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Discussion Starter #1
Let me put this as plainly as I can; I have no goals.

I don’t want to go anywhere specific, do anything in particular, accomplish something, show people something I made or did, or have them watch me. I don’t want a family, I don’t want a career, I don’t want a certain car.

This makes it rather hard to really get any pleasure out of life.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be surprising if I admitted that I worked in computers, but I’ve also tried to branch out into motorcycle mechanics and technical theatre. Both ended poorly; I dropped out of the motorcycle course over 30MB of data that was worth about $2000 -- Rogers billed 28MB at 6 cents per KB in the bad old days before decent data plans. I dropped theatre because I couldn’t hack a 18-19 hour day of classes and plays.

All I do want is basically a job that’s not too easy but is mostly solitary -- I do like a challenge, but I tend to slack off when the work is stuff I don’t like. Then on my own time, I basically just want to be left alone to do as my heart might desire. I might want to read an entire novel in one night, or watch 6 episodes of the same show. Maybe I want to walk outside until 2am. Maybe clean everything until my apartment is spotless. Mostly, it’s play video games.

Unfortunately, this all makes me very discouraged and lonely feeling too because I feel like I should be doing *something* or working towards *something*. Aside from the nebulous goals of “doing moderately okay work” and “leave me alone”, I have a very hard time formulating any other desires.

Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Is this apathy, or as the title says a complete lack of motivation? More importantly, how do people figure out what they want to do with their lives? I'm 34 at this point, and still haven't figured out what to do with myself, and have been questioning this for a very long time.
 

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I'm pretty much the same.

I am the complete opposite to a materalist person, and I actually think I could live life quite comfortably on minimum wage. I have had a middle class upbringing however so have been able to get what I need from my parents, though I have never needed much at all. My sisters the opposite to me, she always wants money to go out with her friends and go shopping.

All I really want from life is to find out about the world, I enjoy reading of social psychology/behavioural ecomomics sort of books, most of my money goes on buying books.

I am at University, and do lack motivation to complete essays, I have 2 years left. I am worried I simply won't complete the course due to heavy procrasination, a lot of the course I am not that interested by. However my parents want me to get a degree therefore I am motivated to do so because of them.

Thats the only motivation I have really, to make them proud.

If there was no pressure on me from them I would probably be working in a bookies right now, working my way up to manager of a store. I genuinely think that is the sort of job I would really like (I love sport and betting on sport), perhaps it would be an underachievement but I know I won't need to earn a lot of money to be happy.

Other than that I have no idea what I'm going to do after optimistically assuming I manage to complete my degree, I don't really fancy doing anything that would really challenge me, I become bored quickly and procrasinate far too much at the moment.

I hope that I will start to look at what will make me happy and not take my family's view in to account as much as I do now.

All in all, when I'm a bit depressed it's always because I'm so introvert compared to my friends, therefore I am very distant from them, and I tend to feel that they don't know who I am at all.

It's also because I lack motivation and ambition and feel that I am constantly underachieving, putting minimal effort into school, college and now university.
 

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Time to meditate. You seem to have no wordly desires so it shouldn't be dificult for you to find what is absolute and timeless. This in itself shall give you joy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Yeah, I'm not so sure about that.

The problem with 'meditating to find what is absolute and timeless' is that it doesn't mean anything. I can think of many 'absolute and timeless' things that many others have discovered and stated that I agree with, but it doesn't change anything, including how I feel.

In fact, I find in Zen thought they call it 'acceptance' or 'being one with everything' but to me it feels like defeat and convincing yourself that having nothing is worthwhile because nothing is worth having.

"Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

Meaning that enlightenment still doesn't change what needs to get done. I admit that it feels like I have a strong defeatist streak but that's basically been through experience; I've come to the pseudo-Zen feeling that I shouldn't care about anything because I'll just end up being disappointed by it.

Knowing you're right doesn't really help when you're right about things being mediocre.

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After asking this question, I did some other searches and find this sort of thing is pretty common for INTP types; preferring to procrastinate, put off, forestall ad think about things instead of doing them. Which sounds about right, so I'm probably just restating what most everyone already knows.
 

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Yes you do have a defeatest attitude. However, your right meditation doesn't change what needs to be done, but you'll recognise your purpose through it. you can't just take someones word for it. Someone's word is only a signpost you must walk the patht o truly understand.
If you're not ready then so be it. I'm only showing you the way to true happiness. Things are worth having, but these wordly things are unimportant when it comes to the self, you can take it or leave it.
 

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I've come to the pseudo-Zen feeling that I shouldn't care about anything because I'll just end up being disappointed by it.
Have you ever done something in your life that you cared about and did not feel disappointed by but rather satisfied with? Can be some very small things, doesn't have to be something grand and super meaningful. Concentrate on isolating these activities and perhaps expanding on them. Also to counter all the INTP "no motivation" threads here is an INTP inspirational thread: Getting s**t done is a powerful mood enhancer - Typology Central
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm pretty well acquainted with a lot of the positive thinking material; I've read a number of Jeffrey Gitomer books (he has a lot of 'attitude' stuff in his books all around the selling aspects, and has his 'Book of YES! Attiude' seems pretty good to me too). I've read "See You At The Top" by Zig Ziglar three times cover-to-cover over two weeks and have listened to Earl Nightingale's "The Strangest Secret" dozens of times. I also like Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" (which is more or less a retelling of the idea about the 'the strangest secret'). I've read "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".

Nightingale and Ziglar both function on the concept of "act as if were true and it becomes so"; which is the crux of the situation. The problem I have with nearly all of those books is the same with people who provide advice like "just don't let it bother you". Were it that easy, I wouldn't feel the way I do. It DOES bother me, no matter how I try not to let it and me telling myself that it doesn't doesn't stop it, but makes it worse.

As for "getting shit done", that's part of the point. I have no shit I want to get done. I no problem doing things if they have to get done (cleaning, shopping, outside appointments) but aside from that, I have no ambitions or desires. Everything just feels like a plodding step along the way but at the same time, I have no desire to hustle in shuffling off this mortal coil since this is the only one I've got.

Oh well; I'm dealing with other RL avenues as well, it seems like my own personality qualities are being magnified by other well-known (at least to me) issues that -- as per usual -- I've put off until it's become more urgent. Procrastination when it comes to your own mental health isn't smart.

Found this on another forum, seems to be quite apropos:

I struggle with an overwhelming sense of failure, which I like to put in the back of my mind. Here and there the urge to actually tackle the problematic task emerges, but usually once it becomes urgent (deadline). I can go pretty deep into fucking myself over if I want to. It must be some sort of pride thing.
 

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Yeah, I'm not so sure about that.

The problem with 'meditating to find what is absolute and timeless' is that it doesn't mean anything. I can think of many 'absolute and timeless' things that many others have discovered and stated that I agree with, but it doesn't change anything, including how I feel.

In fact, I find in Zen thought they call it 'acceptance' or 'being one with everything' but to me it feels like defeat and convincing yourself that having nothing is worthwhile because nothing is worth having.

"Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

Meaning that enlightenment still doesn't change what needs to get done. I admit that it feels like I have a strong defeatist streak but that's basically been through experience; I've come to the pseudo-Zen feeling that I shouldn't care about anything because I'll just end up being disappointed by it.

Knowing you're right doesn't really help when you're right about things being mediocre.

--

After asking this question, I did some other searches and find this sort of thing is pretty common for INTP types; preferring to procrastinate, put off, forestall ad think about things instead of doing them. Which sounds about right, so I'm probably just restating what most everyone already knows.
Man you are gunna feel so, so, so much better about yourself after you browse these forums. I thought I was going to cry reading some of these threads for the first time.
 

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A don't think I have any personal problems but being INTP is extremely complex and difficult. I find if I am not keeping a very detailed journal of all my thoughts and actions I will quickly lose touch with myself and begin to drown in lethargy, apathy and fatalism. It's just how our brains work. You have to figure out how you function and just really accommodate it. Don't fight it. I'm at the point where I can feel good about doing things, be passionate, not escape reality through mental masturbation exercises, be responsible, etc. etc. but man is it delicate. I collapse back to nothing pretty quick if I am not saying on top of things and in touch with myself. It's hard work. Very rewarding. I think we have a lot of potential but also because of that we have to not necessarily do "more" than others but do different things. Self-monitoring and coping techniques most other types get no benefit from will be our life or death.
 
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Wow I can definitely relate.

I did really well in high school simply because I study hard, and I love to learn. and I was happiest. I was doing so well such that I skipped two years of high school so I started an undergraduate program at 16. I got out of university at the age of 21 holding a Masters degree. Then the horror begins after I had my first job. I felt so lost in life. I wasn't happy. Yes the job pays well. Yes I should be proud of what I've achieved. But I wasn't happy. In fact I loathe it because I am not learning anything new. I like to seek knowledge for the sake of it, not cause I want a high-paying job, you know what I mean? and that's why I tried to surround myself with books, and yes I set aside a proportion of my salary every month exclusively for books lol.

I felt like I sold my soul for however many hours a week and never actually enjoy what I'm doing. And this was a really hard time for me - I was depressed. I just wanted to be left alone and I pushed people away from my life. My social life was pretty much non-existent because I just DID NOT CARE (except a few friends who respectfully check up on me). I had no (ZERO) motivation to do anything. Even a simple task like getting a hair cut. I just did not care. I felt utterly defeated by life.

Anyways so after 9 months I quit the job and now I'm unemployed just spending my time on things I want to do (I fell in love with guitar and have just been practising lately - I'm still a beginner lol) but I felt much happier. I have been to interviews and got two offers which I declined. It's like I'm traumatized - I don't want to end up in another job which I know I will hate (just because it involves parking my ass on a chair for 8 hours a day 5 days a week). I do want a job though, maybe one that offers work-life balance so I can use my spare times on other things.

I can only say stay true to yourself and try new things until you find something that clicks. (i.e. your passion). Many people have tried to make me feel bad about myself now - yes they are implying I am a failure, they said I am wasting my talents and skills and people that went to graduate school with me seems to be doing just fine with life, perhaps saving for a new car or (insert material things) whatever crap that is. I could care less about what they think. They didn't understand, they certainly don't understand and they never will. It's fine. I haven't figured out what my next steps are but I hope I find my passion(s) someday, and I wish you the best.
 

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How utterly true.

Unfortunately (fortunately?), I am quite content with it. My mother isn't. She always rants about my lack of ambition in anything other than attaining knowledge. I just drift along, feeling very little, doing what I am told to do, acting happy and content because most of the time I am in a fuzzy La la land with so much time to think. The thinking, however, does get depressive and nihilistic around 90 percent of the time. So I listen to music to balance out my thinking.

A lot of music. :bored:
 
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As for "getting shit done", that's part of the point. I have no shit I want to get done. I no problem doing things if they have to get done (cleaning, shopping, outside appointments) but aside from that, I have no ambitions or desires.
The motivation is refrained or simply not there?
 

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I know that I am supposed to encourage you to rush out and change the world, so take the following advice with a grain of salt.

I am well-acquainted with apathy. I cultivate it actually. There is nothing wrong with apathy in and of itself, despite what many go-getters will claim to the contrary. I am not sure why it carries with it such a negative stigma in our current age. Of course, if it is bringing you down, it is something that needs to be dealt with.

I am 36 and have always wrestled with the same question; how do people decide what they want to do? I always had this feeling hanging over me that I was wasting my life. A few years ago I finally decided what I want to do: nothing. That is not quite true, but is true with regard to what is generally implied by finding a life path, career, etc. It is more correct to say that I know what I do not want. Like you, the acquisition of material possessions holds no attraction for me. That part was easy. Also, I do not want to work, especially for someone else. I do not want to contribute. I do not want to have to do anything. I do not want to think about or work towards a future. I don’t want to care.

What I do want to do is travel. Not for the sake of seeing anything in particular, not for the sake of travel, more because I am in love with motion, and because I can live cheaply in certain places. I want to float through life with no goals, flitting about with absolutely no sense of purpose and no responsibilities; not accomplishing a damn thing. And I want to revel in it.

If I were to need or want a job, the type you describe sounds perfect, and your level of dedication sounds about right as well. I was a linguist in the military, and all I ever wanted was to be left alone in a room by myself to translate stuff. I translate, you pay me, I go home. Otherwise I wanted to be left alone. That didn’t happen. I quit. I did not like all the extra military BS that came with it. I was happy being a peon. Before that I sought out just the sorts of jobs you described.

My question: why do you feel compelled to work toward something? Is it an integral desire, or something thrust upon you by society, friends, family? Perhaps you do not feel that you are living up to your full potential, as they say. Maybe you are burned out by societies ridiculous expectations.

I do realize that this feeling of ennui and lack of motivation is bringing you down. I would start with a bit of self-analysis. Determine whether this desire for motivation is external or internal. If your desires for success or to have a goal are external, borne of societal norms, a desire to keep up with your peers, or something similar, discard them. If, on the other hand, it is an internal desire, if you truly feel that you must contribute personally, or that you have some place that you wish to reach at some point in your life (success, wealth, enlightenment, etc), then start searching, though I have found that it is difficult to force these things.

Harboring goals and the ambition to try and accomplish them are so clichéd anyway. What is wrong with having an easy job and playing video games? Why isn’t that enough? Maybe all I want is to smoke hash and wander in the woods. So what? What compels you to want more than this? We all feel compelled to do something with our lives, as if living them were not enough. Nothing needs to be done or accomplished, unless you personally feel compelled to do so. Any path you pick is correct, as is not choosing a path. All that matters is your own contentment, and ultimately your only responsibility is to yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The motivation is refrained or simply not there?
I don't know if I can tell the difference; as far as I can tell, I've never had a desire to *do* anything; even when I was growing up I'd be more inclined to while away time doing whatever on my own from reading (almost always reading) to doodling, just riding my bike nowhere in particular for hours. I only ended up working in computers since I was a computer kid in my teens, it was easy work for me to fall into.

My question: why do you feel compelled to work toward something? Is it an integral desire, or something thrust upon you by society, friends, family? Perhaps you do not feel that you are living up to your full potential, as they say. Maybe you are burned out by societies ridiculous expectations.
Yes, pretty much this -- I feel a lot of impotent rage towards people who make everything crappier and have the general feel that if you're not trying to make it better, then you shouldn't complain. However, people don't WANT others to get all uppity and change things. Any time I've ever spoken out against someone else breaking the rules, all I've ever gotten was a trip to the house of pain.

Funnily enough, watching Kick-Ass last night reminded me of this line; "The three assholes, laying into one guy while everybody else watches? And you wanna know what's wrong with me?"

So, now I'm on the burned out side, feeling like I should be trying to improve, be better, be successful but also not caring because of the vague futility of it -- I think the biggest thing is that my success seems to have very little to do with my skill. You can be an excellent worker, and then get your job cut by sheer numbers. Morons seem to surround you no matter what job you're in and there's always some guy who has your dream job and is so under skilled for it.



I'm thinking The Dude has the right idea.

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There is ONE thing I wish I could motivate myself better upon and that is being an excellent game master for RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. I used to love running games, but continued brushing against negative players and rude feedback has killed my enjoyment from the games. So, maybe there's something after all.
 

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[I'm thinking The Dude has the right idea.
I concur.


There is ONE thing I wish I could motivate myself better upon and that is being an excellent game master for RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. I used to love running games, but continued brushing against negative players and rude feedback has killed my enjoyment from the games. So, maybe there's something after all.
I used to play D&D, and some other games, some years back, and can relate to this. I always enjoyed DMing more than actually playing. Perhaps you could find a new group in need of a DM. I believe there are even some online mediums for this as well.
 

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I usually lack motivation to do things that I do not find challenging. I think that life itself is rather simple, mundane, and boring. I can submerge in a good video game, and play 12 hours a day, and be intensely motivated to beat the game.

But in the real world, nah, I don't have much motivation to do anything. I am content being in my own little world. I plan on dying broke. I make enough money to survive, live comfortably, pay my bills, etc. A good day for me is when the phone doesn't ring, nobody pushes my doorbell or knocks on my door, and I can be completely alone with my thoughts :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I used to play D&D, and some other games, some years back, and can relate to this. I always enjoyed DMing more than actually playing. Perhaps you could find a new group in need of a DM. I believe there are even some online mediums for this as well.
My biggest problem is, again, motivation. I know I have friends and others who'd fall over themselves to play a game, were I to run one. The biggest problem to motivation is mostly 'why bother'; as I said before my desire to run the games was worn out mostly due to what I felt like ungrateful people (ie: unable to show up at games, criticizing the plot of the story while in the middle of the game ".. oh look, yet another necromancer", one player commented when I was trying to run an adventure pointing towards undead shenanigans).

So basically if I want to *do* something, it has to be for other people because if it's just for me, it won't get done. Alas, I don't really care about other people anymore.

Talking about this after a while just feels like the sort of whining that you do as a kid;
Kid: I'm boooored.
Adult: Go do this.
Kid: No, I don't waaaant to ..
Adult: Go do this then.
Kid: I don't want to do that eiiiither.
Adult: ...

Where you basically counter all suggestions that people make to improve things.

Might be worth getting back into the GM saddle again; I know my GF would be happy about that.
 
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