Bangkok Street Portraits 8 - Mindful Collin Key via Compfight

Written in my backyard in Cerritos, CA over a two day period, October 30/31. Under the influence of green tea with ginger.

I was having a conversation with a friend this past weekend. She was sharing her desire to find herself, or discover her true purpose in life. I kid you not, when I got home from that conversation and opened my inbox I had an email waiting for me from a reader that was essentially outlining the same thing.

Funny how the universe works that way.

Ok, back on track. Both of them felt like they were constantly going back and forth between thoughts, ideas, jobs, and relationships. Never quite able to fully embrace anything in particular. Always questioning if what they were doing was the right thing.

After exchanging a few emails back and forth with both of them I started to think about my life a bit and whether or not I am on the right path. I then started thinking about whether or not the majority of others have these same questions. Turns out…  you do.


The desire to know yourself, discover your purpose, or live up to your potential has more to do with the fear of not ever being able to figuring it out than it actually does with the discovery itself. It’s pretty scary to think about going through life and never really figuring out who you are as a person. I use to often think “is what I am doing now what I was put on earth here to do?” That question in itself would give me anxiety out my yin-yang (that’s a nice way to say my ass).

But its the same fear, anxiety, and stress that make us so uncomfortable that keeps us safe. Fear is partly what keeps us from jumping out of an airplane with no parachute. You might be thinking that common sense is what keeps you from taking such an action but I would say that the fear of ending up like a pancake is what actually does the trick.

So what’s this got to do with purpose, self discovery, and getting more out of life?

Well, without fears, anxiety, and stress we wouldn’t be highly motivated to achieve great things. Often when I talk to friends about what motivated them to finally lose weight they point to a specific time where the fear of what might be to come kicked in.

It might have been not fitting into a pair of pants, a body fat test that went terribly wrong, or having a recent picture taken of them in which they were surprised at what they looked like.

For me personally it was being in a job that I had no love for (if you’re interested you can read about that here). It was a paycheck to provide safety and security for me and that was it. Personally, I believe there is a fine line between the amount of safety and security we actually need. To little and our heart feels like it’s going to explode, while too much and we are never motivated to challenge ourselves and pursue the things that matter most to us.


Long way.

There is no wrong or right way to go about discovering the self. Which ever method to the madness that you embrace; each will have its limitations, restrictions, and weaknesses. It’s best to not concern yourself with what the best way to go about this may be but to simply get started and figure it out as you go.

More importantly will be your ability to change direction and shift perspectives as needed. The world is like one giant college campus and at our disposal is an infinite amount of courses we can take that will help shape who we are or who we want to be. The person you are varies on so many levels. There’s the person you are with your family, at your job, out on the town, with your health, and so on.

It’s hard to figure out who you are if you are repeating the same routine day in and day out. That’s not to say something new needs to be done every single day but take advantage of all that is out there. Learn to dance, learn how to play the guitar, take an art class, learn how to make sushi, go wine tasting, book a trip around the world, swim with dolphins, write a poem, BBQ with friends, participate in a triathlon.

Experience as much as you can. That is the only way to true self discovery and purpose. You may find your passions lay in many more things than you could ever have imagined.


If you’re moving backwards that’s fine, there is something to be learned from it. What can you do in the future to improve?

If you’re moving forward… well, that’s just great.

But if you’re stuck, you’re in trouble. There’s no learning, no personal growth, no experiences. Unfortunately it is in our nature to want to get to this place… this “Stuckiness” if you will.


Because “stuckiness” is safe and secure. When we find comfortability we grab and hold on to it like there is no tomorrow. The problem is when we feel stuck and no growth is happening this is usually when you can be sure you are at your unhappiest.

If your body and mind have an appetite for learning and adventure than feed it. Otherwise you’ll be left with an unsatisfied taste in your mouth.

You have many levels, different interests, different desires, different emotions. This is why it is so important to test yourself on so many different levels. Taking on challenges that test you physically, mentally, emotionally, and force you to deal with fears, stress, success, and anxiety all help you to discover who you are under different circumstances.

Pushing yourself on a run or in the gym, tackling a fear of heights on a skydive, or writing a short story and putting it out there to the world can are all examples of ways you might force yourself to deal with some of those fears.

It’s the suppression of these things – Or not letting them out even though they are clamoring for it that causes personal uncertainty and anxiety.



Finding yourself, discovering your purpose, if these are questions you are asking yourself that’s a good sign. It means you have a deep love for life and are excited about the journey. All the apprehensions you are feeling are normal.

The most important thing to remember is that you are a constantly changing and evolving individual. Changes are happening every day physically, mentally, and spiritually. As you change so will your purpose. Embrace the change. “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished”

When I was eight my purpose was eating as much candy as possible and playing in the mud. In high school my purpose was drinking beer and chasing girls. Now, it’s learning and sharing that knowledge with others. I could wake up tomorrow and find a new purpose… And that’s ok.

A few things to think about.

Want what you get instead of trying to get what you want. Avoid constantly focusing on what you want or feel like you don’t have. Take pleasure and gratitude with what is currently going on in your life. Say thanks often, let people in your life know how much you appreciate them. How do you get currently get to work? A car is probably better than a bike, a bike better than your feet, and your feet better than crutches… I think you get the idea.

Avoid the trap of validation. It’s natural so want to please others but when it comes to your living life on your own terms trying to live up to the expectations of others can be a daunting and impossible task to live up to. A sure-fire way to make yourself pretty damn miserable is to constantly compare yourself to others. Remember that people often show us what they want us to see. You get snap shots of someones life – The good that is. Everyone has struggles, hardships, and battles of their own that they fight.

You’ll always want more, better, faster. It’s natural to be in a perfectly good place and still want more, to want to improve, and to want results faster. It’s actually a good sign, it means you’re a highly motivated individual to constantly want to be improving. Focus on progress and the behaviors that lead to progress. If building muscle or losing body fat are goals have you progressed a little more from this week than last? How are you measuring success? The scale, body measurements, before and after pictures?

If progress has stalled what could have been the cause? Take a look at your habits over that time period at assess whether or not you were behaving in a way that leads to the results that you are looking for.

Spend a little time focusing less on yourself. I know that sorta sounds ass-backwards but it can often help. I’ve noticed often that when I am preoccupied with myself and getting my own goals met that my ego often gets in the way and blocks the person that I really am. Spend sometime helping others with goals and ambitions. Use your skills and resources that others might not have to assist them in achieving their goals.

Serving someone else or something a bit bigger than yourself can open the flood gates to creative energy and personal awareness. Volunteer, help someone with a work project, go running with a friend that is trying to get into shape.

You might just be a jack of all trades. If you have many interests but feel the necessity to just pick one, say screw it and embrace them all. There is no real need to focus on one particular area. You may be drawn to many different areas. Dabble in them all, you’ll often find that some just naturally fall off while others stick around and become moments of sheer bliss. Each of us is unique, while some do well with one particular dream, goal, or passion – others have multiple interests so don’t feel obligated to ditch one in favor of another. Keep experimenting.

Personally, that’s where I’m at right now. I’m passionate about learning and challenging my current beliefs on all avenues. A lover of wisdom or wanna-be philosopher if you will :)

Check-in today. Where you at and are you doing things that challenge you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Live limitless,



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  • Mitch

    Justin, this makes a whole lot of sense. I do have a big fear to falling into the “stuckness”. For example, I just recently had to tell my boss that I wasn’t interested in moving up, at all. The position, a good one, doesn’t really fall in line with the goals I want to achieve in life. His response, “But, you’ll make more money.” I shook my head, and told him: “Yeah, but it won’t make me more happy.”

    Thanks for the great read.


    • Justin Miller


      I was just having a conversation about chasing the money with a buddy of mine today. Crazy how the universe works like that. That money/happiness is such a crazy conflict. We obviously need a certain amount of it but how much is needed really?

      That might make for a great post down the road. What is the cost of your happiness?

  • Tammie Grey

    Oh money talk. I’m really happy just being with my husband but we get so stressed if we are running out of money. Many people say that you don’t actually need money in order to be happy but that’s just rubbish. We know the importance of money. You cannot be happy if you don’t have anything to buy food for you to eat.

    • Justin

      Hey Tammie, thanks for dropping by. Money definitely plays a role. It can be really stressful when times are tight. Often when money is tight sometimes it’s important to take a look at where we are spending. Can you give up cable TV? Memberships and subscriptions you’re not using, Bike or walk instead of drive to save on gas, switch insurance premiums.

      That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. When I get stressed or complain about not enough money I simple look to where I am actually spending it. More often than not it is on things that don’t contribute a lot to my life

  • theseotraveller

    Hello Justin,

    Great post! Just what I actually needed right now. I am happy to have read this post of yours. Just like Mitch, I’m afraid I’m also stuck in my life right now especially at work and money can’t compensate that. I’ve been thinking how will I say it, leaving the company with goals of getting my career on top. I appreciate it but it just doesn’t feel right because I’m not happy or excited about it.

    With this post, I have found the answer and I wanna thank you for it. Keep posting. I look forward for your next posts.

    – Coleen

    • Justin


      Thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m glad that the post resonated with you in some way. Glad you found some answers in the post. I bet you already had them you just needed a reminder :)

  • Kush

    You keep repeating “funny how the universe works like that”. And that same sort of situation has been repeatedly happening with me. If you had to come up with a name for this sort of phenomenon, what would you call it (besides coincidence)? Thank you sir.

    • Justin


      I want an example brotha :) How specifically has this been happening to you? It’s definitely not coincidence. If I had to name it I would simply call it paying attention. Simply applying mindfulness to life and paying attention to what is going on around you.

  • Chetan

    First of all I would like to thank you Justin. I was in somewhat low mood right now and I found your article and now I feel a bit better.

    I’m currently thinking what to do with my life career-wise and I’m unable to decide one thing. I could connect with your last point that I’m a jack of all trades. I actually feel bad about it that why I can’t be excellent in one thing, but now after reading that it is OK to be like that, I’m feeling better. I think I am now going to write down all the things I want to pursue further and will embrace them all. I’m sure that that as you said, the wrong ones will fall and the right things will stick around, will eventually happen.

    Thanks for the motivation once again. :)

    • Justin


      That’s awesome! It seriously makes my day that it helped you out. I often feel the same way brotha. I’m just interested in so much. Keep perusing those passions but don’t forget to pay attention to the ones that you really find amazing :)

  • Yao

    Wow… I respect this whole article… I couldnt stop reading it… Im reading it over and over agian… I see myself in this way(always finding a new purpose)… Basically everything you said on here is what i was thinking… I love your quote “When I was eight my purpose was eating as much candy as possible and playing in the mud. In high school my purpose was drinking beer and chasing girls. Now, it’s learning and sharing that knowledge with others. I could wake up tomorrow and find a new purpose… And that’s ok.”

    • Justin


      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read the post. How’s your search coming? Anyway I can help?

  • michael

    thanks,i’ve learned what i needed and saw what i wanted too.

  • Elise

    I loved this, thank you so much! I’m currently going through a transition in my life. My boyfriend and I broke up due to my negative outlook which I feel mainly stemmed from comparing myself to others like you said and also having so many interests that I was unable to pursue them all and overwhelmed. I’m learning to live in the moment though however and be thankful for what I have. Right now I’m thankful that although my boyfriend I are technically broken up, I’m still living here and he’s helping me out with rent since I’m between jobs. This is definitely a positive thing though, I needed a wake up call. And hey, he’s starting to like me better already, of course like you said, it’s not about validation from others. You may want to check out my wordpress site. I haven’t updated as much as I should, but I’d appreciate your feedback. Thanks again, I’ve already shared this link with a few other people who I know are in the same boat :)

    • Justin


      Thanks for dropping by and kicking some knowledge with us :) Those wake up calls sure can do the trick sometime. A nice swift kick in the tush is just what is needed sometimes. I’ll definitely swing by your site.

      Never hesitate to give me a shout if you need to chat about the transition.

  • Chloe

    Thank you.

    • Justin Miller

      You’re welcome :)

  • Jordan


    I am currently a college student. I have no idea what career path I want to take, or degree I want to major in. I did have an idea, but figured out that it wasnt me when I explored it deeper. I have been afraid for the past year that I am disappointing my parents, maybe because I am always looking for change. But I would like to say thank you for this article because it took a lot of stress off of my shoulders and gave me answers to things I truly didnt realize my body was asking me. Very excellent article and I cannot thank you enough for writing it.


    • Justin Miller

      I’m going to email you Jordan. Be on the lookout :)

  • Lynn

    Really enjoyed this article. Just a wee note: it’s on-purpose….(needs that hyphen!) :-)

    • Justin

      My grammar is awful :) Glad you enjoyed.

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  • Madelain Burgoyne

    Wonderful article!
    Loved this insight:

    “Want what you get instead of trying to get what you want. Avoid constantly focusing on what you want or feel like you don’t have. Take pleasure and gratitude with what is currently going on in your life. Say thanks often, let people in your life know how much you appreciate them. How do you get currently get to work? A car is probably better than a bike, a bike better than your feet, and your feet better than crutches… I think you get the idea.”

    Wrote a post on this few days ago:

    My grammar sucks too, but I don’t care!


    • justinmiller06

      Thanks Madelain! Always remember… “No right or wrong way to do this.”

      • Madelain Burgoyne

        Right on Justin!

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  • Monica

    What a helpful and timely article. I’ve been struggling with this very topic for a while now, wondering what my purpose is in this life. And all the while I’ve let myself become stagnant in my job, relationships, and everyday life because it’s become safe and comfortable. You’ve definitely given me a new perspective to think about as I continue to work on finding myself and experiencing life to it’s fullest.

    I’m really enjoying your site – it’s full of so much useful material and positive motivation. I’m so glad that I found it.

    And btw, your grammar is fine. But if you’re interested, I’d love to work with you reviewing your articles for spelling and grammar before you post. A second set of eyes never hurts.

    • Justin Miller

      Hey Monica! Welcome :) If I can be any assistance in helping you figure that purpose out you please let me know. My inbox is always open.

      Haha. I just hired someone to start editing for me after the new year :)