At War With Apathy

June 29, 2016

I am still at war with apathy.

Almost 7 years ago, in response to some career frustration, a friend told me I was at war with apathy. You can read about my first thoughts on the idea over on the Lead Change Group blog, here and here.

For me, being at war with apathy means living on purpose. Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest or concern. Living with apathy means I tolerate a lack of feeling or emotion. I’m willing to live without interest in or concern for others. There are activities for which I have little feeling or emotion. But I don’t want to tolerate living my life without experiencing passion and excitement or interest and concern. I don’t want to live life without feeling and emotion.


War with apathy is part of my makeup. If we’re not going all out, I’d rather not go. I want to have 2 speeds: all out or passed out. I don’t drink caffeine. I tell people if there’s something interesting going on, I’ll be awake. And if nothing interesting is happening, I’d rather be asleep.

It stings to know the majority of the American workforce is disengaged at work. We experience apathy when we’re disengaged. Often discussions about employee engagement come from the employer’s side. If our employers listened more or paid better… There are 2 sides to engagement. Anyone on the side of engagement is at war with apathy.

But after knowing what I know, I still do catch myself going through the motions. I don’t like to look back at an hour or a day (or worse) where I’ve simply done enough to get by.  Sometimes I do it because I feel powerless to change my circumstances. There are activities that I dislike, or that put me to sleep. I may be powerless to change what needs to be done, but I’m never powerless to change my attitude.

I’m never powerless to change my attitude.

We always have the ability to control our attitudes. I’ve written about happiness in recent posts. The way we approach experiences and how we invest our attention impacts our perspective. We can choose happiness, and “buck up” our attitude for a while, but it is more effective to invest our time, attention and resources in positive, uplifting ideas and activities. When we focus on gratitude, we find ourselves happier, and when we are happier, we perform better.

Do you want to join the war with apathy? We must start with ourselves. Where are we going through the motions? What can we do about it? Can we transform our attitude to gratitude? Even when we do something we dislike with gusto, passion, energy and excitement, we increase our chance to bring excellence and receive enjoyment from any effort.

Then pass it on. As you focus on gratitude, state it. Reach out to someone and say thanks. Double your tip. Tell someone you appreciate what they did. Help others experience life without apathy.

Photo credit: skeeze via Pixabay cc0

One note: I’m preparing to launch a non-profit organization designed to instigate and inspire Christ-followers to live with purpose. If you would like to learn more as the time draws near, contact me and let me know. Seven years is a long time.