Whoah! Hang on there! I know what you're thinking: Here it comes, the "Man Up! and be everyone's doormat" speech. So, no, that's not at all what I have in mind. Bear with me and hear me out before closing the tab. It's not even that long a post.
Let me start with a (real) story: a group working with troubled kids came up with an interesting idea. One of the kids was told that from now on it's his responsibility to ensure no windows are broken on his street. The transformation was almost magical. From a kid who was likely on his way to go in and out of the prison system, the youth found himself turning into a diligent law-enforcer and caretaker for his own surroundings. He had discovered the power of responsibility.
Cultures around the world speak of how responsibility—for someone or something else—transforms boys into men. There's a good reason for this. Let's face it, on our own, we guys don't need all that much. We can often get by on the minimum needed to keep ourselves clothed, fed, and entertained, and that's enough. But the result is we often give up on cultivating or improving ourselves, neglecting to develop the kind of self-discipline and even self-regard which would help us in so many ways—in career, family, friends, even mating.
That's where responsibility comes in. You may be able to cut yourself some slack (or a lot of slack) but when other people count on you, directly or indirectly, it's very different. You can't play fast and loose anymore. Maybe you're a big brother, a teacher, a member of the neighborhood watch, or a band member. But in every case, when others count on you, suddenly it's not so easy to excuse bowing out.
This used to be called "duty" or "doing your bit," a source of pride for many men in the most difficult of circumstances. It was something that gave them a sense of purpose and value without the need to "change the world," become a billionaire or otherwise be a revolutionary. You did your bit? You're part of the club. Have a drink.
I'm not making any specific recommendations, because I know different guys work better with different sorts of commitments. But whatever you do, stick to it through thick and thin. Don't treat responsibility like a Facebook membership, where all you have to do is close the account. This should be something tangible and real, where others might lose out if you don't show up and do your job, whatever it is. People depending on you will make you understand your own importance in ways you may never have known before.
You'll have more ambition, more purpose, and dare I say more personal contentment when you find something appropriate for which you are needed and which you are committed to. Happy searching.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.