night out on the lash. But you do have to keep an eye out for anything that might end up posing a problem – and a lot of men can find that work is just such a case. Once you start getting into middle age and out the other side, your motivation starts to slip – you’re not the keen young man raring to get going that you once were, and instead you find yourself struggling to see the point. Maybe you feel your career has stalled, but despite, or perhaps because of that you still aren’t able to make the effort like you once did. But if so many older men go through this, what’s the cause – and what can you do to sort it out?
It might well be that your testosterone is starting to drop off, perhaps too much or too quickly. Testosterone levels naturally fall as you get older, but if it turns into a deficiency, it can pose serious problems.
Looking at work performance in particular, a recent study published in PNAS showed that high testosterone is associated with stronger group performance – groups given a task to do performed better the higher their mean testosterone levels were . Probably, you might be saying to yourself, this is just down to men with high testosterone being a little more truculent than average – and perhaps groups where everyone’s trying to take charge and be as competitive as possible might do a little better at their task, though you wouldn’t want to work there yourself.
But actually, according to the study, this is down to a “biological propensity towards status pursuit” – testosterone seems to make you keener to succeed in the eyes of your peers, which means you’re motivated to actually try. Not quite the same thing as being the over-aggressive aspiring alpha male you might have been expecting, it seems that having healthy levels of testosterone just gives you the motivation to try to succeed. And surely there’s no harm in that – actually it sounds rather nice.
This is all well and good for those youngsters who still have an abundance of testosterone rushing through their veins, but when you start getting on in years those natural reserves do start to dwindle. What to do, then, if you still need to put in the effort at work but you simply don’t have the motivation?
Well, it’s possible that your testosterone levels aren’t simply on the natural decline that always accompanies age – you might, like 40% of men over 45 , have a genuine testosterone deficiency. In that case, you’re probably feeling a “decreased ability to concentrate on tasks” and “low energy”. Well, then, it’s no wonder that you’re not feeling so enthused about work – you simply don’t have the testosterone.
It’s nothing to fret about, though – genuine testosterone deficiency can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy. Of course, you must consult your doctor to make sure it’s right for you, and certainly you shouldn’t do anything like buy testosterone off the Internet yourself. But you might just find testosterone replacement therapy can add a little skip to your step, a little extra vim, and that won’t just help you at work, but in all areas of your life.
So if, more and more, you find yourself staring at your alarm clock every morning, asking why you bother getting out of bed, that’s not something to shrug off as a midlife crisis – it might well be a paucity of testosterone that’s got you down in the dumps. Head along to your doctor or a specialist clinic and see if testosterone couldn’t give you the boost you need.