I don't do any real programming, just a few web languages, but that's my favorite part too -- the blank slate. My biggest problem is a long, ongoing project because as I learn more, my urge to just wipe the whole thing and start over more elegantly is overwhelming. I could just buckle down and refactor, but meh.
I understand your feeling completely. I feel like it takes a heroic amount of effort to get out of bed each day as well. If I only had myself to care for, I think I'd appear far less driven. What kind of programming are you looking to learn?
My career path has been a series of coincidences that pay the bills. I mean, I always work hard to ensure that I am competent and that I'm getting something out of my work beyond money, but I don't want to be a counselor forever. I've been at it over a year now, so if I had my druthers, I'd be on to something new at the moment.
The longest goal I've had (going on 12 years) is that someday I want to be a potter. I love working at the wheel, I love the smell of wet clay, I love working to get just the right mineral mixture for pretty glazes, and the warmth of the kiln is welcome even in summer. But it's a very expensive, time-consuming hobby, so I have to wait until I have the time and money to support it.
I don't regret my path (though I could have wished for fewer bumps), but I don't know if I'll ever be satisfied. I think I'll always want to do, see, and learn more. Besides, if you forgive the cliche, I look to the future because that's where I'm going.
I don't feel very successful, we barely cover our bills, and that's without making a dent in my student loans. I just bumble along, trying to collect experiences the way I collect information. It sounds cool, and I am fine with it, but it's really just restlessness. I certainly don't consider myself driven. I do, however, value what independence I have, and I take my responsibilities seriously (even while trying to reduce them!)
If you poke around, though, you will bump into a few successful INTPs here. Most of them are older.
I read a bit, but less than I used to. I like seem to be most drawn to Russian classics. I could say the same with music too, I love Russian modern classical music. None of this is on purpose, though. It's just something I've noticed.
I like to collect and draw maps, I like to write and study random things, and I like to explore. But I don't have a lot of time for that stuff anymore. My INTJ and I have an IT business occupying home time, and I have a career on top of it. This forum has been helping me to break away from the demands of the real world for a few minutes here and there.
I can understand that, but I think the search for absolute truth can lead to dissatisfaction. I suspect that no such thing is available with the data on hand. But trying to get as close to the truth as possible is a reasonably noble cause
"The neutral observer mindset also makes it so that I tend not to have strong opinions on things one way or the other, and I usually don't speak in absolutes. Instead I use phrases like "tend to" or "usually"."
In writing, I often edit out my personal lack of conviction, but I have the same problem in real life. It even extends to my own memory -- I'm "pretty sure" and I "probably did" whatever. Speaking in absolutes is stressful and disconcerting because how can one ever be completely sure of anything?