Motivation, direction, ambition and a lack thereof.

October 6, 2011
(graphic courtesy of Tumblr)

"There is no reason not to follow your heart."

"That's been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
(All quotes courtesy of Steve Jobs)

When I read inspiring quotes like this, it makes me even MORE anxious and panic-ridden about my current job. When will I ever find the courage/motivation/desire/ambition to change?

I am turning 35 this month. THIRTY FIVE. That seems like such a huge number to me, just looming over my head. When I turned 30, I made a promise to myself, to not waste my thirties working at the same job. I promised myself that I'd get out of my "comfortable rut" and find my passion and get a job I was happy with. Up until that point, I'd worked at the same job since right before my 25th birthday and I felt so bored, helpless, hopeless and completely directionless. I was terrified of turning into one of those people that is "stuck" at their job and the next thing you know, 30 years have passed and you're still sitting at the same desk, staring at the same 4 walls. I promised myself that I would never become that person. I promised myself that I would not waste my 30s behind the same desk where I wasted half my 20s.

Surprise surprise, I'm still here. Same job, same desk, same 4 walls, same boring routine. I've been here for 11 years now. It feels like a lifetime. Make no mistake that in this economy I am extremely grateful for having a job, a secure job at that. I realize that I am lucky in that I have a job, an easy one, and I get paid (albeit not too much) and have full benefits and all that good stuff. However, as with everything in life, there are pros for every con, negatives for every positive. I am extremely bored with this job. It is not challenging in any way, shape or form. It does not stimulate me. I could do this job with my eyes closed. I long for a job where I am pushed, where I am forced to be creative. I long for a job that invokes happiness and positivity, rather than dread and sadness. I want a job where I look forward to going to work, not one where I dread going to work because that means it's yet one more day that I have to figure out how to fill all 8 hours of my work day.

I want all of these things...yet I never do anything to achieve it. I'm comfortable in my daily mundane routine. Comfortably numb, honestly. I have all these desires and none of the motivation. I am completely lacking in ambition. Seriously. Can someone explain to me how to acquire said ambition and motivation? I don't want to be this lazy. I don't want to be this directionless but I am. I know that's not an excuse but I'm being honest here. I don't know what to do anymore or how to do it. I've got zero focus and zero ambition. I'm too old to be this aimless. I'm terrified of being 45, even 40, still stuck.

How does one follow their heart when they don't even know where their heart is going anymore? My personal life and relationships are perfect. I adore my home life and could not be happier- I just wish my work life could be half as amazing as my personal life is.


  1. Maybe instead of finding excitement, inspiration, drive, etc. from your job, you could find a club or group or volunteer somewhere that more closely fits with where your heart is leading you. Take a community-ed class? Look through craigslist and see if there is a photography group or something? You know that I'm in a similar place from you on the job front, so I had to find something that excited me and made me feel like 'me' outside of my job. Because UGH, job search SUCKS. Especially when you don't know which direction you want to go. Maybe some volunteer time or off-work time can lead to more fulfillment and who knows, maybe even a job opportunity.

  2. i think life is always about evolving. not just physically and emotionally... but everything. you ideals for life. hobbies. interests. everything changes with each decision in life. who you are now, is not who you were in your 20's. 20's you were a free spirit doing whatever you wanted and money wasnt really a problem. now you've grown up a bit more. you have a steady love and a furbaby. you have a house you need to take care of. money is an issue. youre smart to know that jobs are not a dime a dozen right now.
    you said youre comfortable. i think there'd be more of a problem if you werent. if you wanted to run away and just leave everything behind. i think the bored thing somes in when you've filled some of your dreams and goals and havent figured out yet whats next. look how long you wanted to be with mike. and now you are. you've wanted a puppy for so long and now you have one. i'm sure at one point in life having your photography in a gallery was a goal and you achieved that too. you've done some exciting things.
    i dont think work or a job is suppose to be totally fun. its a means to pay your bills. and i'm sure even with artists their work isnt fun. painting a portrait for someone on commission has to be as big of a pain in the ass as punching the clock. commission work and free time painting are 2 different mind sets.
    i think you been following your heart all along. when something comes up thats right for you when it comes to your jobby job you'll do what your heart tells you to. :)

  3. Work is work, you gotta have it to pay the bills, but start looking for something else. You won’t get anything until you start looking. It may take a while with the economy the way it is, but it will happen.

    In the meantime use your free time to do things that you love! When I was at a miserable job, I what kept me going was knowing that when I got home I’d be able to get to my real work, the work for me, my sewing. Get together with other creative people, they’ll get you motivated and help keep you going. Meeting like minded people has really helped me grow my own business and start new things that I love doing.

    I know getting out of the rut is the hardest part, but try at least once every weekend and before you know it, it will become a habit.


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