In today’s video, I’m going to share an idea that gave me a lot of clarity, meaning, and purpose in my life where previously some of that meaning and purpose had been lacking.

Here’s my #1 tip regarding how young men can find purpose.

Zachary Stockill: If you are a man and you have any interest in personal development, men’s work, or joining a men’s circle, pretty soon in your journey, you’re gonna start hearing a lot of information. You start hearing a lot of ideas around the idea of masculine purpose, right? Men need purpose, that’s what we’re here for.

We’re here to find meaning and find the purpose for our lives.

The thinking goes behind a lot of this stuff, that once we get greater clarity about our purpose in life, that’ll help our woman, relationships, and us being a parent. It’ll have widespread benefits throughout our lives if we’re clear about what is our purpose.

Now, this can be an extremely daunting prospect for men, particularly how young men can find purpose. If you’re a guy in your 20s. And someone comes up to you and asks, “What is the purpose of your life”, chances are good that if you’re anything like me, you might be a little tongue-tied. Because it’s tough.

It’s tough to find the purpose in our lives, especially in the 21st century, when there are so many potential roads that we can go down.

Go back to World War 1or 2, go back to those generations where masculine purpose, for better or worse was more or less pre-determined for you, right? Hitler’s invading your country, guess what? You’ve got some purpose in life.

For a lot of guys, they spoke about their experiences after the war, those who survived those wars, saying that for the rest of their lives, they never felt the same clarity of purpose.

Once you have a purpose in life like that, when you’re protecting the world against fascism, that’s a hell of a purpose. And the rest of your life, you might be looking for similar charges and experiences of purpose that are never going to live up to fighting Hitler.

So nowadays in the 21st century, there are so many options. There are so many potential careers you can pursue and different relationship configurations you can pursue in different countries where you can move to and travel is easier.

Pre-2020, travel was much easier. There are all kinds of options. There are all kinds of potential lives that we could be living as men.

So how the hell do we figure out our purpose? What is the purpose of our lives?

The main idea that helped me with this question, and led me to the path that I still traveled today is to stop looking for meaning. Stop looking for purpose. Instead, look where you can be useful.

There’s a quote from the great Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield, that I absolutely love. He said, “10 to the part of the garden that you can touch”. In other words, if you’re a man looking for purpose, start looking for ways that you can touch the people’s lives you care about right now.

How can you start being more useful and helping people right now? How young men can find purpose?

Rather than looking for an overall life purpose, and meaning, start thinking small. Start thinking about things that you can do right now.

10-15 years ago, I was in university, I spent many years in University studying to be a history professor. And for a long time, I thought that would be my purpose and path. But I published my guidebook Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy back in 2013. I started blogging, putting out videos, I started doing this kind of work simply because I wanted to help people.

And little by little, the more that I focused on just tending to the part of the garden that I could touch, the more I focused on helping people, it started to feel really good. And over time, I realized, I’m actually really good at this. I realized I can make a real difference in the world right now, by helping these people by responding to that email that I don’t feel like responding to. Through having coaching calls, putting out videos, putting out my online courses, more books, and all the rest

The guiding philosophy of my life has been, the more value I put out in the world, the more I’ll be able to reap the rewards that value myself. The more I’ll be able to build a stable financial life and to just enjoy having an impact on people.

What kind of purpose can you have in your life? How young men can find purpose? Aside from all the big stuff, aside from all the meaning and overall vision for your life? Where do you want to be in 20 years, and all the rest?

Again, tend to the part of the garden, you can touch.

How can you start being useful each and every day in your own, small way? The more you focus on this, you will arrive at your purpose, it’ll take you there. It might take some time, twisting and turning, you might go down some certain avenues that aren’t so fruitful. And you’ll need to go back and pivots and all the rest.

The basic point is to focus on being useful, rather than looking for the overall meaning of your life. Because I do think it is important, not just for men, but for women as well, to have some clarity about what does my life means.

By the way, a quick note for men, your purpose shouldn’t be, “I want to have an amazing girlfriend, or I want to have an amazing life”. That can be part of your purpose, but it shouldn’t be the whole thing.

A lot of guys run into serious problems. Don’t make your woman your world. You should have a full life aside from your woman. And your wife or girlfriend is a beautiful complement of that already full life because when you try to make your woman your world, A- your woman doesn’t like it ultimately and B- you’re going to have a real crisis.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.