Why I Don’t Enjoy Activities – The Pitfall of Being Goal-Oriented

Ein Mann steht vor einem trennenden Weg. Mehr Geschäft und Stabilität oder mehr Lebensfreude.


Heads up: This article isn’t a guide on how to find joy in activities. Instead, it’s a collection of thoughts I keep pondering.

On Paper, I’m Doing Fine

Looking at my current life situation, everything should be okay. I’m generally healthy, have a job that allows me to work 30 hours a week and earn enough to cover my family’s living expenses. I’m married with two kids and own a house. I live in a stable country and don’t have to worry much about the future.

So, What’s the Issue?

Despite all this, I often feel depressed. I frequently have to force myself to work and don’t find joy in activities. When hanging out with friends or on outings, others seem to have much more fun than I do. To me, it feels almost indifferent.

When I think about why I can’t feel happy, I often come back to the thought: “I can’t be happy because I’m forced to work to support myself.”

But upon deeper reflection, that can’t be the reason. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been discontent, always feeling like I needed this or that to be satisfied.

A Bit About My Background

Happiness research says that you can work on your satisfaction level. How happy and content you are with your life is 50% genetics, 40% attitude, and 10% circumstances.

Elementary School

When I first read this and reflected on my life, I concluded that my genes weren’t too kind to my satisfaction level. I remember hating elementary school. Every morning, I’d go to school in a bad mood. During breaks, I’d think: “Back to the classroom, then another break, and back again… [sigh].”

High School

It actually got a bit better in high school. New subjects that I found interesting were added. Math wasn’t just about repetition anymore; it required understanding. Physics and later computer science were added. My overall mood improved, but I still viewed my school years negatively.

This continued into my senior years. But this time, I had a goal: “Once I’m done with high school, I can study what interests me. The uninteresting subjects and teachers will be gone. Then I’ll surely be happier.”


The advantage was that the uninteresting subjects were gone. But I quickly realized that the ease I had with math, physics, and computer science in school was gone. My math studies became more about hard work. The exercises and exam preparations required more discipline. The frustration quickly returned. But soon, I found another cause: My private life. I needed a partner.


Even during my studies, I met my now-wife and married her shortly after. Although it may be hard for most to understand, this decision worked out very well for me. I now have two children and am still very satisfied with my relationship.

Unfortunately, this satisfaction is limited to my relationship and not my life as a whole. Soon, I found another solution for my happiness: Once I start working and earning my own money, then at least the work will have a motivation that benefits me – “income.”


Work provided me with my first significant income. But I couldn’t really enjoy the money. Instead, responsibilities like buying a car came along. With the first child, the desire for a slightly bigger apartment and later a house needed to be “satisfied.”

But early in my employment, the idea of developing my own product surfaced. This product was supposed to bring me financial independence faster. With financial independence, I thought, I would become completely free in my decision-making about what I do during the day. That, in turn, was supposed to make me happy.

When the Dream of Self-Employment Doesn’t Come True

It’s been 14 years since the idea of financial independence came to me. I don’t know how my life would have turned out had I never had that goal. But looking back, I find it hard to believe that I had the right attitude and approach to this matter.

Looking back, I’ve repeatedly tried to turn ideas into projects and projects into profitable products for 14 years. There are 12 registered domain names and even more ideas that I started and then abandoned. The fact that it still hasn’t worked out after such a long time is very depressing.

I keep asking myself whether I shouldn’t have learned to enjoy life and live in the here and now. Because I never did. I always just tried to achieve things I didn’t yet have.

I keep hearing from business influencers who say that with enough hard work, you can achieve anything. Better to work hard for a few years and then live off the fruits, rather than be stuck in a rat race all your life. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those for whom it worked out. The statistics on failed businesses also say that I shouldn’t be an exception.

Are You Really Happy When You Have No Obligations?

So, I don’t know what it’s like to achieve the goal of financial independence. But slowly but surely, I’m having serious doubts. Because looking back at my life, I’ve always hoped that achieving a goal would make me happy. It never did. Why should it be any different with financial independence?

Am I Depressed?

I often wonder if I suffer from a form of chronic depression. Because my baseline mood has been mediocre to depressing my entire life. According to an article on happiness research, our subjective sense of happiness depends 50% on our genes, 40% on our own attitude, and 10% on external circumstances.

Since I was always in a bad mood as a child, I guess I wasn’t too lucky with my genes. But mistakenly, I’ve always tried to find my satisfaction in the 10% of external circumstances.

What Now?

I think it’s time for me to work on my attitude towards my own mood. To learn to accept that this negative mood is also a part of me. Once I’ve accepted that and no longer try to improve my mood through external influences like money, then I can start doing things because I want to do them, not because I’m hoping for a profit.

This includes my blog and this article here. I find that writing is therapeutic for me. It helps me sort out thoughts, think things through, and also let go of them once I’ve written them down.

What About You?

As the saying goes, “Fools learn from their mistakes, the intelligent from the mistakes of others, and the wise through observation.” I wonder if I’m the only fool who’s chased goals almost his entire life that ultimately didn’t make me happy.

Have you been in a similar situation? How did you break away from this path? What have you found to enrich your life?

I’m pretty sure there are one or two people who will find your story inspiring. If I’m lucky, your example might even help me. So, feel free to share your version and let me know in the comments.

Categorized as Allgemein

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