How A Boring, Unfulfilling Job Accidentally Revealed My Passions And A Meaningful Direction For My Life

I felt dead inside.

Isn’t life supposed to be exciting?

Yet here I was… locked up in a 9-5 cubicle, doing the same work every day, and bored out of my mind.

I just don’t know where to go with my life. I’d love to work on something meaningful, something I’d feel passionate about, to make a difference.

“Can you help me?”

A woman’s voice wakes me from my dazed boredom.

I look up and see a woman with a sweet smile. I recognize her – she’s from a few cubicles down. She says she wants to move some boxes downstairs to her car, but they’re too heavy for her to lift.

I say I’m glad to help! I take a break to help her move the boxes downstairs and load them into her car. It only takes a few minutes, but I could tell she really appreciated that I took time out for her.

And something weird happens.

I feel a tickle of joy. Not an overwhelming, ecstatic joy, but enough to feel good and want more of it.

It was refreshing. For the first time in a long time, I felt proud to make a direct contribution to someone’s life and see how it helped them.

I felt I had a reason for being in my cubicle at that specific time: to help her move boxes, even if it was only for a few minutes.

And I immediately discovered why I’d lost touch of my passions in the past, and what I had to do immediately to restore my passionate, excited self again.

“The Necrosis Effect”

Every cell in your body, from your hair to your lungs to your toes, has a finite lifespan. Your red blood cells live for 120 days. Your skin cells live for 30 days. Brain cells live for 50 years.

But every once in a while, a healthy cell dies before its scheduled time. Maybe you accidentally bruise yourself by bumping into a table. Or get a paper cut on your finger.

For whatever reason, when a cell doesn’t perform as usual and no longer contributes to the body, it effectively loses its “purpose” and is discarded.

Doctors call this “Necrosis”. The term is usually used to describe cells in a human body, but the same is true for your life among the 7 billion people in the world.

When you don’t have a clear, meaningful direction for your life of how to contribute to the world, you feel unfulfilled and dead inside because you don’t know your life’s “purpose”, its reason for living.

Because of “The Necrosis Effect”, you start to feel that you are not dedicating your time to an inspiring cause, and you lose your passion in everything you do.

Cells that undergo Necrosis end up dying. But luckily, you are not a cell – you’re a human. Which means you have the power to feel passionate right now if you want to.

The 2 Primary Ingredients To Feel Passionate Right Now

Passion and energy comes from two simple actions:

1. Growing

2. Giving

The fastest way to rejuvenate your passion and gain a meaningful direction for your life is to find a way to grow yourself or give to someone else, immediately.

Growing increases your passion because you naturally want to become better at what you do. When you find an activity you enjoy just for the sake of doing, life feels like a game, where you’re constantly leveling up. You progress toward a worthy ideal you are proud to strive for.

Giving makes you passionate because humans are naturally “tribal”: we are born to connect and contribute to others. We are really no different from the cells in your own body – we survive and thrive by connecting with other people and helping them improve their lives.

Passion is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. When you start to grow and give, you probably won’t feel a surge of passion immediately, but you’ll feel more and more passionate over time.

So if you’d like to ignite some passion in your life, ask yourself these two questions:

1. How can you become better at what you do? How can you become a master at your craft? Can you do it by being a better mother or father? A better friend? A better brother or sister?

2. How can you help someone else? How can you support another person with a problem or struggle they have? How can you give your time, love or energy to someone who doesn’t expect it?

When you focus on these two questions, you instantly “turn on the engine” to your natural passionate self.

If you’d like specific step-by-step advice on creating a clear life purpose based on your unique skills and talents, and meaningful work you can be highly paid to do (with insights from PickTheBrain editor-in-chief Erin Falconer and 6 top experts on passion and life purpose), watch this video series available (free) for PickTheBrain readers.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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