Motivation is very difficult for me, especially as I grow older. The relatively focused drive I had back in my late teens and early 20s has evaporated as I near my 30s. When I was young, everything was full of relative wonder and I had not yet come to believe that nothing can be truly stimulating and satisfying. I suppose I had goals back then, but they were nebulous and ill-defined. “Get my degrees and I can do … things,” I told myself. What things? I didn’t know then and I don’t know now. How the NT can plan into the future in a realistic fashion and summon the energy to see it through is beyond me. Why would I spend so much energy on anything when the end result is neither guaranteed nor stimulating and satisfying.
I feel like a junkie looking for some fix that will bring a true and lasting high. I scour through the possibilities that lie all around me, try each one on for size, and conclude that I really gained nothing. I suppose that the lack of long-term and realistic goals as well as the insatiable need for stimulation are the biggest drawbacks of the psychopathic condition. Now, ten years later, I’ve come full circle: “get another degree and I can do … things”. This is what I try and tell myself, but the nagging thought in the back of my mind remains. What things do I wish to do? Will I be stimulated enough along the way in order to see this nebulous goal through? Is there anything in life worth experiencing? I don’t mean this in a fatalistic or depressed sense, but in a logical one. When nothing registers as enough, how could I be motivated to move forward? How can I climb the stairs before me if I’ve convinced myself that they lead to a place that cannot be reached or if I otherwise do not know where they go?
Many psychopaths drift from unattainable goal to unattainable goal and/or from a state of restlessness to restlessness. I do not know how to properly convey this ennui to my neurotypical readers. It isn’t quite the same as being locked in a room with no windows and no light – for we have the world at our fingertips should we want it. Neither is it equivalent to being subjected to a lecture in infinite duration of which the topic is not interesting to the audience. We can find very fleeting satisfaction and enjoyment in the stimuli around us, but the positive feelings only last on the shortest of time scales. And, with each experience, the time the satisfaction lasts seems to grow shorter and shorter – tolerance in our junkie analogy. I can remember giving presentations at international conferences related to my former field and feeling melancholy within minutes of uttering my final words. My ego is insatiable and devours the “fuel” it requires nearly instantaneously.
I would probably resort to hedonism if I thought that it could bring me what amorphous or unrealistic goals and “progress” could not. I simply do not see the point, however and I suspect I diverge from many psychopaths on this front. I realize that it is not possible for myself to be satisfied. I realize that my efforts to reach such satisfaction are fruitless. I am left with a form of nihilism as I wonder what then can my life attain. Not just attain, but look fondly upon when I near my final breath.
I’m not one to give out inspirational messages, but I found a quote from Viktor Frankl to be especially relevant as I battle these inescapable feelings of melancholy. Referring the reader to his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, I nonetheless think of a paraphrased quote from it. “We have a responsibility to life.” This responsibility means using our gifts for those actions that no one else can possibly do. As such, I may not be amused with my inability to be motivated regarding the steps I need to take in order to reach goals that I cannot even define. However, I know that there are things that only I can do. If nothing is going to satisfy anyway, then why not move forward into the darkness hoping that there is a light somewhere therein? Turning around would only lead to the same darkness, but without any chance of elucidation.