Lost Trying to Find your Purpose? Maybe You’re Looking in the Wrong Places

Remember in school when they’d tell you to stare out that window and watch the butterflies? I spent more time in detention than I care to admit for just that. Now, as a middle-aged dude with a busted neck and a podcast, guess what I do? I sit and stare. I watch the world go by, and sometimes, I even see those same butterflies. Funny how life changes, isn’t it?

The Pursuit of Purpose But there’s more to it than just watching, more than the pretty colors and the flitting around. The thing is, I spent most of my life feeling like those butterflies – flitting from thing to thing, searching for my grand, life-altering purpose. I’d read books, storm YouTube, listen to those preachy gurus on social media…nada. All those years, and I never found “the one”.

A Shift in Perspective Now, before you write me off as some failed motivational speaker – hang on. There’s a twist.

“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” – Dozen Zenji

I discovered Buddhism. Not because I thought it would magically spit out my life purpose in some grand fortune cookie, but because I was desperate for less suffering. Less hamster wheel in my head, y’know? And, surprisingly, the idea of “purpose” started to shift. Instead of a destination, it started to feel more like… a way of walking.

Purpose in the Present What if your big, life-altering purpose is just to be present in every single flipping moment? The washing dishes moment, the awkward phone call moment, even the “oh crap, I ran out of toilet paper” moment. I don’t know, maybe that sounds nuts. It kind of did to me at first.

But stick with me for a second. When was the last time you really stopped and looked at a tree? I’m not talking about a glance-and-go. I mean really, truly noticing the gnarly bark, the leaves catching the wind like a thousand tiny sails, the whole majestic shebang. Do that for a few minutes, and tell me you don’t feel something. Maybe it’s a glimmer of peace, perhaps it’s awe. Maybe it’s just not thinking about your to-do list for a while. That little nugget – is that a kind of purpose in itself?

Leaning into the Moments I’m not going to lie; this new-ish way of thinking doesn’t make all the problems disappear. I still get those “what the heck am I doing with my life?” moments more often than I’m proud of. But now, instead of a frantic search, I lean in. What’s the feeling at the root of that? What’s the purpose I can give myself this minute, to sit with it, instead of sprinting away?

“Maybe your purpose isn’t so big as you think it is. Maybe you don’t have one life purpose… and each day is made up of loads of miracle purposes.” – Steven Webb

The Purposeful Life It’s a bit like that tree, when you think about it. Each leaf has a purpose, the roots, the trunk – all of it working together in this amazing balance we barely understand. Maybe we’re kind of like that too. Not meant to find some big cosmic mission statement, but to be the absolute best version of ourselves in whatever moment we’re handed, however mundane it might seem.

So, here’s the challenge: Ditch the life purpose scavenger hunt for a bit. Next time life throws a curveball (and you know it will), try this radical idea: Find the purpose in that very moment. Then in the next. Be purposeful in the everyday. You might be surprised how different your life starts to feel.


  • What does it mean to find my purpose? Finding your purpose is about identifying the things that make you feel fulfilled, give your life meaning, and contribute to something larger than yourself.
  • How do I discover my purpose? Start by focusing on being present in the moment. Pay attention to what brings you joy, excites you, or makes you feel connected.
  • Can purpose change over time? Absolutely! Your passions and priorities may evolve throughout your life, and your purpose can shift accordingly.

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You've just read an article by Steven Webb —  Guiding you through the most difficult times. Here is a link to my podcast Stillness in the Storms and Inner Peace Meditations.

I write to arm you with resilience and inner wisdom, helping you find calm in life’s chaos. Follow me Medium or on substack.

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Steven Webb

Steven Webb is a renowned meditation teacher with over a decade of experience. Known for his unique approach to quieting the busy mind, Steven navigated through a life of adversity to find his own inner peace. Now, he shares his wisdom to help others build resilience and find tranquility even in life's most turbulent times. Through his writing, courses, and podcast "Stillness in the Storms," Steven empowers people to discover their own sanctuary of inner peace when they need it the most.
© 2023 Steven Webb - stevenwebb.com

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