I'd be curious to hear stories of people who have successfully become more hard-working, especially if they started out as not particularly hard-working. Types of things I can imagine playing a role or know have played a role for some people:

  • Switching roles to something that is conducive to hard work, e.g. a fast-paced environment with lots of concrete tasks and fires to put out.
  • Medication, e.g. ADHD medication
  • Internal work, e.g. specific types of therapy, meditation, self-help reading, or other types of reflection.
  • Productivity hacks, e.g. more accountability, putting specific systems in place
  • Motivational events, arguments, or life periods, e.g. working a normal corporate jobs where long hours are expected
  • Switching work environment to something that is conducive to hard work, e.g. always working in an office with others who hold you accountable

This curiosity was triggered by realising that I know of very few people that have become substantially harder-working over their late adolescence/adult life. I also noticed that the few people that I know successfully and seemingly permanently increased their mental health/work satisfaction always were hard-working even when they were unhappy (unless they were in the middle of burn-out or similar).

People becoming more hard-working seems really useful but I haven't seen much in terms of evidence that it's feasible or effective methods. If there are books or studies on this topic, those would also be welcome. Thank you!

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I'm the kind of person who seems to do really badly in typical office environments. I also found that while working on my attempt at a startup, I was very easily able to regularly put in 16-hour days and wasn't really bothered by it at all. But then my startup attempt totally failed, so maybe I wasn't actually doing very good work?

Regardless, what works for me is basically all based on lots of tested self-knowledge.

For example, I like making my environment hyper-comfy. I do better work in my pyjamas, on my laptop in bed, with a mug of coffee in hand. I also do great work curled up under a tree in the park with some cake. This is totally the opposite of what I've heard from other people - that putting on a suit and going into the office helps them. But for me, it's like anything my brain categorises as "work" is aversive and I don't want to do it, but anything my brain categorises as "not work" is fun and easy. It turns out that doing graphic design in my bed is "not work", but doing it in anything resembling an office building is "work". For me. You might have the opposite experience! So I think my advice is less "put your pyjamas on" and more "acquire a level of self-knowledge where you know whether you work better in pyjamas or in a suit, because you've checked".

I think it's also really important to ignore all the bad techniques that people suggest. For example, for years I followed advice like "tell yourself that if you just do the task for only five minutes, you can reward yourself with chocolate afterwards". I think this is terrible and bad and caused long-term damage to my productivity, because it essentially involves accepting this framework of "work is suffering and aversive and terrible, but if you suffer through it, then your life can be nice again afterwards". This is a bad framing! It's really important to me to affirm that work is rewarding or fulfilling or fun, it's something I'm interested in or passionate about, I want to do it, etc - and if I don't believe those things, I need to notice that and treat it as an alarm and dig into what the problem is, not take it for granted like a background truth! I basically spent years reinforcing the belief "if getting something done is important for your goals, then it's Work, which means it's inherently unpleasant and aversive" and I now think that's just about the worst thing you can believe. I notice myself feeling aversive about doing something for no other reason than that doing that thing would accomplish my long-term goals. But the same task, if categorised as "not work", becomes fun and enjoyable. Now I really try to avoid the bad strategy, and instead think, "I'll sit under the trees in this beautiful park and get this task done on my laptop while munching these delicious chocolates and it'll be great," NOT "I'll just finish this hateful aversive task and then I can have chocolate and go to the park afterwards".

I also now actively try to avoid advice like "take breaks to avoid burnout" because I've noticed that it hurts me; if I mentally categorise a task as "the sort of unpleasant work that I'd need to take breaks from" then I'll be less likely to do it. Just telling myself "this task isn't actually unpleasant, so I don't want to take any breaks from it, because I'm enjoying doing the task more than I'd enjoy taking a break" seems like it sometimes just... makes that thing true. And also, taking "breaks" seems to mostly be harmful to me, because I end up doing things (like mindlessly scrolling Twitter) which are net harmful to my mental state. It's much more important for me to actively pursue enjoyable things, and to very rarely try to "rest", because my brain seems to think that being really miserable counts as "rest" so long as I just avoid doing anything. Joy requires work - even if it's just "if I want to experience the joy of going to the Botanic Gardens, I gotta shower and put shoes on".

And I also strongly experience something I call "momentum" - doing one task makes it easier to do another, and succeeding at several tasks makes it seem more fun and enjoyable to do the next task. So, rather than taking a break, I need tasks that have low activation costs and high completion chances, to bootstrap a success spiral. Things like having Duolingo on my phone, so when my brain tells me it's tired, I have a small easy task I can do - "complete a Duolingo lesson". Then I don't fall into the negative spiral - lying in bed and scrolling Twitter, which makes me feel worse, which makes me feel a stronger need to take a break, which makes me scroll Twitter more, which makes me feel worse, etc. Instead I get into a positive spiral - completing my Duolingo lesson successfully, which makes me feel accomplished and a bit energised, which makes it easier to start a second task, which gets me into flow, so it's easier to start a third task...

But some people would be incredibly miserable if they tried to make that work for them, and would literally hospitalise themselves if they tried to minimise the amount of breaks they get and also rest less, so, like, YMMV and you should just test the things that actually work for you. I suspect I'm weird. I also suspect I'm literally never going to be able to make offices work for me, and normal employment kinda sucks. But I only know that about myself because I tried being employed in an open office and I was like wow, this sucks so much!

If things aren't working yet, you should probably test more things! Get all the ideas, figure out your specific quirks, test out what works for you (which might be the literal opposite of what works for someone else), try to be actively curious in the "hmm I wonder what would happen if I poked this with a stick?" sense.

Thank you. This answer was both insightful and felt like a warm hug somehow.

it appears there is no heart react on LessWrong, which is sad because I want to give this comment a lil <3
There’s an empathy reaction which looks like a heart, if you want that.

Not for myself, but for my brother: he went from not hard-working at all (barely worked, had no direction) to more ambitious working levels (~50 hour weeks, big ambitions).

The trigger was mostly a few conversations with his big brother (me) about what he wanted to do with his life (when he was a high-school senior with grades low enough he couldn’t go to university), giving him the Four-Hour Work-Week, and then giving him a bit of direction on next steps once he became obsessed with the idea of building his own business.

From that point on, it was a night-and-day difference in work ethic (he has been building businesses since then and working in the PE/SaaS space, he‘s working towards building his own private equity firm). He had essentially never read a book in his life, and then started devouring business and self-improvement books/courses daily. The great thing is that he was taking action, not just reading the books.

giving him the Four-Hour Work-Week


he went from not hard-working at all (barely worked, had no direction) to more ambitious working levels (~50 hour weeks, big ambitions)

This made me chuckle

Obtaining an Adderall prescription.

I use Done, and can recommend messaging their support to switch you to RxOutreach (a service that mails you your medication) if you live in an area with Adderall shortages, like, say, the Bay Area.

There's a distinction I noticed in task variance that I've been calling 'actually deciding.' When I haven't actually decided to do something most of my efforts are (usually in retrospect) attempts to weasel my way out of any downside costs. This often gets disguised as other things like optimizing or seeking advice. When I have actually decided it's because there was a moment of emotional clarity in which I confronted and accepted the costs, after which I stop the extra wasted movements.

Do you have some examples? Maybe examples of the before-deciding (when you're weaseling) and the after-deciding?

When considering whether to move my business to a different state, i was in a period of weaseling lasting about 2 years. Various other excuses were generated at runtime but the underlying mental motion was a somewhat illogical hope that things would change such that I wouldn't have to put in the concentrated effort to do the move. The moment of clarity involved both acknowledging that the total work was small relative to the total benefit, but also not dismissing the costs as real and substantial in how I spend my time for 6 months. After deciding, it becomes something that can freely intermix with other priorities. I'm not going to always drop everything for it, but I will respond to related emails immediately and make myself available for scheduling with the relevant people without additional balking.

I experience something similar. On some work days, I might rotating somewhat distractedly between tasks. In this state of task-rotation, I find that I am not very focused or motivated. However, when I formally decide that I am going to Do This Thing, And Only This Thing (where the "thing" is usually my most pressing obligation), I usually gain a moderate productivity boost and the quality of my work typically rises as well. There is a cost to making this decision, though, and that cost consists of creating the psychological state necessary to "focus up and decide", which consists partially of taking a moment to ignore the nagging "false urgencies", i.e. my other obligations.

I think I became pretty significantly harder working. Here's my actual history:

  • Early/mid-twenties: Working at an advertising firm, developing coding tools. On average I think I worked 2-4 hours most days, doing a lot of facebook/etc at my day job. I did sometimes work much more/harder when there was either a particularly interesting project or a client with a tight deadline.
    • I was frequently trying various hacks like Beeminder, accountability buddies, or Chrome extensions that "sort of" blocked distracting websites but were easy to circumvent.
  • Late twenties: Worked at a startup. I had some kind of "unlock" that bumped me up to more like 6-7 hour days, that came from a combination of:
    • the work itself being more meaningful along many axes
    • discovering the apps Self Control and Freedom.to (which block distracting websites). 
    • I think both the previous pieces were necessary. Without the meaningful work, I think I would have been sufficiently motivated to route around Self Control (i.e. finding new distractions even if the other ones remained blocked, or just disabling it). Without Self Control, I think some bad habits would have made it hard to get invested in the meaningful work.
  • 30ish. Worked at Spotify in the IT department. This work was a lot less intrinsically meaningful, but I think I had established a better set of habits for myself and I was able to find meaning in "leveling up at coding" even if I didn't care much about the product. 
    • I think I probably worked like 4-6 hour days here (while also doing random other stuff during the day that I cared about more facebook but which wasn't related to my real job)
  • (Throughout all of this I'd periodically work more intensely on short projects I cared about, for like 1-2 months at a time)
  • Early 30s. I moved to Berkeley and joined LessWrong. I think I was probably doing 6-7 hours of "real work" during a day, although it gets tricky because there's a lot of discussion/philosophizing involved which wasn't "focused work" but was an actual part of the job.
  • Mid 30s. LessWrong re-orgs into Lightcone. We do a lot of types of work that is less cognitively demanding but is more physically demanding. It involves a lot of 12 hour days for weeks on end. It's very draining/burnouty for me, although I think it would have felt a lot less so if they were more like 10 hour days and I felt like I had more control over them.
  • I "quit" the campus team, shift back to LessWrong work. I think I mostly work "6-7 real work hours" each day, but a couple times a year have months where I'm working more like 10-12 hour days 6 days a week (in situations where I'm particularly "in-flow", or I care a lot about the outcome)
  • Most recently: when I did my Thinking Physics sprint recently, I was really only able to do like 4 hours of "thinking work" a day, and I felt completely wrecked in the evening. In some sense this is "the hardest I've ever did 'thinking' work" where I was constantly on the edge of my ability. I heard from a coworking that this felt similar to when they were doing "fulltime Research."

Are Self Control and Freedom.to for different purposes or the same? Should I try multiple app/website blockers till I find one that's right for me, or is there an agreed upon best one that I can just adopt with no experimentation?

Freedom is overall best (it syncs across your devices and can block apps on desktop), but self control had a different mechanism that was harder to circumvent
Used to be. Now Freedom is a lot better. They have an app to block you from your phone’s and tablet’s apps/websites (on top of your computer’s websites and apps). Self Control only blocks websites on mac. Self Control is free, but Freedom is worth paying for imo. And you can create custom block lists and scheduled block time in Freedom. I used to use Cold Turkey, which I liked, but Freedom is much better.

Poverty was my answer in my early 20s [much later edit: not actual poverty - it felt very unpleasant, but it was "cut down on partying" sort, not "sleep on the streets"].  I needed a job, and worked as a laborer on commercial construction projects, including a summer at Dutch Harbor, Alaska pouring foundations for fish processing plants.  Failing to work hard was simply not an option to remain employed and not hated by my coworkers (the latter being a durable motivation).

Over the longer term, as I became a sysadmin and then software engineer, I needed more internal and less external motivation to be effective at my work (and at home, where I tend to satisfice rather than optimize).  I've found that the pretty standard nerd motivations work well: liking my coworkers, interesting large-scale puzzles with both learning and teaching opportunities, and product or results that I can convince myself are worth pursuing.  

I think the biggest shift was in my late 20s, when I truly accepted that I'd be working (fairly) hard for the rest of my life.  The topics and specifics have changed multiple times, and the ratio varies somewhat, but the basic mix of fun/rewarding and "just work", both of which require attention and effort, has been pretty constant.

I'm both inspired and curious, as someone who's attempting a mid-career change -- how did you go from being a laborer on commercial construction projects to sysadmin?

Partly, I'm old and it was a different world then.  But I've done a bunch of interviewing and hiring for very large companies, and it still does happen that smart, self-aware people come into software development somewhat indirectly.   I started as a laborer in the summer after high school, with a full-time year after dropping out of state college (where I thought I was studying chemistry, but after 2 years realized 1) I didn't care that much and 2) I was going to need to be in school a LONG time to get anywhere.  Oh, and 3) the university asked me not to return, given my poor attendance and grades). A fair number of labor-intensive jobs are well-suited for part-time or intermittent work, so possible to do while going to school for the basics (community college or some state schools).  There are still lots of small businesses who need computers set up and administered, often as a side-gig for some other job you're doing for them.  If you're good at it, you can ladder that to full-time sysadmin, sometimes with light development or app customization work.  I started a PC-assembly company, which still exists (though it's not particularly successful), and then got hired by a customer.  I worked as sales-support for an accounting and small-manufacturing MRP system, and wrote truly horrific add-on bits for labor planning and job tracking, because a customer needed it and it scratched an itch.Those jobs didn't pay more than laborer, but they were a lot more fun, and indoors, and I could see myself there long-term (either in the computer side, or in the business side - I ALMOST went and got my PMI cert in order to manage shop floors of manufacturing/assembly companies).   I figure it probably cost me 12-15 years post high-school of bouncing around and self-directed education and improvement to get to a medium-sized "real" software developement job, compared to the typical CS degree that costs 4 years but gets a good starter software job and puts you on the right track imm

I've recently been trying 2-3mg of desoxyn, and that's been a clear improvement.

Thanks, I hadn't actually heard of this one before!

edit: Any takes on addictiveness/other potential side effects so far?

2Ben Pace8d
Not noticed anything. Once I got quite sad in the evening as I came down from it.

I went from being at a normal level of hard-working (for a high schooler under the college admissions pressure-cooker) to what most would consider an insane level.

The first trigger was going to a summer program after my junior year where I met people like @jsteinhardt who were much smarter and more accomplished than me. That cued a senior year of learning advanced math very quickly to try to catch up.

Then I didn't get into my college of choice and got a giant chip on my shoulder. I constantly felt I had to be accomplishing more, and merely outdoing my peers at the school I did wind up going to wasn't enough. Every semester, I'd say to myself "The me of this semester is going to make the me of last semester look like a slacker."

That was not a sustainable source of pressure because, in a sense, I won, and my bio now reads like the kind I used to envy. I still work very hard, but I only have the positive desire to achieve, rather than the negative desire to escape a feeling of mediocrity.

In high school, I played hours of video games every week. That's unimaginable to me now.

My freshman year, I spent most of the day every Saturday hanging out with board game club. Now that seems insanely decadent.

A few things come to mind:

  • Doing a lot of self work, therapy, and meditation to overcome various fears and anxieties that were not only big drags on my life but also got in the way moment to moment to make it hard to just do things rather than be seized with worry about how it could go wrong
  • Working on things I care about. I find it hard to be motivated when I don't value the outcomes of my work. Finding work aligned with my motivations makes me way more productive.
  • Lots of tools and systems to get the tactics of productivity right. This can be a rabbit hole, but the two books I found most useful were Getting Things Done and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

In estimated order of importance:

  • Just trying harder for years to build better habits (i.e., not giving up on boosting my productivity as a lost cause)
  • Time tracking
  • (Trying to) abandon social media
  • Exercising (running)
  • Having a better understanding of how to achieve my goals
  • Socializing with more productive people
  • Accepting real responsibilities that makes me accountable to other people
  • Keeping a daily journal of what I have spent each day doing (high-level as opposed to the low-level time tracking above)

The first two seem the fundamental ones, really. Some of the rest naturally follow from those two (for me).

Keeping a work diary helps. A work diary can be just quick notes, comments or ideas that you don't mind looking back on later. After long enough you'll find that you want to be more ambitious regarding time spent and the quality of the work you're doing and plans you may have for the future.

Adderall microdosing: https://www.reddit.com/r/Stims/comments/3mbp3n/be_very_careful_with_low_doses_of_stimulants/

[I used to take heavier doses, but the neurotoxicity/tolerance risk was too much so I took a long break. Since then I found that loads of coffee/caffeine + a very small dose of Adderall seems to do the trick]

Also, Neuromyst tDCS/tACS (40Hz, 3.7 mA)




I used Boss as a Service combined with Beeminder to give myself a lot of accountability.

I am not hard working, but I had bursts of working significantly harder than usual.

Not sure how much you can benefit from my example, because I suspect that people are quite different about these things. Things that other people report working for them, or things that people use to make other people work harder, often fail completely for me.

Things that work for me:

  • autonomy
  • removing other obstacles and distractions from my life
  • do not interrupt me after I have started working
  • someone friendly I can talk to about the project

Things that "should" work for me, but actually don't:

  • external threats (they kinda work now, but it is a loan from tomorrow's work)
  • motivational speeches and platitudes
  • pomodoro, beeminder, web blockers
  • giving myself chocolate as a reward

Seems like the common theme is that external motivation does not work for me, internal motivation does, and social motivation does too if I perceive it as coming from an aligned source (but not when it is obvious manipulation or a kind of threat).

In general I procrastinate a lot with starting the work, but once I start, it feels like I could work endlessly unless I am interrupted. (When I was single and childless, I could spend an entire weekend working on my project, interrupted only by food and sleep. That kind of interruption is not a problem. Problem is the kind of interruption that requires me to solve some other problem.) Once I am interrupted, it is difficult to start again. If I am interrupted repeatedly, I begin expecting to be interrupted again, which makes it even more difficult to start.

On the dimension of "alone - not alone", I work best when you leave me alone when I need it, and provide me company when I need it. (If you had a group of people like me, a good workplace would be a small private quiet room for everyone, and a larger common room to take breaks and talk about work to each other.)

Giving myself rewards fails completely, because the reward becomes yet another thing that distracts me. (Now I have two jobs: the original job, and rationing the rewards.) I work better when I forget about possible rewards and just focus on the work. Similarly, pomodoro, beeminder, or web blockers annoy me, and then I cannot focus on my work over how annoyed I am.

EDIT: Keeping written notes makes it easier to continue the next day. Actually, even if I am going to do it right now, I sometimes write the outline first.

I need to distinguish: To-do lists, in the sense of "dozen unrelated tasks that I should all do today" do not work for me (the problem is finding the energy to actually do it), but project-oriented lists "dozen things I want to do on this specific project" are useful. (Intuitively, the "daily to-do list" is like my boss, the "project to-do" is like a colleague.)

For me it was a medication for my bipolar disorder quetiapine

One approach that sometimes works for me is to identify the forms of wasting time that I use most often to avoid working, and then promise my girlfriend I won’t engage in them for a set period of time. I find that this works a lot better than just trying to make an individual commitment because if I engage in one of the forms of wasting time, I’ll have broken a promise to my girlfriend, and I intrinsically really highly value being honest with the people I love.

Hi Chi, it seems you're talking purely about personality of hardworking, and not focusing too much of its positive/negative outcome, isn't it? Is working hard until burnout still considered within your definition?

If that's the case, then I recommend reading some LW sequences of building habit. Many users shared their own stories there.

P/S: hello my fellow countryman.

I've always had a lot of ambition and energy but didn't have the executive function or focus to really channel it. I had quite a few breakthroughs, most of which came after intensive meditation and ADHD medication (Ritalin+serotonin and gaba stuff for my gut).

I have a seriously weird brain from what I gather from other people. I found certain exercise practices worked very well to pump me up while calming and focusing my mind, a lot of it is about the duration. Always having an ability to focus after working out I use that to my advantage, I do what is called Greasing the Grooves which I believe was created by strength trainer pavel tsatsouline. Essentially you just do 5 reps, good form, but for explosive strength for whatever exercise you're doing but then you rest for 15+ minutes. The magic is you repeat this for a really long time. I will do 5 reps of several exercises to hit my whole body then wait 15 or more minutes and i will repeat this for something like 6 hours and in between I will have incredible ability to focus on any task I set myself.

I also meditate fairly often and do a specific thing EY mentioned which is to set a 5 minute timer and work on a problem if I'm stuck. It did wonders for me personally.

With my weird adhd I find that standard advice doesn't work for me. Some people say to focus on only one thing, yet I always struggled reading a book, but then i read on a stationary bike and it was trivially easy. I do this in a lot of things. People say to focus on 1 project and thats it, I listen to Isaac Asimov who would force himself to write for 9 hours a day without really stopping. He could switch projects but not stop. I do that, I keep focusing and im allowed to switch to another project but I just have to keep going. It's done wonders for me personally.

I also like to listen to music with sound proof earphones, a lot of classical techno etc. Sometimes the same few songs on repeat over and over, but nothing to vocally (usually).

I think a lot of this comes down to what you is your drive. I have a lot of ambition and endless ideas but the problem I have is consistency, I'll write for 9 hours one day on a story I'm passionate about then forget about it for like 3 weeks and its the same for most things. It works really well in super busy projects where I'm managing large teams, but stuff on my own where i dont hire people it's a different story. But i have a extremely strong drive to help as many people as I can and that seems to motivate me a lot.

I've followed a lot of cricket and football over the years and noticed that a certain kind of positive mindset can get surprising results e.g 'Bazball' so I've tried to challenge myself to weed out unnecessary negative judgements and I do think that had improved my productivity (I get that sometimes that stuff is cringe).

I've developed a personal view of freedom which makes space for joined-up decisions over years and decades, whereas before I had a strong prior on anything which didn't feel good being an insult to my liberty. As a by-product I am more productive now, but it had to happen in that order.

Seconding Neuromyst. Very underrated intervention

Would you be able to expand on the first bullet? What were the fears, and what are some examples of how they manifested? What did you find most useful to solve them?

I ask because I massively recognise myself in that description, but have always found it hard to put my finger on what I'm actually afraid of/put off by.

Over the past year, I've seen a pretty large productivity increase.

I think it's been a combination of doing lots of mindfulness meditation with other productivity tools stacked on top (tracking my time, time blocking using google calendar, having a task management system, Focusmate). Introspective habits such as journaling and more clearly defining my values and goals have probably also contributed.

I also think I've had a driven personality since I was young. However, his drive wasn't always effectively channeled due to social media and other distractions.

I found that installing 3 website blockers at once on my laptop worked for me: the same way you use multiple anti-biotics at once to combat resistance. I might’ve trained myself to disable 1, then disable 2, then disable 3 if I added another whenever I realized the blocking wasn’t working: but by adding all 3 at once I wasn’t going to unblock all 3. Now it’s been long enough I’ve probably forgotten what I’d even need to do to unblock it.

My trajectory has been pretty similar to Raemon's. In my early-to-mid 20s, I worked around 4 hours per day, because I had very little interest in the stuff our company was building, and I measured (via our bug tracker) that my coworkers were getting less done than I was, so I felt I wouldn't get called out as a lazy ass. 

In my late 20s I founded an online marketplace, which required working around 12 hours per day, 6 days per week from 27-32. My "secret" to putting in these kind of hours was that I was poor, and if the startup failed, it was going to wreck my self-esteem. Also, working in web development was satisfying because of the rapid iteration. And I truly believed that eBay was a deeply flawed site that could be improved upon with decent tech.

In my 30s, I went down to ~10 hours per day, 5 days/week. Working on the startup had become like any other job (high BS ratio). The job had transitioned from being one where I had high intrinsic interest (programming) to none (managing). 

In my 40s, I have been working enough that people get annoyed (seriously) when I tell them how much I work. Let's just say it is more than I have ever worked before. The biggest reasons for the past-5-year spike:

  1. Reduced company's size from ~50 people to ~10, freeing me from the management responsibilities that demotivate me. I have resumed spending > 50% time programming.
  2. Working on projects where I have deep intrinsic interest (developer tools & thinking/planning software), because they solve problems I personally have. 
  3. Companies still aren't consistently profitable, so if I slacked off I could lose what I've spent 15 years building (or at least be required to raise $, which implies more management/BS). An underrated motivator! Requires a potpourri of anti-anxiety meds not to crack tho
  4. Both the products I work on have "self-measurement" as a core tenet of their value prop. Being able to see a graph that approximates my progress has been key to feeling like my efforts are substantive, even when the top-line numbers take longer to demonstrate progress.

Choosing to pass on child-rearing has factored heavily into this. Most people I talk to (esp women, but men too) seem to get their greatest meaning in life from their kids, so I don't think my path would be optimal for most people. For me, I feel a great sense of purpose in trying to build tools that help others become better versions of themselves, so that suffices as the well from which I can draw purpose & meaning. 

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The term that personality psychologists use for this trait is "industriousness".

[+][comment deleted]2mo10