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Ask HN: How do you deal with loss of motivation?
331 points by rampipod on Feb 26, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 167 comments
Lately, I don't feel motivated about anything. Job is okay and I just switched about 8 months back. Work is just not challenging enough. I had to accept job because of good money and my previous job being in danger due to internal org. issues. I exercise 4 days a week but I still don't see any difference in motivation. I also had my testosterone checked. My GP says its normal.

I wanted a leadership position at my company, but I was hired for a position that has no decision making power at all. Everyone here seems dumb and working on a few useless things.

I thought I would be making life changing decisions after taking this job, but so far that does not seem to be the case.

Should I create artificial challenge and try to get into MIT/Stanford for masters?

I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

What shall I do?

Of course now everybody here in the comments is jumping at the line

I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

and telling you that you should STFU and go back to your job and learn to be content with what you have. Please be reminded that that's just people on the internet though.

The thing is if you ask anything on the internet that sounds like "How can I be more successful / smarter / prettier than average" you'll attract a lot more haters than people that truly want to give advice.

However the reality is that being more successful, finding something that gives you purpose and satisfaction and even making big money are all natural and human desires and there's nothing wrong with that.

The only piece of advice I can humbly offer is that if you really, really want or need something then there's usually also enough motivation to work towards it. Now if you don't feel motivated to work towards your goals that could be a sign that either your goals aren't optimal or that you're actually happy with life as it is and don't feel so much need for change.

I'm in a similar boat. I'm just tired of working for other people. I was an athlete so I have it ingrained in my brain to always aspire to greatness. I'm stuck doing mostly boring web CRUD apps (new team, new project) where I was building complete automation systems with nearly full autonomy.

Unfortunately, the US isn't really a meritocracy. Leadership positions come from who you know more than what you know. If you don't feel like playing the dating game, start your own thing. You'll definitely not be bored.

Also, you could work for a small company where they don't really know what's going on. You need to earn trust with the ownership by solving easy low hanging fruit that really earns / saves money. Don't go too small and make sure the company is profitable / well funded / proven business model, otherwise you'll constantly be bailing water.

"Leadership positions come from who you know more than what you know." If you think that's the case (Which it is PLUS talent and passion) then go and meet more people. Your network is your networth.

Seconded. There's nothing at all wrong with wanting to improve your situation, even if it's what others might consider "pretty good", if it's not making you happy and fulfilled.

And also, seconded on the goal comment. You (OP) might get value from some talk therapy specifically focused on what makes you happy and satisfied with your life. The results may surprise you, particularly if you've never done anything like that before.

Job #1: figure out what you want. Job #2: figure out how to get it.

I second this advice.

Something else to add... I realized everything in life is simply a choice. I can choose to move along the path to getting whatever it might be that I want (no matter how painful or difficult it may or may not be), or I choose to do something else. Its when I dig deep and choose to follow my path, even when I don't want to, is when I realize that I can move the needle on my life. I guess what I'm saying is, consider that you might fear the commitment it would take to make the change. Confronting that feeling and making the change in spite of the fear might help you get where you want to be. YMMV.

Something that has helped me a lot with motivation is figuring out how to calm down my nervous system, for example, with a good massage, a yoga class that encourages holding poses for longer periods of time (Iyengar-style), meditation, and reading offline. It's really easy to be "on" all the time, even when you are not feeling particularly motivated — for example, being on the internet is often over-stimulating and leads me to feel a lot of fatigue and a lack of motivation. There is no one solution. I would be wary, however, of pushing myself into doing something just because it's impressive or exciting. Acting from a place of centeredness is always more fruitful. There is no one solution. Best of luck to you.

Indeed! ^^

It's important to be self aware of what your body is trying to tell you ultimately. Be able to monitor your mood, motivation, general tiredness, anxiety, and monitor what is causing that. I have regularly taken therapy to provide some introspection and this has helped tremendously. Overall, it comes down to some of the basics for me in many cases of deregulation (as its called when your nervous system is out of balance). Find things to bring your mind (such as therapy), and your body back into a regulated state. Take breaks from the computer, do yoga (as suggested above), enjoy experiences for the sake of learning something rather than for the sake of impressiveness, integrate your mind in areas that have nothing to do with your field....

Thanks for this!

>I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

Consider giving up the big money requirement and your options will open up significantly. At companies like Google and Facebook where you get the good pay, there are very few roles that get to work on the super interesting problems so they are hard to get. Most likely you will end up working on data migration tools, front end interfaces for existing systems, account life cycle tooling, etc that may be interesting at first, but they aren't that satisfactory in the long run because you'll realize you're a very small cog that can be easily replaced.

If you give up big money and join a startup (even mid sized), your impact can be a lot more tangible and satisfying. Programming for government/industry research can also be pretty satisfying but the pay is much lower (e.g. I worked for an academic consortium on HPC networks and really felt like I was improving tooling for cutting edge science).

>> because you'll realize you're a very small cog that can be easily replaced

This very thing struck me when I was watching a video recently about Ph.D.s at Google [1]. You would think, well, a Ph.D. working at Google - what could possibly be a more fun job? Apparently, to conduct even smallish experiments, they need to make sure that the code runs on infrastructure which is basically created to handle huge scale. I couldn't locate the exact place in the video again, but couldn't help but feel that this takes away so much of the fun of working on research problems in the first place.

Obviously, if you disagree with my view, then you would thrive in that environment! Given how many times the research problems I tackle (as side projects, for fun) end up going absolutely nowhere, I would absolutely not want to invest any effort in things like readable and scalable code and such.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ-IwnnjBy0

If you're willing to give up slightly more money, you could join an organization like Code.org or another well-run organization pursuing some kind of social good. These places are absolutely brimming with purpose and satisfaction.

"I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction."

I think you need to be more realistic, sorry but you sound a bit like a child, everybody is dumb and doing useless things except you the little snow flake who comes to save the world and will be a billionaire if only he was recognized.

Long ago I settled for satisfaction in work only, discarding amount of money and I don't think I could be happier with the jobs I did so far. Granted I get enough money so that I don't really have to care about it. But for me once the threshold of enough is covered I fail to see why I would pursue more. Sure you can always go bigger and more and faster but does that kind of motivation really make you happy or more motivated? Or does it just lead to again wanting bigger and more? I also really feel like the OP should ask him/herself questions like these instead of blindly assuming big money is one of the answers in dealing with lack of motivation.

This might work for a 10x super star developer. But what about the above average ones who is in the mid 30s and constantly worried about ageism and outsourcing. So the logical tells to follow money and sacrifice job satisfaction. Sad but true.

I kind of went with the opposite. I feel that a job that's not as satisfying but pays very well is great, because then I can only do that for three-four days a week (24-32 hours total) and then work on whatever satisfies me personally.

Of course, this assumes you can scale work down. Then again, if "what satisfies me" is something people will pay me for, like in your case, that's equally valid.

> Purpose, Big money, and Satisfaction

Seems like the CAP theorem. Like Cloud Spanner, there is way to practically achieve it: startups. Choose something you believe in, the big money will come when you succeed.

Please forgive if often answered: what's an acceptable duration for working at a string of startups? Two years? More/less?

Also if there's a number of startups that you can work at before it is not possible to believe in positive purpose or possibility to succeed, what's that ballpark figure?

> startups [...] big money will come when you succeed.

If you succeed. Most startups don't (the last statistic I heard was 1 in 10 startups succeed). Also, you only get the money if you're the founder or cofounder; peons, err, employees don't get anywhere near their actual value in shares.

1 in 10 is a better than I guessed--1 in 100, hoping that I could choose the top 10% and execute with the top 10%. True that it's an 'if' and maybe not 'big', but as for motivation it's better to believe it's big and when.

I think the metrics are more like 1 in 10 go from idea to initial funding, and 1 in 10 of those go from initial funding to Series A.

So 1 / 10 culls twice over a couple years.

I didn't read that at all in that statement. Where did you get everything about the special snowflake?

gotta agree with this one. i feel like OP needs to take a step down and change his perspective on things a bit. take a time to weigh out what you want and not expect EVERYTHING but instead, maybe balance it out.

First, if work is not challenging, you can make it challenging. For example, challenge yourself to automate every aspect of your job. It will give you something interesting to work on, you will learn a lot (and not all of the lessons will be technical), and you will have some tangible accomplishments to point to (whether that is efficiency, uptime, cost savings, ...) during you next conversation about being given more responsibility and authority.

Second, as you noted you can find challenges outside of work (particularly with all the free time your automation has given you. |-D

You could try for getting into MIT or Stanford, but you could also simply take the courses you are interested in. Learning something new if a great motivator, I've found.

Then again, so is crushing your enemies, seeing their men flee before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

But I digress.

Another possible creative outlet & source of inspiration is participating in open source, up to and including starting your own project (which might be part of your automation platform, or something completely different).

Or get a non-tech hobby. Drawing, painting, knitting, dancing, a sport, volunteering at an animal shelter, gourmet cooking, write a novel, learn a new language etc. I personally find gardening to be a great way to recharge my mental and emotional batteries.

Good luck!

I had a very long post about humility and emergent leadership that I mercifully just lost to an errant keystroke. I won't attempt to duplicate the deathless prose and deep, though humorous anecdotes from my work history that I dredged up as evidence. Lucky you.

Let's just say that the worst leaders I've worked under have had the certainty that they were Leaders, that they were somehow born to it, and that they were surrounded by idiots.

If you think you are surrounded by idiots, get out fast. This will work out well no matter the true situation:

1. If they are idiots, you'll be pushing a rope. You can't save them. Do your best elsewhere. Unless you're an investor, who the heck cares? Just another ship going down.

2. If they aren't idiots, but you only think they are, it will end badly, and it's best ended early.

The only way that a King of the Idiots gig ends well for you is when they pay you a pile of money to leave because they can't fire you because of bad press or something, and most people won't even be in a room with people who are at that level.

I'm surprised that none of the top comments mentioned "So good they can't ignore you" (Cal Newport). It's an enlightening book. Long story short: "follow your passion" is crappy advice, you start enjoying what you do once you become very good at it (the author calls it "accumulating career capital") and by deliberate practice (i.e. always challenging yourself so that you are always slightly outside your comfort zone but not too much or you'll feel discouraged). Once you have enough career capital you can spend it to apply the changes you need in your life. For example, to ask your employer to work remotely to travel the world or reduce your working hours to attend college etc. (be careful about the "control traps" though).

The obvious question is: how can I practice something I'm not passionate about? And the answer is the same you'd give someone who wants to be muscular but is not passionate about going to the gym: be more disciplined. But that's an entirely different beast.

The way I see it: you force yourself to do something you know has good results (you exercise 4 days a week so you are already doing that) -> You start improving and appreciating your efforts -> You create a "mission" out of your work -> You get so good you can call the shots on something important -> Rinse and repeat. Eventually I think what makes us happy is not the prize but the appreciation for the efforts that led to it.

What are control traps?

They are traps designed to lure you into a state of less control, over yourself, than what you'd like. For example after 3 years at a company you ask to work from home. They'll likely propose that you keep staying in the office but with a better title and a salary increase. And control is called, by the author (yes I love the book), the "dream-job elixir".

And then you burn out if you don't have passion for your craft in the first place.

But passion is something you build with time, not always innate.

Is there actually any evidence that passion always develops with practice? I heard this argument many times before, but fail to empirically find any proof.

I think it's intuitive. As an example look at people who got in shape, I know a few and they all developed a "passion" for working out.

Unless there is such a thing as a "passion" gene.

Let me quote from the internet:

Fuck motivation. it’s a fickle and and unreliable little dickfuck and isn’t worth your time.

Better to cultivate discipline than to rely on motivation. Force yourself to do things. Force yourself to get up out of bed and practice. Force yourself to work. Motivation is fleeting and it’s easy to rely on because it requires no concentrated effort to get. Motivation comes to you, and you don’t have to chase after it.

Discipline is reliable, motivation is fleeting. The question isn’t how to keep yourself motivated. It’s how to train yourself to work without it.

Isn't that basically saying "fuck liking the thing you do, instead practice doing it even though you don't like it, and if you have to train one of the two, train the latter"?

If I had to choose between liking the thing I do and not liking it but doing it anyway, I'd choose the former. I don't find "how can I be more motivated?" a bad aspiration at all.

I don't think that's the best way to put it. First you decide what you like. Then you keep doing it.

It's pretty unlikely that you'll find one thing that, no matter what happens, will always keep you motivated. The question is not whether you like it or not. It's where you keep getting the energy to stay on course, to keep working on it.

This comment and the parent to both ring true and precisely captures the problem for me. The disambiguation I find is to choose a path following a passion, and eliminate any demotivation along the way. Optimizing for motivation is an unachievable goal. The two things that have worked the best for me is to avoid labelling things mentally as 'not fun' and recently pair programming. In place of the former, keep in mind that each thing needs to get done to get to a goal you desire. Whenever I work on a project I take pride in, I rarely feel demotivated, so eliminate things which reduce pride in a project, such as tech debt or low quality implementations. Of course there has to be a balance and timing to this as well.

I believe the idea is that relying on motivation to work on the things you like is much less effective that relying on discipline to work on the things you like.

You're not motivated because you did not get what you wanted (leadership position) and you identify yourself as being superior to those whom are in your position (dumb, working on useless things).

Motivate yourself by either pulling up those around you or leave for what you really want to do.

It's the old happiness/gratitude inversion. The trap is thinking you will be grateful once you're happy. The truth is being grateful creates happiness. And your example of pulling others up is a fine expression of gratitude.

OP never said nothing about happiness, OP wanted responsibility and power.

> Motivate yourself by either pulling up those around you

This has the added side affect of indicating your ability as a leader, which may in turn lead to satisfying your desired leadership and decision making criterion.

It also pays off to double check whether they are actually dumb, or whether it is just ressentment talking. Are thay really stupid or rather less experienced or maybe they just have different opinions? If it is disagreement, then it is much effective to argue instead of teach. (I have met a few dudes who confused disagreement with stupidity. )


We've asked you many times to stop making personal attacks and post civilly and substantively, so we've banned this account.

This reads a little negative, but you're right about discipline.

it's supposed to be negative. it's shit talk on the internet.

Maybe elsewhere on the internet this is expected. From the HN guidelines:

Avoid gratuitous negativity.


Motivation is something I believe everyone struggles with from time to time. Some people don't even realize they lose it till it is to late. Others have so much to do they don't have time to be motivated.

Leadership position at companies are either earn through hard work at the company or proven track record at other companies. If you want leader position work your ass off for it. If everyone is dumb and not working on anything useful then it should be easy to move up the ladder.

Unless the job pulls you out of poverty, puts you in poverty, gets you out of a toxic environment, or takes you completely out of your comfort zone then it ain't going to be a life changing job. Doesn't sound like you went to Africa to save orphans.

Creating artificial challenges is to make you grow not really to motivate you. If you think just chasing a challenge will make you happy or motivated try it out. But maybe you need to find something that just makes you happy or excited. One guy I knew was making north of $200k a year working at the bank worked nights at a sushi restaurant. Sushi was his passion his motivation his happiness.

Typically you don't get a job with purpose, big money, and satisfaction right away. You get a job to pay the bills and learn. The next job is either to move up, move out, or you found something you passion about.

Right now sounds like you are finical stable, and if you got time to work out 4 times a week then you should have time to try new things. Try to find a hobby or something. Get as far out of your comfort zone as you can, and see what you like and love. Don't seek motivation let it find you.

Best of luck.

So, did this guy quit banking to pursue sushi? What's the story here? I'm interested.

Nope he never left the bank. He makes to much money to leave it. Plus he is one tier away from reaching $400k+ plus quarterly bonus. Supposedly the quarterly bonus is something like $30k. He works 3 nights a week at the sushi place he is pretty good.

> Lately, I don't feel motivated about anything. Job is okay and I just switched about 8 months back.

I wonder why you mentioned "job" as your first driver for motivation and happiness. What about other parts of your life besides the job? Now I imagine since this is HN your probably only shared about that part, but I hope there is more to it - relationships with family, friends, significant other and so on. Hobbies (go to local meetups about your favorite technology), maybe other interests like sports. Someone mentioned other stuff like helping others: mentoring perhaps, a soup kitchen (I did that for a while, it really changes your perspective on a lot of things and challenges some assumptions).

> I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

That won't sit right with a lot of people. It is good you are honest though. But be prepared for people to focus on that. So you already make good money it seems but you feel you deserve big money? Why do you think you deserve to be in a leadership position and making big money?

> was hired for a position that has no decision making power at all. Everyone here seems dumb and working on a few useless things.

Now imagine if you made big money and still had no decision making power? What if you made less money but had decision making power? Which one would make you happier?

> I wanted a leadership position at my company, but I was hired for a position that has no decision making power at all. Everyone here seems dumb and working on a few useless things.

> I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

> I have tried being altruistic,but I ended up on the receiving end. I now presume that everyone is selfish and will not think for a second they get better deal. Hunt or be hunted - Frank Underwood

I guess you believe that you where meant for something greater here in life and that people should treat you like the “natural” leader you are. Am I right?

I'll say that there is a very big risk that your have narcissistic tendencies and looking at your comments from an employer's perspective, I would be very, very worried.

Find someone to help.

Preferably, this will be someone at work. Either someone in your job who's as stuck as you are, someone in the next layer up who needs a boost, or someone in the next tier down who needs a hand. It will be your next big challenge, to recognize that someone else needs help, to determine what kind of help that is, and to offer what you can.

Your only measure of success is whether that person succeeds.

The three benefits to taking this approach are:

  1) it's easier to objectively measure whether what you're doing is working
  2) you get to practice helping yourself, on someone else!
  3) it will help you stop being an asshole, which is probably something you're doing
I hope you try it. It doesn't take very long, maybe just a few weeks, but don't hesitate to try it a few times.

Good luck!

As an asshole in recovery, I cannot overstate how good this advice is. A mentor of mine once suggested that I do something similar, and for similar reasons. He didn't tell me why, but it's obvious now, and I can laugh about it.

Helping others makes me feel good. I enjoy feeling good.

Helping others magically decreases the number of assholes I encounter in my day-to-day life. Hmm. I wonder what that means?

Helping others is a great way to make friends, to learn new skills, to broaden your worldview, reduce your stress and so on. But, really, the reward is simply in the practice itself.

The beneficial-to-me stuff is a side-benefit, and I think it has to be. This is something that you do for its own sake; you have to make a sort of pact with yourself to forget about any personal gain. The mental gymnastics required to pull that off are difficult to explain, but it is doable.

I'm pretty sure it works for people who are generally nice to be around as well. Perhaps they too are recovering assholes who make an effort to help others.

I'm not saying you are a jerk, by the way, but it seems like you might find a bit of relief by way of dbrunton's advice. Ganbate!

100% the best advice here! Finding purpose through helping/coaching the success of others.

In my opinion,

Complete lack of motivation is the result of mental congestion.

Start emptying your mind! Delete all good and bad memories! Don't worry about the past and don't be afraid of the future.

What you have right now is not what you really want! That's why you are not happy!

Just empty your mind and you'll find what you really want!

And we always have motivation for the things we TRULY want!

This may sound like hogwash to some but it has a lot of truth in it. Live for the moment, especially in your youth.

Many years ago (1999), I was working in L.A. for a fast-growing media startup. My job was okay but my social life was just miserable. It's tough to be a guy from a small town in Texas and be single in a place like Los Angeles. I lived in a shitty apartment in Pasadena and knew no one. I listed to Adam Carolla's Loveline radio show obsessively at night for comfort and that motivated me to go to a shrink. The guy listened to my story and then looked at me and said, "If you're miserable, why are you still here? Move to where you want to be." Two days later, I gave my employer notice and soon after, I was packing my things and moving back to Texas.

My point is, like the poster above says, forget about yesterday's negativity and the future's worry and start living in the present. Do what you need to make yourself motivated and happy again.

Any suggestions on how to do this ? Meditation may be ? This is easier said then done.

I just wrote a post about it:


“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

You alluded to this with mention of interest in a leadership position at work, but what are your near-term goals in life? Make a list, devise a strategy, and focus a portion of each day stepping toward those goals. Be careful and explicit in drafting these goals. For instance, "Become wealthy" isn't as clear and actionable as "Increase my income by $500 per month."

Are you focused too much on work? When is the last time you took a week or two off just to mentally reset? How is your social life? I was interested in a specific field a few years back, but I had zero friends or connections in said field. I started a meetup group around the topic, grew it to 1500 members in just over a year, learned a TON about the field in the process, and made invaluable and exclusive connections that would have been otherwise very difficult. It was a beautiful blend of social and professional advancement and I highly recommend something similar.

Last point: if you're considering grad school, be aware that this is much more accessible and palatable early in your career vs. late. If you have a shot at getting into an MIT or Stanford, why no give it a whirl? It isn't necessarily the degree that is of value, but the high-end network you'll obtain in the process.

Keep your head-up -- motivation will ebb and flow throughout your life. This is normal and a sign that change is in order.

I've thought about work and motivation a lot. A few quick points:

1. A friend of mine came up with a formula for motivation at work that you can say in one sentence. I love it because it's both simple and powerful: "People want to be a significant member of a winning team on an inspiring mission." You want to feel that you matter. You want to feel you have a chance at success. You wan't to feel your work makes a difference.

Trouble comes when any of those needs aren't met. It sounds like you don't feel that you are allowed to significantly contribute and it sounds like you don't feel your team is set up for success. I don't know if you would ever be inspired by the company's mission. In my experience, no amount of salary will ever compensate for the absence of any of the three above.

2. Even in a job that meets all three of those needs, motivation waxes and wanes. Work that matters is always challenging and you go through streaks and slumps. Here's something I've learned that's interesting and really freeing: Forget the insane amount of ink that's been dedicated to motivational coaching and repeat this: "You don't have to be motivated to start." You just don't. Set a timer for 30 minutes, set the existential stuff aside for a moment (it feels really good), and start. Just 30 minutes. This is powerful because you'll see the chicken and the egg of it all: Sometimes you are motivated to start. But sometimes starting in makes you motivated. (I'm amazed at how often I ignore the timer going off at the end and just keep working.)

Good luck with it! I hope you find your purpose and satisfaction. The big money is nice while you can get it, but it never serves as a replacement involvement in real, meaningful work.

What you are learning is that money does not buy you happiness. Clearly you accepted a job you really did not want for the security and the salary.

I can think of 3 options in your case. 1)keep your job and find fulfillment doing something else on the weekends and free time such as hitting a hobbie hard. 2)Keep your job and figure out how to get to the top. This option means you'll have to become a master at social skills. Learning more techie stuff will not help you. Top decision makers are NOT the most technology savvy but they are the best at managing people and getting the most out of the team. 3) Start finding the job you want. It might be less money or not as safe but at least it's something you enjoy.

"I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction."

That's what we all want but you won't get it unless you are willing to take some big chances. So decide what to do and do it. You can't start at the top but you can get there and find all 3. You might fail but there's a possibility of hitting it big. If you go this route make sure you make a plan and decide now how to deal with adversity.

Good Luck!

For the depressive affect I consume St. John's Wort and L-Carnitine and I use a sun lamp. For the creative side, I ensure that I work at least 15 minutes a day on a creative project outside of work hours. At work, I strive to improve the overall quality of my environment. Remember that if you dress well and act confidently, people become remarkably deferential (i.e. even though your role may not technically have any decision-making power, if you are confident and reliable, people may start to look to you for your opinion on decisions, and so on).

Just a general PSA for anyone considering St. John's wort: it can interact with SSRIs and other prescription medication. The same also applies to 5-HTP.

I took St. John's Wort until my wife asked me stop since my personality was adversely altered to the point of being an a-hole. I wasn't able to discern the change. With that said, it's a good idea to have a third-party evaluating for possible side-effects. St. John's Wort is powerful.

The easiest way to make big changes is to make a lot of small changes. Try to focus on small improvements you can make and work towards them. Don't get frustrated if progress is slower than you expect.

You should only do things for love OR money, but not both.

Don't spread yourself thin serving two masters. Serving one, often brings the other, but both should not be your goal.

If you do things for love, and also seek out money, your art will suffer. If you do things for money, but try to do more of the things you like doing, you will fail to do the hard things that bring you financial success.

Pick one. Love or money. Commit to that.

You could be mildly depressed. How is your sleep? How do you feel about other aspects of your life, like relationships?

I've been driving for Lyft to cover cash flow gaps in between freelance gigs. Nothing like sitting on my ass in traffic having inane conversations with strangers many hours a day to increase my motivation.

I suggesting looking at Cal Newport's So good they can't ignore you, and his blog.

The notion that you just need to find the right thing (passion/purpose) and then the big money and satisfaction (that you think you're entitled to) will roll in is misguided.

Exercising 4 days a week shows that there's sufficient motivation there.

At any rate, good luck!


I was looking for someone to mention exercise.

At 32 I just discovered that exercise gives me energy to code.

It's taken me this long because I kept repeating the same mistake. I started exercising regularly, after 1-2 weeks inspiration to code in my free time came back to me. This also affects my work positively.

But then I get so enthralled by coding, I get back the energy to stay up all nights, 8 hour hackathons, so I forget to exercise. And slowly the energy dissipates and I'm back to square 1.

So this is the first time I can look back and see this pattern in my life. Hopefully it will lead to some change.

I'd been in similar position many years back. I couldn't leave the job because I promised myself I would complete at least 3 years in any co I join. The only reason was to prevent job-hopping that would ruin my resume. Fast forward, I am self-employed now.

First, my job was boring, unchallenging, zero-stress, lesser hours and paid pretty well. In those days I always questioned - "why would anybody leave such a job? won't that be stupid?". So I started learning other things - I delved into music, reading, blogging and stocks (which became my obsession and then analyzing data just became an obsession). I also spent that part of my life enjoying life. That period lasted for 3 years and then the company had restructuring, which turned my job into a challenging, high-stress job.

Retrospectively, I do think I wasted a lot of time back then. But had I not done that, I may not have pursued the path. I wasted money on unnecessary things - which I should not have.

> I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

Big money - Money can't make you happy. That is 100% true. But money can buy you freedom. Freedom can lead you on a path to satisfaction. Bottomline: Do worry about your finances, but don't get greedy.

> What shall I do? Chill, relax and explore (for a preplanned 6months/1year/2years). Your job is taking care of your finances. You may have worked too hard to find "now" as less harder. Such times don't last long. Don't push your brains to find a purpose for existence - its also depressing.

A famous quote says: “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” The same stands true for your conscious mind

you're not motivated because you put a lot of effort into something and your brain had a huge expectation miss; in other words it trained itself that 'effort is pointless'. My suggestion is to do a lot of very small things (that you know will work) that ramp up small successes and retrain your brain to appreciate effort.

I'm currently going through what would probably tear many people apart - out of money (literally had no money last week since I sold the last of my bitcoin to stay afloat and it didn't hit my bank account quickly enough), applied to several jobs in SV, all turned down because "they're looking for someone more senior", tried to start a company, couldn't find funding, can't finish some biochemistry work that I've been doing because I can't pay for the equipment I need... The part time coding job I took on still hasn't paid me for january's work...

But I have a bunch of small projects that keep me going and while it is slightly harder to get up in the morning, I am still productive. (I just wrote a library that transpiles Julia into Verilog)

I would look first in rest and recovery. Go on a sunny relaxing beach sornwhere. Cuba is a good destination since its cheap, different and has poor Internet connection. Rest for at lest 10 days.

Additionally also look in good sleep (a good 6/7 hours per day) and adequate exercise. Sometimes people do too much exercise or not enough, as well as good nutrition. If you are not sure what kind of nutrition you should follow, Mediterranean diet is a good bet.

Lack of social support is a third direction. You should have close friends and family. Invite them often at home for dinner, cook, what about an afternoon of board games. Whatever people say, humans thrive on social contact. A beer with a good friend is also good. Don't just overdo the alcohol.

The final step is the work. Like social support, lack of motivation can be found in lack of communication. Talk around and discuss what you are doing and why. Invite smart people in your professional contacts for coffee. Tell them about what you are doing, ask what are their problems and what interesting things they are doing. Do this 2 or three times per week. Soon you will see opportunities or motivation

Good luck !

I find everything in life to be full of cycles; I have my down times where I'm not feeling life and struggling to achieve the things I want and here is how I get out of this:

Will power is like a muscle, if you use it on some small things it makes you able to be more motivated in other areas. So for example getting up early and tidying your flat/room; going to bed at the right time; drinking less, stopping smoking, even doing 10 press ups. I always find I can build on that.

As for work I would build something cool that you always wanted; something for you. There are so many awesome ideas for something that I need or want it's almost distracting to think about. If you want something intellectually challenging try playing with Tensor Flow or Learning Elixir.

Maybe take on a website build project and build it in Elixir or some other language. When you realise how motivating doing things for yourself is, you might want to do it full time...

Satisfaction isn't found in money. Focus on helping others and you will find true joy.

Hello, Thank you for the comment. I have tried being altruistic,but I ended up on the receiving end. I now presume that everyone is selfish and will not think for a second they get better deal.

Hunt or be hunted - Frank Underwood

To be altruistic means to be selfless, by definition. And you shouldn't expect anything in return. It looks like you expected things in return but didn't get them and now you have become cynical and claim everyone is selfish...

Altruism is doing things without expectation, recognition, reward, or return. It's possible by seeking a return, you are being a little selfish in your desire for a reward and attracting selfish people.

There's a big difference between thinking less about yourself, and thinking less of yourself, and it's up to you to learn the difference between being nice & dumb vs nice & smart.

Don't mean to be mean, just clear. No one's special or the center of the universe so it's up to all of us to find and add value before expecting anything back.

It's probably best, for your own personal happiness, to not base your life motto on a fictional anti-hero.

Everybody being selfish is neither good, nor bad. It's just the way people are. How you perceive that is what affects you.

If you manage to constantly increase your utility for others and for your employers, it's this selishness that would make them wanting to give you more money...because, otherwise, some other selfish organization will come and give you the correct amount of money, correlated with your utility. Your duty (to yourself) is to increase your utility level to whatever you consider big money.

Altruism gives you something different than money: it gives you a sense of accomplishment. It makes other people happy so you can be inspired by their happiness. And I highly recommend being the source of someone's happiness at least once in a lifetime, although it can become addictive

You have a really poor attitude. I think you will never have big money. You will never have job satisfaction. You will never be successful.

Good luck! Thank you for your comment. This thread has created valuable discussion.

I am a work of fiction - Frank Underwood

First thing you should do when you find yourself in a hole is stop digging.

If you feel a loss of motivation, the worst thing you could do is feel guilty about it. Feel like you're somehow bad or inferior because everyone around you seems to have this drive to move forward and you don't.

It's completely OK to not feel particularly motivated. Your job is not your life; sometimes it's fine to just work 9 to 5 and put only the effort required, nothing extra. Spend your nice salary on things that you like. Excersize because you like it, not because you have to. Do something else with your time. Meet friends. Watch TV shows. Don't care about wasting your time, just enjoy wasting it.

And please, when you see the people with "TED speaker", "self-motivated", "energetic" image, take it with a grain of salt. This happens to everyone, it's OK.

First, you seem to have unrealistic expectations.

These things are usually a triangle in all jobs as they force competing goals.

Put labels on an isosceles triangle: Money, Purpose (work you can be proud of, changes the world) and Challenge (work that pushes you, is interesting or complex). Then decide were you would be the most happy. Lots of people leave high paying jobs to work on somewhere with purpose. Others work in a job that barely tolerate for the financial gain.

If you can't find anything that has the balance you want, then I'd suggest you temporarily choose a Money only focus and save as much as you can, then go start your own business so you can control the balance completely. You may find that your perspective changes quite a bit when you have to start making hard decisions.

>Work is just not challenging enough

I'm reminded of a story from Scott Adams

>A week after graduating college, I took my first flight in an airplane. I got in a conversation with a businessman in the seat next to me. He was CEO of a company that made aircraft screws. He told me that his career system involved a continuous search for a better job. No matter how much he liked his current job, he always interviewed for better ones. I assume he failed to get most of the jobs he interviewed for, but over time his system worked, and he became a CEO.

You could try that.


or see his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big)

You did not HAVE to accept anything unless you are not an adult.

You accepted good money. You chose it and pick your master(as the Bible says you can't have multiple masters). You want it all.

I chose the other thing, something that paid me way less than market value, but gave me total freedom and autonomy. Now I have it all but it started without money because the ability to take decisions was more important for me than money. Money comes when you make something so great you wont be able to do in a natural environment.

But you need to find this environment yourself. Technical Mentors, coaches, master minds. Now I can do things in a week that used to take me years because I know the people. A personal journey.

George Lucas (or Steve Jobs or Dyson) did the same with Starwars for example. It is easy when looking back and having success, but when you get bankrupt like George went for controlling the creative process it is not easy.

It was not easy for Dyson to be supported by his wife while iterating the vacuum cleaner.

You are not warrantied success but failure is warrantied. I chose my path because even if I had not made it, my life became an adventure worth it for me. Some people did pity me while doing it because they looked under their point of view but I was extremely happy.

We don't know you and even if we do you need to take a personal decision in your life and few people are prepared in life to give that kind of advice.

"I need to find something with purpose, big money, and satisfaction".

You know, these are great concepts to work for, but make really crappy goals.

"Something with purpose" What sorts of things bring you purpose? Does it need to come from work or can work bring you the means to have purpose elsewhere?

"Big Money": Money only buys some happiness, and the biggest boost is simply getting enough money. What sorts of things can money get you that you don't have now - and how will those things improve your life? If you make decent money, are there ways you can stretch it further? Live in a modest home and so on? Will these things make up for any money you don't have?

"Satisfaction" - again, what brings this? Culture and work environment? Feeling needed? Is there a way to cultivate that where you are? Even more importantly, are there things you can do to make your next job fit this description?

Once you start answering questions like these and have clear, tangible goals it is easier to find the motivation to find them. In addition, I fully recommend making sure you have work-life balance. This includes hobbies and interests that aren't work-related. I also recommend speaking to the doctor once more to consider speaking to a mental health professional, since lack of motivation can be a sign of anxiety or depression.

It sounds like you're an early 20-something? If so, its perfectly normal to aimless and miserable in your 20's.

Perhaps try not to focus on yourself so much. I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean, if you spent some serious time helping others in meaningful and non-transactional ways, you'll feel better about your own situation.

Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI

I'm certainly no expert in motivation, and can't give you advice on your specific goals, but I personally find that reframing long term goals into short term goals can be a big source of motivation. for example, don't focus on bench pressing your own weight, focus instead on getting to the gym 3x or 4x a week and working on your bench press. don't focus on finishing that personal project, focus instead on making a little progress on your personal project every day or every week. having long term goals is still valuable, but having short term goals to focus on can make it a lot easier to find motivation. it's easy to get demotivated on big goals, but if in a given day you meet every single one of your daily goals, then you've aced that day as far as your goals are concerned. and you'll ace the next day, and the next, etc.

having a job with big impact and big money is a sizable goal that you won't reach overnight. you might not even reach it in a year, or several years, who knows. it's a big goal that's easy to lose motivation on. but reframing it into daily goals, and focusing on taking one step at a time, could be a source of motivation. just my 2¢

Find a job that you like, at a company whose values are in line with yours, and you'll find yourself feeling more fulfilled, challenged, and motivated to be something greater than what you were yesterday.

I used to change jobs about every 8 months to a year due to a lack of challenge I'd eventually find in every job I took on. I learned things very quickly, and as a result, found myself rather bored a few months in. I'd leave as soon as the lack of challenges and opportunities started to affect my happiness; I struggle with doing the same things every day for a long time. I can definitely do the same things every day, but I absolutely need additional tasks and duties beyond what's expected of me when I first arrive. It's the only thing that keeps me motivated - I need to be constantly learning and actively contributing to my company.

When I was 22, I found a non-profit I really loved with a mission I could really stand behind. The pay was crap, but after meeting everyone there, I decided that I could live a not-so-rich lifestyle if I meant that I could be happy on a daily basis doing work that I actually loved.

As time went on, my ability to learn fast opened up a lot of opportunities and after only two years I had exceeded my own salary expectations.

7 years later, I'm still at this job making more than I need to pay for my current lifestyle, and I'm the happiest I've been in my life.

Moral of the story is, find a job you love, a company that you can stand behind (essentially, your "work family) with a salary that can pay for your lifestyle you have now, not the lifestyle you want. Do this, and I honestly believe you will obtain the lifestyle you want through hard work and perseverance, made possible by happiness and motivation.

I would get some vacation time, rest for a while, and think about what to do next. You don't have to be motivated 100% of the time in your life.

It sounds to me like the problem isn't that you lack motivation, it's that you lack anything to be motivated about.

Motivation tends to materialize in our soul in 2 ways:

1) We start something new, and interesting, that we've never seen or done before, and it excites us for a short period of time (days, weeks, even months) to pursue it. Eventually, the luster and novelty wears off, and we're left feeling a "lack of motivation".

2) NEED. True motivation, the kind that persists, comes from need. When you really need something, you'll find motivation. The problem is, from the sounds of it, you haven't convinced yourself that you truly need anything more than what you have.

Have you seen the movie Inception? Perhaps the biggest underlying narrative in that movie is that an idea can grow, and consume you, even change you. You need to form in your mind somehow, that things aren't good right now, and that you need to change for them to improve.

I could ramble on and give examples, but basically that's what I believe about motivation.

My motivation is derived from a massive discontent with my environment. Namely, a lack of digital privacy, a government that I feel has greatly overstepped its boundaries, the fact that I have signed over my life basically in full to Google (email, phone, search engine).

I don't know what would motivate me besides the idea that things could be a lot better than the way they are.

If you get in to MIT/Stanford it'll be fun. I did a masters, when I had a dead-end job. It was exciting and opened doors.

One thing I don't see mentioned is human relationships.

Let me guess, you're not married and have no kids?

:) People who aren't good socially, oftentimes try to put all their eggs in one basket (I'm gonna be so good at my job, that it'll fix everything else).

Life doesn't work like that. The problem is not purpose/money. It's satisfaction - that's only going to come when you no longer feel like everyone else is dumb :)

They may not be as good at you at work-stuff - I bet they don't go posting on a forum asking for self-help advice though. So who's really winning?

Not you. You have high IQ, low EQ.

The only solution is to fix that EQ.

One more thing - if you get to manage people, you'll be terrible as you are currently. So really, if you work harder and achieve management, you'll realize your EQ sucks, if you don't achieve it and go and try to make some friends, you'll realize your EQ sucks.

Which's another way of saying life will fix your 'loss of motivation' one way or another :)

I know this is probably an obvious advice here on HN, but one of the things that I feel has given me sense of purpose (and in turn motivation thanks to that) was starting my own company.

Now, of course that might not be suitable for you right now for whatever reason, but it doesn't need to be a company for the suggestion to be valid; how about just putting yourself a challenge of making a game that's polished enough that you can share it here on HN for example, or to reach a certain number of downloads/users?

I believe that if you are ready to put on such big artificial challenge as you put it as getting into MIT/Stanford, then doing a baby-step shouldn't be that hard right? So why not start there and increase your motivation step by step?

My point is, if you have the skills and time (and motivation!) to start a challenge as hard (at least for me) as trying to get into a top-tier masters program, then you must surely have at least that much motivation to do something much smaller but with a higher chance of success and with much quicker results, which in turn should ideally motivate you more to keep going.

So to answer your question, how do you deal with loss of motivation? well, doing small things that add up seems to work wonders for me (and others as well I presume)

Just make a Tetris clone with a twist for example. After that, maybe add multiplayer to that same thing. And you can keep on going like that and at some point you are going to realize that this thing is now much bigger than you would have thought, and suddenly you have spent X amount of time on this project.... and I guess that's motivation.

(Also, it doesn't have to be a game obviously, but how about making some simple software to help one of your parents/family members/friends with something they might be struggling with? that could also be a source of motivation: helping others do things that might be very easily solvable with your skills)

You're asking the reverse of the question I'd be asking. Purpose, money, and satisfaction are so vague and general, you'll never find an answer from those premises alone. What do you care about? Music? Your family? Friends? The environment? Cooking? Poverty? Writing? Abstract mathematics? I hope at this point you have an idea of some things you enjoy or excite you, and you can work forwards from those. But with what you've given us, there's just not enough to work from. Aimlessly looking for purpose is kinda an oxymoron.

From the things you enjoy or excite you, start thinking about how to make that your day job. Or alternatively, start thinking about how to have a chill flexible day job that allows you to do those things more in your own time. Try things out that you already think are cool, and maybe something will stick. Then you can work towards that.

Spend a good bit of time thinking about what the ideal way would be for you to spend 8+ hours a day (i.e. work), and how this would fit into your overall goals in life - beyond work/career.

Do this by testing out all of the above hypothesis, e.g. speak to people (through linkedin for example) that have done that MS from an ivy-league mid-career (or whenever): get lots of experience data to give weight to these potential next steps.

Ask lots of basic questions, why do you want money, what are you going to do with it. How much does reputation matter to you, and what does reputation mean.

From the little info above, it appears that good company, is something important: (a) people that are at your level (and you need to think about what that means exactly), (b) people with whom you want to do projects that make a difference (and again, what does this mean)

Could you have this out-with a work context?

I was in a leadership position for several years before the company went under, and I took a position at a big .com. I understand the demotivation of going from a position of major decision making power, into a position with nearly none.

My coworkers won't "dumb" though, in fact at a minimum 3/4 of them were probably smarter than me. I spent a year learning what I could from them, but I didn't enjoy the job, and life felt too short to spend every evening dreading going into work the next morning. I decided to leave, and start my own company.

I'd lose the "I need big money, purpose and satisfaction", and just concentrate on 1 of the 3 (i'll give you a hint though... concentrating on big money will not solve your issue).

One of the hardest, hardest, hardest things in life is deciding what makes us happy.

People don't spend nearly enough time looking at themselves and really deeply trying to understand what they want out of life.

It's scary because you are supposed to "know" what you want.

Most people think it just shows up one day randomly.

No, it doesn't. You need to work as hard on yourself and your motivations as you do on everything else.

Read some books on motivation, do some meditating, start a project you are interested in, learn a new skill, learn a new sport, volunteer, read more books....just keep looking and looking until you figure it out.

Unfortunately, it can take a long time.

Part of it might be learning to be content and happy with what you have already.

Part of it might be your career.

Part of it might be your social/family life.

Whatever it is, you have to figure it out.

This seems like to me (with little text) you need to build that fire back up.

If you are good at your job and they pay you well enough, just keep it. Keep doing well at your job. In your leisure time, start working on passion projects. Something that you have been thinking about for a long ago and/or understand well. If this passion project turns into something amazing that you can run-away with, profit from, and bring you more power to change, do it.

There are a million things to be motivate by. There are people with serious problems in the world, like dying from thirst.

Just find out what you what to achieve and find out if you are capable of doing it.

Watch the real news. Find out about how terrible things are. Ask yourself if there is any small thing that you can do.

"Everyone here seems dumb and working on a few useless things."

You can start by working on your attitude.

Its ok to feel unstatistifed some of the time, because it gives you the drive to be better or do better things with your time, and to find a way to challenge yourself to set higher goals. Its also ok to have loss of motivation some of the time, because it can make you more creative and let you step back and analyze different situations. But if you get stuck in a hole and need some advice, I'd say get rid of your comfort zone in life and take some risks and make life more exciting (for good or for worse) and just let things flow. Could be as easy as switching to cold showers, or selling everything and traveling in a van in the forest. That's why life is great, it's up to you!

People call it being burned out. Not every job is a fit or has to be a fit, just quit the job and keep looking.

Spend some time not only looking for good compensation but also balancing it with a good culture.

Startups are usually early technology adopters, and you may be giving more responsibility and autonomy than in a large company. You might enjoy it more there.

Most interviewers may ask you: "Do you have questions for me?". Ask them: "who are the most valued engineers in your company and why?"

If the most valued engineer is a warm body whose only purpose is to suggest places for lunch to their managers or some fake wine snob continue looking.

Consider it learning experience - for that leadership role you want. What it is that demotivated you, exactly? What you leaders could do to take better advantage of your skills and ambitions, to make you more productive and as result more happier? Is it just you being demotivated or other people too? How does it affects performance?

What will you do differently once you are leader to avoid similar demotivation of talent? Leadership is not just decision making, it is also dealing with issues like this. They won't tell you, so self awareness now will go long way later.

Honestly with your viewpoint and attitude, you shouldn't yet be in a position to make life changing decisions at a company. It's not a bad thing, but I suspect you're young and eager but you're not really mature enough for the next step.

It will work out with time and experience. Patience is one of those things you gotta learn before you're ready for that next step.

If you're a developer, get involved in some open source projects and contribute. You'll find people better than you and you'll learn from that and hone your skills.

> purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

Clearly, this is the heart of the matter. My recommendation is not to accomplish them all with the same thing. Big money is easiest to accomplish with a job, without worrying about purpose or satisfaction. But make sure it is one that leaves you enough hours outside of work to pursue your own interests, and that is where you fulfill your purpose. Get both of those done, and satisfaction should follow.

At the same time, keep your eye out for the dream job that does have everything. And if it ever does appear, chase it.

The big difference that I have seen is after I started trying to work on things that made me happy. I have a list where I keep a track of things/thoughts/feelings that have really moved me, made me feel motivated and inspired and so on. There is also a list of all the things that have the opposite effect. I try and make sure that my short and long term plans are aligned with the positive stuff and at the same time eliminate the negatives. Going back to the list has been a constant source of motivation.

I started a side project in 2013 to satisfy that constant urge to create. Year after year in part time growing the infrastructure, app ecosystem, and user base. Just completed launching a Twitter Event Recommendation Service Bot. The marketing and negotiation skills I learned in my side job helped me in my day job making me more successful in both. When I feel not motivated or tired, I play video-games specifically the Mass Effect series because it is Leadership training in a nutshell.

If you have the luxury to pick your job then the most important thing IMO is that you find something which interests you since you will derive your motivation from that. Everything else is secondary.

If you're doing something that doesn't interest you then it doesn't matter how good the other benefits are since you constantly have to use energy to motivate yourself. Then you won't produce something you're proud of which helps neither you or the company.

We have to assess what drives our motivation. There could be many factors. Forgetting those factors, may lead to a loss of motivation. Rekindling motivation is just remembering those factors, and then refining our action based on the present situation. Since you say you lost your motivation, that would imply you had possession of it before. But now you're trying to grasp for the previous motivation, when you just have generate it, anew.

Nothing happens if you don't make it happen. It's that simple, but this also means that you can't use the easy indicators for feedback. Everyone is waiting on the social approval, they got hired into a designed role that coddles and limits them, and so did you. That's why they and perhaps you look "dumb".

Go seek out a good conversation. About anything. What you should be doing now is finding ways to dream bigger.

One of the best ways that work for me is to join Slack communities with fellow solopreneurs. It sort of replaces the in-person get together at shared offices

For people who are feeling lack of motivation & bored. I am feeling the same.Infact, I don't know last when I felt motivated enough to do something. I don't want to continue like this anymore and I have decided to change my life.

One thing we can do is connect together & see if we can spike each other's interest by collaborating?

Please email me @ thinkmein2005@gmail.com or add in twitter @pantularajesh.

Get married and have childern. Raising children makes you think of more important issues than big money. You people in CA have really lost it.

> I wanted a leadership position at my company, but I was hired for a position that has no decision making power at all.

If you were hired then I'd say it isn't your company. A way forward may be to start your own company. Build your own enterprise instead of someone else's.

> Everyone here seems dumb and working on a few useless things.

I don't think that attitude shows leadership potential.

I'd advise you do some more charity work outside your normal job. That met give you lots of fulfillment. Spent your time outside work wisely. Like go to the gym, excercise, sport, eat healthily and hang out with people. That'll give you more fulfilment.

We can't get everything in life. Your idea of the "perfect job" is unrealistic.

My order of priorities: satisfaction, purpose (both are tightly connected) and finally enough money to make a living (see https://80000hours.org/articles/money-and-happiness/).

Find people who are passionate about things you are not, then help them succeed in their startup/idea/community. Do it many people at a time. Perhaps one of those people will have a project you can accelerate, and that passion/interest will rub off... or inspire you on another topic.

> no decision making power at all.

From my personal experience, that's the thing that really drains me most and I gather it's a well-known cause of stress (i.e. lack of autonomy). Might be an area you want to reflect on more. I've quit a company in the past for this reason.

Perfect is when your satisfaction come after done your goal! I mean, when you have your goals, you have motivation to done them and after you have satisfaction. By this plan you can become in leader. I hope you understood what I was trying to say)))))

You can try to do your job 10x faster, this will get you recognised and promoted in no time.

> I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction.

Do you?

If you did, you'd be motivated about that. But you aren't.

The problem is not really finding something outside, but changing something in yourself. It sounds like you think motivation comes from the outside.

Read more books, take a few days off and go on an actual vacation away from the computer.

Finally finally finally, when you do expire, whatever you have done in your lifetime is what you have traded your life for. The cost of a big dream, small dream and no dream is the same cost. The sum of your entire life. Dream big.

Sounds tricky. I would recommended you look into Stoicism: Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Boethius, etc.

I'm not saying you shouldn't keep seeking something, but the aforementioned might help you to decouple your happiness from it.

One of the most thoughtful things I've read on the topic of work satisfaction. I may actually help: https://sivers.org/balance

a) >Everyone here seems dumb and working on a few useless things.

Read: Barry Oshry - Seeing Systems https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1241559.Seeing_Systems

b) >I was hired for a position that has no decision making power at all. Power isn't given, power is taken. Trust is earned. Leadership = Power * Trust

but if a) is your current view, you can forget b) especially the trust part. if a) is true, then change the company, best start your own.

Paddle harder. Motivation is like wave/wind on the sea. Easier to get around with it, but we still have to move on with life even without it, even if it's harder, slower, or more painful.

Do you think college is challenging? I think your current situation is challenging. So I'd say - go ahead and tackle the crap out of it. Work on a solution to pull yourself out.

If you can find someone to look up to and try to get to their level, that may be one motivation. Also think of somethings you want to change in this world and work towards it.

You will rarely get all things on your wish list. More often than not, you'll get one and work your way up on the others.

The way I've dealt with burnouts and demotivation has been to identify the actual root cause and then take a decision;

- Option 1; leave it be (and maybe whine about it).

- Option 2; give up & move on to something else.

- Option 3; bite the bullet and work my way out of it.

9 times out of 10, I pick option 3.

As an example, I've been dealing with business development for a while, but I'm naturally more interested in product development and R&D.

I got stuck on option 1 for a while and tried a couple time (unsuccessfully) to go for option 2.

And for the past 6 months I've been working on option 3.

It's not glamorous and it requires a good deal of patience, but the opportunity to get to a place where I can automate/document/delegate myself out of it has kept me motivated enough.

I'm writing a business playbook [1], created a few sales decks and refined techniques on clients and colleagues to the point that I can train others. I have automated, documented and understood enough [2] that I can finally bring in a BD person and hand over my responsibilities.

I recommend you have a hard look at what really makes you unhappy and list your options.

From the limited understanding of your current situation, I'd say;

- Deal with it. You stay where you are and find a way to be ok with not being passionate about your job.

- Give up. Find another occupation, either now or after a while once you acquired new skills.

- Work your way out of it. Find a way to change your role at your company. Maybe you can automate, document and delegate. Maybe you can make yourself valuable enough to another team to force a promotion or re-assignment.

Additionally, I don't think I would recommend you to go back to school. I'm a lot more likely to trust and respect somebody who went on to learn new things on their own, especially considering you can virtually learn anything online these days.

[1]: http://playbook.wiredcraft.com/business/

[2]: http://playbook.wiredcraft.com/article/tools-methodologies-p...

Start playing music. (This is not a snarky comment, try it)

Talk to your superior and ask for projects you believe are challenging, will benefit the company and allow you to use your creative skills.

Talk to your boss.

Leave the tunnel. Go hiking. Get married & make some children. Do anything that accounts to your satisfaction. Then, go back to work.

Read four hour work week by Tim Ferris, I found the questions he asks in the book helped regain some motivation and excitement in life.

I take some time off and go scuba diving.

That's the best advice anyone could offer, I second this.

L-carnitine for "sourceless" depression

Otherwise you need to rethink your career choices. Good luck man!

in upper case letters: GO ON A LONG VACATION with as least planning as possible i.e. trip through south america, asia .... if you have family, take them with you!

gives you a new perspective, and perspective creates motivation

> I wanted a leadership position at my company, but I was hired for a position that has no decision making power at all. Everyone here seems dumb and working on a few useless things.

This sentence alone signals that you are not ready to be a leader. Contrary to what you probably think right now, being a leader sucks in many ways:

- You should be empowering to those around you. This starts by being constructive instead of judgemental. Find out what are their strengths and weaknesses, and tell them how you think they can improve instead of poking at their weak spots. You should strive to always keep this attitude, even when under pressure and/or during bad personal times.

- You must be a good listener. Try to understand your team member's motivations and desires, and how they think/react to what's coming to them. Be prepared to accept that other people's thought processes are very different from yours, and your job is to understand them instead of trying to change them. Even if you possessed the absolute truth about everything, trying to shoehorn that truth into their minds wouldn't work. They need to see that truth by themselves, so you can only try to steer them towards finding it. In some cases the way to do that is by providing arguments. Other times arguments won't do it and you must show them. Later on, once you're actually seen by them as a leader you'll be able to appeal to trust. Don't overuse that though because you are not perfect and will make mistakes, which will erode your trust if you used that to impose your opinion onto others.

- You should be prepared to deal with the worse bullshit that's thrown to your team. You don't need to deal with all bullshit, but your team should be confident that you'll be first in line if/when shit hits the fan, and that you'll do your best to cover them.

- You should lower your expectations about others. You must demand the highest standards from yourself, but not from others. Do what you can to help them improve instead.

- Don't overreact when you get stabbed in the back (which will happen at some point). Attribute any bad situation to ignorance/stupidity before malice. Always try speaking with people first, and over time you'll develop a "sense" to discern bad actors from misunderstandings. In any case, being stabbed is an opportunity to improve that "sense", and is always a better situation than initiating work-warfare against a person who acted in good faith.

In case you haven't noticed, you don't need any "leadership position" to put all that to practice. You can start doing it right now, and I assure you that leadership will follow naturally. People will start turning to you when they need help. People will start wanting and valuing your opinion much more. This will make you feel important and purposeful, but it will also be stressful and demanding. Be up to the task and the pay will follow.

Management Summary

"I need to find something with purpose,big money, and satisfaction"

Hold yoga poses long. Take strong patent medicine herbs. Knitting. Volunteering at an animal shelter. Cold showers. Realistic goals on the bench press. Scuba diving.

The answer has become clear.

Go for the money.

Fix and unfixable problem and get it done right.

Monopoly, 2 out of 3 ain't bad...

go out into the woods. live off the nature a few days. makes you apreciate a warm bed modern conforts

Double down and grind.

I want to quit

I found a huge improvement in my life by changing how I thought about conversations. I'm in a position (and have been in the past) where I _could_ make large decisions by fiat. But I don't. I discuss them with stakeholders.

In those discussions, I _could_ tell everybody my opinion, and tell them to take it or leave it. That works about as well as it sounds like it does.

I have in the past tried to convince people of my argument, with evidence, rhetoric, emotional pleas, what have you. Those work to various extents, but not as good as I might want. I'm no rhetorician.

Recently, I had an epiphany. The way it came about largely mirrors the idea itself - I had a discussion _about_ discussions (or perhaps, debates). And with a colleague I discovered that my usual victory condition (winning someone over to my side of an argument) was the wrong victory condition. There's a backstory there, but I won't get into it.

What I discovered instead was that I should focus on making sure the most information and understanding was on the table, out in the open.

My victory condition changed from winning the argument, to making sure that I and everyone else involved knew all of the things possible to be known about it.

In the process, I typically find that my original opinion was flawed, the opposing opinion was flawed, and we overlooked lots of opportunities.

You might think that it's easy to get to this condition with brainstorming techniques or something of that nature. But It's not so simple - there are widely known shortcomings to simple brainstorming, and most of the workarounds involve systems to do exactly what I'm talking about on a larger group scale, without everybody knowing it.

What I've found is that I can foster that environment with my own conversation. And that people will reciprocate if its done well, with the viewpoint of the other person(s) in mind. Read "The Entrepreneurial Engineer" for more on that subject.

Why am I telling you this when you are asking what to do about finding purpose, money, satisfaction, and decision making power?

Because none of those things are given away. They are built up of actions you take that affect your world. And you need to definitely start with the smallest of actions. If your coworkers are "dumb" and doing "useless" things - it sounds like there are tremendous opportunities to either A) learn why they aren't dumb or useless (they are after all making "good money"). or B) change things to being less dumb and useless.

But I read another point in your post. Motivation.

Motivation is a tricky one. I probably know and have tried all the things any book or website would tell you about motivation and productivity, because i'm the least motivated or productive person you will ever meet (or at least, I used to feel that way).

I learned something else really important recently. Actually, I re-learned it, it was something I knew in High School, that got me through college, but the lesson kinda disappeared somehow, got sunk.

I get depressed so much more easily than I think I do.

I suffer from constant low grade depression. Perhaps Dysthymia is the right word? Anyway, depression isn't sadness (you can find many places telling you this on the web). Depression is that hollowed out non-feeling. Nothing really jabs the "go" button.

I did two things that dramatically affected my depression, and I will suggest them to you. You may have different composition, and could easily need something different. Talk to a professional (I always highly recommend therapy, and psychiatric if needed).

I stopped drinking alcohol completely (BIG effect) and I started taking 5htp, which is a mild anti-depressant and also non-prescription, so easy to get ahold of, and it steadies things out.

Anyway, I've noticed a huge improvement in my motivation and productivity right away. The old 4.0 engineering student returned, if you will.

So, perhaps really you are putting the cart before the horse here, and need to look inside rather than for external satisfaction of these higher-order needs? Worst case scenario, you will be better prepared to achieve your self-actualization. Which, I have to say, I am in NO position to guess at what it's nature might end up being.

What kind of helpless self pity is this crap?

"I wanted a leadership position at THEIR company..." (fixed that for you)

It's not YOUR company, but THEIRS.

Incorporate your own company (couple hundred bucks) and list yourself as "President" on your linkedin.

Put together a bullshit website about your consulting services.

Start acting like a leader in your own affairs.

Mind YOUR OWN business.


Money solves almost all problems. For the remaining issues time and good health covers everything. I challenge anyone to show a convincing argument to the contrary.

Better get to $300k/year asap and let the other chumps have their "leadership position"

Money is great for solving problems where the problem relies on needing money (as David Mamet put it, "Everybody needs money. That's why they call it money"). After a certain point, however, the problems you are left with are either ones that more money cannot solve, or have only been caused by having too much money in the first place.

(I actually agree with the rest of what you say. Creating your own business, even if it's just a consultancy which serves little purpose other than to generate more money for yourself than working for someone else's business would do, is probably more than enough to keep most people occupied for a good spell.)

I have money and I'm in good health. I don't have a job, though, and I don't really have any motivation to do anything.

This works for me:

- Vitamin D... 4000 IU per day - 8 hours sleep - Lift weights 5 days a week. Yoga for 20 mins everyday - low carb/sugar diet - Decided on ambitious purpose in life

Saying you have no motivation is making it worse. I started saying something like "I'm imoroving my motivation..."

I get 50,000 IU every week like it says on the bottle. I sleep around 8 hours a day. I lift weights 3 times a week and I play football 1-3 times a week.

Saying I'm improving my motivation would be a lie. I'm not improving it and I can't lie to myself.

It's a lie to whom? And on what basis?

I'm seriously starting to think this was a troll post. Here's why:

- Entropy increases with time (body and muscle decay, etc)

- Yet you clearly stated you are getting better each day OBJECTIVELY (lift weights, football, earning money, etc) And by the way... there is only the current day. Everything else is an idea/memory/abstraction

- Then you say it is a lie that you are not motivated. Utter bullshit. The lie you are living is the idea that you would be lying by allowing yourself to be happy.

Feelings and thoughts do not matter, behavior does.

You clearly pointed out you have no big Mission or goals. You have your answer right there. Make an arbitrary decision to make your family, friends and community better in a massive way. DONE.

The difference between happy people and unhappy people... is that happy people just decide to tell themselves they are happy.

Oh, I have goals. I want to get a gf again.

What six primary fears? You're talking about something like I'm supposed to be aware of it. I googled it and different websites have different ones.

I don't really fear anything. Maybe I should?

Fear of death.

Fear of ill health.

Fear of the loss of love.

Fear of poverty.

Fear of old age.

Fear of criticism.

If you only have 4 or 5 of the fears, then you are already ahead. Squash the rest.


I'm glad you admitted you want a gf. I purposefully left that out in my comments above, but we caught each other's vibe.

Wanting a gf also isn't specific. Children or intercourse, intimacy, etc are actually measurable.

I want intimacy.

I don't have any of those fears. If I die, I die, I don't really care.

Also, I said I have money. I don't earn any, though.

> I get 50,000 IU every week like it says on the bottle.

I'm not a doctor but that sounds high enough to have side effects. Unless that dosage has been specifically recommended by a doctor, I think you should talk to a doctor about it before continuing to take that much Vitamin D.

Better, he should have his blood tested. I take 10,000 IU/day and my blood concentration routinely tests at the low normal edge. Individual responses, etc.

If the response and outcomes are individual then how do you know what an appropriate dose is in your particular case?

I really hope a doctor has prescribed that dose for you. Too much Vitamin D can damage your heart and kidneys. You should talk to a doctor about it if you haven't done so.

I got my blood tested and it was low. I'm getting the levels back up.

But your dosage has not been prescribed by a doctor? Self-prescribing is not a good idea. You could be causing damage to your heart and kidneys. You should talk to a doctor about it.

First of all, I've already been taking 50,000 IU, but only once a month. This was way low in the winter, and my vitamin D levels were low.

After I took the blood test, the endocrinologist told me to take the supplement once a week to increase my levels. So I actually did talk to a doctor about it. I don't know why you assume I didn't.

> I don't know why you assume I didn't.

I didn't assume. I asked.

With how unhappy you are in your job the lack of motivation is no mystery. You should find another job or found a startup or if you think it will be useful to what you want to do, sure get a degree.

I would caution though that usually when people say "Everyone here is stupid" it's usually not everyone else that's really the problem. This goes for my younger self as well.

> Should I create artificial challenge and try to get into MIT/Stanford for masters?

Yes, this is your best approach. Getting a Masters from MIT or Stanford will be the only way for you to find further satisfaction in your career. Good luck!

Substituted phenethylamines for motivation.

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