When you are older, you will learn that the first and foremost thing which any ordinary person does is nothing.
-- Professor Quirrel, HPMOR
Like, obviously I don't mean the above straightforwardly, which kind of just dodges the question, but I think the underlying generator of it points towards something real. In particular, I think that most of human behavior is guided by habit and following other people's examples. Very few humans are motivated by any form of explicit argument when it comes to their major life decisions and are instead primarily trying to stabilize their personal life, compete locally to get access to resources, and follow the example that other people around them have set and were socially rewarded for.
Concretely I think that humanity at large, in its choice of what it works on, should be modeled as an extremely sluggish system that tries to make minimal adjustments to its actions unless very strong forces compel it to (the industrial revolution was one such force, which did indeed reshape humanity's everyday life much more than basically any event before it*).
So, most of the people I would like to be working on the important things are following deeply entrenched paths that only shift slowly, mostly driven by habits, local satisficing and social precedence.