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I have had so many family issues that they made me a "bad" person. In simple words, I don't care about anything. People, problems, life in general. I have no morality, no god, no nothing.

I am 20 years old and I feel like 90. I want to get things done. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the part of me that doesn't give a f***. My problem is my lack of motivation. I read all the books, the blogs, the articles.

I feel pumped in the moment, but then nothing. I lose my interest in what I was planning to do.

I need a scope, a purpose. I feel like nothing really matters in this life because of all the crap I came across.

I need to feel alive. I need something to achieve, a goal, a strong one. The problem with my goals so far is that once I achieve it, I feel empty. I don't know if it makes sense, but I enjoy more the "journey", the problem-solving towards achieving that particular goal then the goal itself. And that feeling of accomplishment... it doesn't last and I feel hopeless, again.


Here are some examples of goals that I have set for myself in the past:

1. Learning a programming language and writing a program that saves me time.

Took me 2 weeks but I came up with a Python script (about ~200 lines of code) that will save me massive amounts of time.

2. Be the best in the CCNA course that I currently take

I get 95%+ on the CCNA chapter exams, always know the answers to the instructor's questions, always now how/where to put the gear (switches, routers, etc). Of course, this is an "ongoing" goal, since I have to continue my study, but it's really not challenging when you are surrounded by ignorant people who only think that IT == Word of Warcraft

3. Read a book every week/two weeks

I got to Italy when I was 9, and even then I knew Italian better then Italians themselves. This is because I like to read and reading good form makes you write/speak in good form. Again, once I proved to myself/others that I am "the best" I continue this goal just for habit not for a challenge.

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10 Answers 10

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I have gone through what you've talking about and I can see myself through you.

First of all you are young, so 20 means 20. Don't be overwhelmed - it's common to be desperate and make things more dramatic than they are. What I did to overcome this? I made a list of achievements. I am in my 30's and I've always wanted to do things so, I hate wasting time to just work,consume and die. I created an excel file with years on the left and achievements on the right. Expand the years view and add 10 years to the bottom. What do you want to achieve the next 10 years? You can conquer the world in 3650 days !! And after all, when you'll look back you'll feel proud and happy about yourself.

Secondly, you don't know what motivates you, so try more things. There are endless things to do, see, hear, smell, feel, hate in this wonderful disgusting world and there's no chance you are going to do everything in your life so, just try new things that kick you away from your comfort zone. I just created a bucket list. You must have things that you'd like to do in your life, no matter how much impossible they are. Write them down.

Come in harmony with the world. There are many perceptions to see a thing and right or wrong is what YOU are making it to feel like. Nothing is "wrong". A knife can be a tool, a piece of trash or a weapon. How do you see life? Everyone is right for the things he's been through e.g. A person that has lost his relatives in war has all rights to hate people and you can't convince him of anything - just feel his pain and realise that we build our "worlds". Build yours.

I strongly believe that most of the depressed people are extremely smart ones. They just see more than the average eye can see and feel the stupidness of humanity. That's what I think of you also - idiots will turn a blind eye and say "everything is fine", "I love my country" or live the american dream. Screw them. You've just have to protect yourself and your sanity from the crap that's out there. Burn the tv, block the news websites and don't believe anyone. Being religious can only be a nice thing. Religious and psychotic is a bad one though. Research the religions and trust God.

Screw "motivation" related websites. They only want to sell you their crappy ebooks about being what you've wanted to be. I've been reading them for years - nothing changed and they keep writing the same shit over and over again. But they are right, it's business and they feed their children through this. Just don't buy. Most of those people are children of rich families that never had to work. You know how it is when you work 12 hrs/day and they try to sell you things like "get the body you want" or "escape the 9-5" etc. Come on, you're smarter than they are.

To summarise: Protect yourself, have goals, try new things. Don't listen to the sirens.

From the depths of my heart, I wish you good luck in your life.

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Thank you mate. You deserve the points. – Con7e Apr 1 '14 at 19:36

It sounds like the core of your issue is a need for frequent goals that stretch you, in order for you to feel challenged.

This is relatively straightforward to deal with:

  • rather than define a single long term goal, list the milestones that need to be completed in order to reach that end goal

This lets you focus in the near future with the frequent reward of completion for each milestone. Additionally, you can challenge yourself to hit milestones early, which can then bring the end goal forwards.

You will require some discipline around keeping your milestone queue full, and as you get near the goal, planning your next challenge so you don't have demotivating downtime.

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This is actually a really nice piece of advice. – Con7e Nov 25 '13 at 14:38

What I hear you saying is that you sometimes enjoy striving for a goal and solving problems to get there, but then when you reach your destination, the feeling of accomplishment does not last. I also hear you saying that it's hard for you to stay interested or inspired long enough to make progress on many things you thought you'd like to do. You also had some really difficult experiences growing up that have caused you to shut off emotionally from others (and from your own feelings, I suspect). You would really like to feel alive and able to accomplish exciting things.

I have worked in the personal development field for several years, and I can share a certain perspective, and also point you to further study if you are interested. This answer is not shallow or trivial. You may not like it, though, because it asks you to face yourself and do some exploring. In the end, only you will know if it is the answer you needed to hear.

I am going to go right to the heart of the matter, then. The effects of the things that happened with your family in the past are what is weighing you down the most. In short, you are burdened and deadened by hanging on to the things that happened in the past, and you won't forgive. I am not saying they deserve to have your forgiveness, but for you to hold onto your grudges is only hurting you, not them. Much of your creative energy and life force is wrapped up in keeping yourself insulated from those old hurts because they still have power over you, and they will continue to until you learn to forgive the past and take ownership of your part of those painful events.

You also may need to forgive your younger self for your part in those events. Maybe you did not heed your own intuition to protect yourself when you could have. Maybe you trusted the wrong people. Maybe you did something you knew would get you hurt, such as cross someone who was dangerous, but you did it anyway and then suffered the consequences.

There are definite advantages to not forgiving, which is why so many people don't do it. You get to be the "victim." You have an excuse to fail in life. You don't have to be personally accountable for your actions. Others owe you.

However, on that path you will still suffer. You will stay stuck, always wishing you could feel alive and be able to achieve your dreams.

On the other hand, when you forgive, you get relief from all sorts of mental, emotional, and even physical problems. You sleep better at night. You are happier more often. Your awareness and intelligence increase. Your creative energy and excitement for life are restored. You can create and pursue meaningful goals without getting discouraged.

There is a tried and true processes for forgiveness I can share with you. Don't worry, it does not require that you believe in God, talk to whoever victimized you, pray, or anything like that. It only requires that you take an honest and rational look at what happened to you in the past and do a little exploring from a new perspective.

If you are interested, let me know and I will point you to an online workbook where you can read and try the exercises in the privacy of your own home. I will not bother you afterwards, unless you decide to share with me how it went for you.

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Please, share with me the link Beverly, thank you for your time. – Con7e Nov 24 '13 at 7:54
@Con7e You may also like to have a look at "Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao" by Wayne Dyer. – Håkon Hægland Nov 24 '13 at 16:09
@HåkonHægland Mmm, I saw some references to god/religion. I will have a look to it anyways (I don't let bias get in my way) but if god is involved, it's not really for me. Thank you for your reply. – Con7e Nov 24 '13 at 16:18

Do something radical, change your life. Go travel the Andes for half a year. Join the peace core. Hike the PST. Enlist in the navy.

The world is a vast and fascinating place, see more of it. Meet new kinds of people. Do new kinds of labor. Get out of your comfort zone.

Don't sit around waiting for things to happen - stand up and make them happen. Read 'the alchemist' for inspiration. Read 'waiting' for more inspiration. Right now is good time for you to push your limits. Wait a few years, and settled into mediocrity for good.

Every one carries loads of baggage around. Could be better, could be much worse. Get over it by putting your mind wholly into completely different things.

Good luck!

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Presumably this is the Peace Corps being referred to: – Highly Irregular Jul 10 '14 at 3:19

Here are some steps I have decided for myself as I have been dealing with the same.

  1. Decide upon a long term goal. How do you want to serve the society? what skills would you develop? Just make a decision ASAP. This is the most important step.

  2. Make a very detailed plan to achieve that. Consider the house analogy: small bricks make a wall, walls make a room, rooms make a house. Small victories (bricks) make major victories (walls), major victories make an achievement (room), achievements make a life(house).

  3. Develop a daily routine. Stick to it with some thing like Seinfeld's method

  4. Use the procrastination equation to stay motivated:

Motivation = (Expectancy * value)/(impulsiveness * delay)

Expectancy : Increase expectancy out of the work

Value: Increase the value of the work by making it pleasurable

Impulsiveness: Decrease it by blocking everything that diverts, keep visualizing and thinking about the goals

Delay: Delay in getting the reward for the activity, decrease it to your optimum level.

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How can I deal with a delay of months or even years? Getting to the top takes time and effort, how do I stay motivated until then? – Con7e Nov 25 '13 at 12:24
use rewards for small steps. Reward yourself something for taking one small step towards the goal which is after some months. It helps me. – Praveer N Nov 25 '13 at 15:09

Honestly, I have never had this problem, but I have puzzled over a lot of others who do. Your question is very broad, but let me suggest a couple of avenues to pursue.

First, don't underestimate the role of exposure in one's education. While academics and practical skills are important, many people have felt stuck in their life until some school course or random experience exposed them to the topic that really resonated with them. I have read of under-achievers turning into A students and PhD's, starting businesses, etc. Discovering a topic you're passionate about can be life-changing.

So look for ways to mix things up and get outside your normal zones - travel, take random courses (things you would never sign up for), join groups on meetup, etc. If you're technically-inclined, try taking an art class, or vice-versa.

Second, realize that there are many different media that you can work in. Programmers work in code, novelists write prose, movie makers work in video. Look for a medium that makes sense to you. There are millions of people who love to work on wood projects, for example. Even if the first medium you discover doesn't lead to a career, it will teach you new things about yourself.

Ultimately, that is what you need!

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Man, I feel your pain.

Something that helped me a lot was to travel abroad. It just opened my horizons and I had a whole bunch of experiences that changed the way I see things and what I want from life.

So, go chill out your head if you can. Go travel a bit! (if you can't, maybe try a different sport; you might even fall in love with it)

When you do that, just have some time to yourself. Try not to set any goals, just live. Then, you probably will clear things up, and reach the point were you can ask yourself: really, what do I want from life? and what I'm going to do about it?

Really, you gotta find what keeps you moving on. Might not be specific to one thing you do, but maybe something like: live in peace; help others/worlds; be a champion in this; travel the world; just have a family/kids/good house (focusing on family); practicing radical sports; be the best on some area; etc;

But, if you chill out, set a goal/some goals for your life and you are still not motivated you maybe have to dig out what is wrong. Maybe you are depressed, in a sense that you have depression or bipolarity. It's not that uncommon. Or maybe you just need to give it some more time. But anyways, in that case, go see a doctor. A psychologist might help you organize your thoughts, your life.

I also haven't really found out myself, but I guess I'm in the process and while on it, I'm doing the best I can. Also, I try to focus on doing more the things I like and eliminate what I don't like and the bad habits.

Just DON'T get in despair. Ask for help from friends and family too. And have patience.

Good luck!

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You are seeking something more fulfilling, higher or deeper or more meaningful for yourself. That is huge, at your age. Will it remain constant? Probably not.

How will you find what it is? Meditation. .. Deep introspection, contemplation and external experimentation.

More importantly, if you can find, create and maintain an unconditional state of being that carries a happy and blissful energy / vibe irrespective of the activity then you can keep changing activities but not lose your permanent bliss or state of being.

Pick up any kind of meditation or try this one that I've tried.

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I'm no expert, but you sound like you're in a very extreme version of where I often find myself. Here's what I try to do (it seems to work pretty well):

  1. Be selfish: think about what you want to get out of life in general. This becomes your purpose. Don't get too crazy about it, and definitely don't let it control you, but use this as the long-term moral to your life's story arc. Let it define you. Mine: use technology to make people smile and help them enjoy the good things in life.

  2. Set milestones: set long-term goals that tie into that purpose. Find things that you can accomplish that will feed directly into that definition you've set for yourself. I'm currently working towards becoming a Creative Director for Digital Product.

  3. Plan small steps: identify little things that will get you closer to your current milestone. These can be short term, long term, mid-term, or a mixture. Short-term, I'm working on building my body of work through side projects. Longer-term, I'm making moves at my company to move from my development role into more of a design role.

  4. Find peers / get a mentor: having someone who can even just hold you accountable and give you a little nudge here and there can do wonders for helping you maintain your sense of direction.

  5. Be flexible: remember that things might change. Remember that you might change. Always be open to re-evaluating your current steps and milestones. Even take a step back from time to time and confirm your core purpose. Make sure everything still lines up.

Just remember to never give up. Decide what you want and go for it. Establishing that core reason is probably the most important step.

Knowing what you stand for (the moral to your story arc) is what helps with this:

I feel pumped in the moment, but then nothing. I lose my interest in what I was planning to do.

I need a scope, a purpose. I feel like nothing really matters in this life because of all the crap I came across.

Good luck, do great things.

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As I see it, you have so far avoided your life's mission and evaded thinking about the ultimate goal. These things give you power and inexhaustible enthusiasm, independent on any circumstances.

From the question I see that your mission is a BIG one.

Everyone has a life mission

(And all the facilities to achieve it, but normally you would not see them.) Western scientists have been drilling people that existence is meaningless and there is no higher authority and thus drive them into despondency, but that IS NOT TRUE. There is ultimate reality, the supreme absolute, and everyone potentially has access to it, but must follow certain rules to keep the happiness circulating. The varnāšrama civilization system given in the vedas (scriptures) prescribes 4 types of duties to people, according to their development of consciousness:

  1. purity. Respect others. Concentrate on your task. Result: stability. You will always be welcome in society and appreciated by others.
  2. compassion. Share the resources you have, and the flow of resources will only increase. Result: prosperity. You will routinely be entrusted by others to manage the common resources.
  3. austerity. Sacrifice small comforts for the higher goals, and you will be able to achieve any goal at will. Result: influence. People will naturally consider you their leader.
  4. reality. Accept the world as it is, without distortion, and the world will accept you. Result: complete freedom. Independence. Actually, the God will accept you, and as soon as you recognize Him, by His mercy you become free from material conditions (like death, diseases, mental and bodily limitations). From the viewpoint of ordinary people you become godly or divine.

Apply these principles of civilization (in that sequence), and you will be motivated till the end of your life! (I am assembling a book on this topic and there is a lot of detailed material.)

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