TOLUCA LAKE— Minnesota born and Los Angeles resident, Paul Nobrega, recently started his business, Motivation Mojo, as a way to “inspire, motivate and empower” people facing challenges much like himself. Nobrega was diagnosed with cancer in 2021 and has since embarked on a journey of self-discovery, embracing gratitude and a new perspective on life. The goal of Motivation Mojo – a YouTube channel with plans to grow into a podcast – is to help people cultivate a positive mentality to feel a sense of empowerment in an increasingly “negative” world. 

Nobrega was working as a successful actor for much of his adult life. He has appeared in movie roles and television shows, such as Criminal Minds and The Young and the Restless, theater shows and traveled around performing in a Broadway national tour for A Christmas Story, amongst many other entertainment related endeavors. 

According to Nobrega, about three or four years ago, casting began to drastically change and he was no longer booking the jobs he once did. 

“I hung on for as long as I could but by around 2021, I wasn’t making any money and SAG canceled my health insurance,” Nobrega said. “It was on the heels of that that I was diagnosed with cancer.”

With no income, depleting savings and no health insurance, Nobrega eventually sought government health insurance through Blue Shield of California in order to receive aid for a surgery he needed to help stop the spread of cancer. Blue Shield refused to pay for it, he appealed the decision and eventually won, but the insurance company has yet to reimburse him for the surgery he was forced to pay out of pocket for. 

“While fighting and dealing with the stress of all that, the post-surgical tests came back and showed that the surgery wasn’t entirely successful and my doctor told me that I would most likely need radiation treatment. It was a lot,” Nobrega said. “Since I don’t have a family of my own, no income, no career and prospects for work in sight, I admit I was feeling anger, self-pity and I spiraled down,” Nobrega continued. “My life felt like it had no meaning anymore, I wanted to give up.”

Nobrega came across a book, Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl, which changed his life. Frankl – a psychiatrist and holocaust survivor – argues that over pleasure, it’s man’s search for meaning in life that is the central motivational force. Humans cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it and move forward.

“I thought if someone like [Frankl] could survive the holocaust, find meaning in life, including forgiveness for the Nazis and reasons for gratitude given his circumstances, how could I not?” Nobrega tearfully said. “The phrase ‘give what you need’ came to mind and I knew I had to act.”

Motivation and inspiration are two aspects Nobrega admits were missing in his life, and those two themes are the foundation of what his business wants to provide. 

Nobrega officially launched his business three months ago, but only recently launched his social media channels. He researches daily to find quotes and motivational topics to write about and share on his YouTube channel. He also writes daily in a gratitude journal. 

“Getting to do this everyday helps me, it has a direct positive effect on my health,” Nobrega explains. “I have only a few subscribers and followers at the moment, but if I can offer to others the inspiration and blessings I’ve received on this journey so far, I believe they will come.”

Recent blood tests show that Nobrega is currently stable. His doctor explained that radiation treatment is inevitable but Nobrega is choosing to celebrate the fact that his number’s have stabilized. 

“I have purpose and meaning in my life and I have found gratitude in a journey I didn’t ask for,” Nobrega said. “The world has been pretty weird and negative lately, and it feels like there’s never been a better time to shine a light on what’s good. It makes me feel better providing this to other people.”

If you find yourself in need of some motivation and inspiration, subscribe to Motivation Mojo’s YouTube Channel, follow on Instagram and/or Facebook and you can purchase Nobrega’s “Gratitude In Action” journal here.