You don’t feel like doing anything. You feel empty. You have a lot to thank fate for, but you don’t feel grateful. Our author, who once found herself in such a situation, tells us what helped her get back to life.


People around me are used to the fact that I work hard, never complain and willingly take on any task. I am often asked what helps me not to get tired of life and enjoy every day. So I decided to share my story. I hope it will help to reignite your inner spark.

As children, we are all full of hope and positivity, loving life, no matter what it is. We glow from the inside out. But along the way we meet different people who love and hate us. They bombard us with advice. They teach us how to live.

Gradually we lose faith in our own worth and the fire inside goes out – now it’s time to bring it back in

As a child, I radiated optimism. Maybe a little too much. My childhood was creepy. We were immigrants, my parents barely spoke English, so we didn’t have too many opportunities to succeed in life. We lived in a house but without a roof over our heads because there wasn’t enough money for rent while we tried to renovate that place. One night it rained heavily and I woke up in a wet bed. There was barely knee-deep water on the floor. Mum still has the kitchen table with the ‘water’ mark on the legs still alive.

My parents sold the house as soon as the renovations were finished. We moved to another ‘construction site’ where we lived for the next nine months. We moved almost every year in search of a better life. We were constantly teetering on the edge of a financial precipice. But that wasn’t our main problem.

My parents felt cheated: they wanted to be happy, but they could only make money by doing things they didn’t like. In other words, doing jobs that had nothing to do with who you are and what you’re good at. The kind of work where you get paid for something that anyone could do, willing to put up with anything.

Even when my parents were able to achieve relative financial prosperity, they didn’t feel happy. And I had no idea that it was possible to earn money without suffering or overcoming myself. I was sure that it was impossible to earn a lot and be a happy person at the same time.

Even after I was accepted to college and moved away from my parents’ home, I saw no other way forward

Tantalising prospects loomed in front of me. There were fancy job titles my family had never heard of or dreamed of. Investment banking, management consulting, mutual funds. But my heart yearned for something else. I was drawn to art, music, philosophy. But my parents said, ‘Don’t be stupid! Make money!’

After getting my education, I got my first job on Wall Street. Then I got a job as an analyst at one of the biggest hedge funds in the world at the time. And the flame inside of me went out. For several years in a row, I cried every night. I was in a daze and felt a sense of utter hopelessness. Eventually I quit my job. I didn’t know what I was going to do or what I was going to live on. But I needed to find meaning in my life again. That’s what helped me.


1. Start small

After being laid off, there were days when I had a hard time getting myself out of bed. That’s okay. Praise yourself even for that. Were you able to do a five-minute stretch as well? That’s great. You can be proud of yourself.

You have lost confidence in your ability to do what you want to do. That’s okay. It’s happened to a lot of people

Pick an activity whose outcome is up to you, set a deadline, and do it. Repeat this task until you feel you are ready for more challenging tasks.

People say, ‘Pretend it’s an activity you enjoy until you believe it yourself.’ But that rule doesn’t work. You will always know you are faking it. This will destroy your confidence in your abilities. Your inner fire will go out. So stop pretending and start acting.

2. Stop agreeing

Many people settle for a job they hate, buy clothes that others call fashionable, and put up with mediocre treatment. Eventually, life stops being joyful.

When we worry about things imposed by others, we stop living our lives

Set your own priorities. Decide what is most important to you at the moment. Let it be just three things that are most valuable to you. What you are ready to spend your energy, time and money for.

These are the only three priority things you need to say yes to. Don’t focus on making money. Think about what you can give to your children, parents, family and friends. Build strong human relationships. Otherwise, like me, you risk falling into depression.

3. Use all your talents

Gary Vaynerchuk understands wine, video and business. He launched Wine Library TV, a webcast dedicated to wine. Steve Jobs understood design and technology. He created Apple.

Most of us view our abilities vertically. We pick one talent and try to excel somewhere with it. Instead, you can look at your abilities horizontally and create a unique combination of skills, abilities, and aspirations.

Think about where such a mix could come in handy?

Usually we try to fit into an existing business model, to adjust to the demands of employers. We say, ‘I’m willing to do anything for financial success.’ Wouldn’t it be better to think about what makes you unique and how that will help you succeed? Make a plan of action. You will realise how great it feels to be yourself.

4. Don’t hope for a financial miracle

When deciding to change our lives, we hope for help from above. A lottery win, an inheritance, a financial miracle. Stop. Don’t go crazy. The ability to create something important in spite of obvious difficulties is one of the best qualities of a human being.

You must develop this character trait – you cannot rely on someone or something to come to your rescue

Soberly evaluate everything and plan a budget. Even if it is difficult, boring and sad about the amount of money in your account. Without monetary calculations, you can’t move to action. So stop daydreaming.

5. Get rid of toxic environments

When I made the decision to quit my job, my parents were twiddling their thumbs. Everyone talked me out of it. It was really hard. There will definitely be people in your environment who don’t believe in your strengths, lower your self-esteem and impose their opinions. You need to limit your communication with them. Even if such toxic characters turn out to be the closest ones. Allowing them into your life, you waste a lot of energy.

Do not give in to provocation, stick to your position. Do not doubt

Then no one will not be able to break your faith in yourself. Surround yourself with those who will support your goals and aspirations. This way you will realise that many of your doubts were just an echo of what you heard about yourself.