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Feeling Lost and How It Can Help You Find Yourself


“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Another day, another class missed, another alarm turned off. No motivation but to turn the pillow over to its colder side and lay there half asleep, unanswered questions gliding in and out of my mind.

This was how most of my mornings went in my last days of college. I had never been too motivated by the promise of college, even in high school, but it had always been set in my head that a college degree was my goal, my path to that elusive happiness we all crave.

It was my belief, and perhaps my parents’ as well, that I would head off to have the proverbial college experience and in the process I would become a lawyer or some sort of government official. That I would just wake up one day and say, “Aha! I know what I want to do for the rest of my life!” But that morning epiphany never came.

All that happened was a continuous cycle of partying, all night study sessions, followed by a complete and utter lack of fulfillment. So I dropped out. I moved back home with no degree, disappointed parents, and a deep sense of failure and confusion.

It was one of the most trying times in my life simply because I realized that my life had been on autopilot.

Everything about my future was ambiguously assumed. I would get into debt by going to college, then I would be forced to get a job to pay off that debt, while still getting into more and more debt by buying a house and a car. It seemed like a never-ending cycle that had no place for the possibility of a dream.

I wanted more—but not necessarily in the material sense of personal wealth and success. I wanted more out of life. I wanted a passion, a conceptual dream that wouldn’t let me sleep out of pure excitement. I wanted to spring out of bed in the morning, rain or shine, and have that zest for life that seemed so intrinsic in early childhood.

We all have a dream. It might be explicitly defined or just a vague idea, but most of us are so stuck in the muck of insecurity and self-doubt that we just dismiss it as unrealistic or too difficult to pursue.

We become so comfortable with the life that has been planned out for us by our parents, teachers, traditions, and societal norms that we feel that it’s stupid and unsafe to risk losing it for the small hope of achieving something that is more fulfilling.

“The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.” ~Jawaharlal Nehru

Don’t take me wrong though; taking a risk is still a risk. We can, and will, fail. Possibly many, many, many times. But that is what makes it exciting for me. That uncertainty can be viewed negatively, or it can empower us.

Failing is what makes us grow, it makes us stronger and more resilient to the aspects of life we have no control over. The fear of failure, although, is what makes us stagnant and sad. So even though I couldn’t see the future as clearly as before, I took the plunge in hopes that in the depths of fear and failure, I would come out feeling more alive than ever before.

And I did. It took some time and some unwanted introspection, but out of the loneliness of my parents’ dark basement, I came out with a bright light of creativity and personal understanding.

I had always loved writing and telling stories, but the task of writing a book just seemed too daunting and cumbersome for a nineteen-year-old kid. So I began writing poetry, playing with metaphors and smiling at similes. And then I slowly began incorporating my poetry into songs, and my passion for songwriting was instilled.

My experience doesn’t entail that you should immediately drop out of school or quit your job.

What it does mean is that if you feel lost, just take a deep breath and realize that being lost can be turning point of finding out who you truly are and what you truly want to do.

I still struggle, I still feel lost at times. I’ve cried and I’ve felt embarrassed. I’ve felt like a failure and I’ve felt pity from others and from myself. But I’m at peace with myself more and more every day and now I don’t even need an alarm to get up in the morning.

I just fall asleep thinking about the people I hold close to my heart and my music, and that brings me more excitement than anything I could have ever imagined.

Life is amazing. I believe we’re here to find happiness, and when we do, to share it with everyone we meet.

So don’t be afraid to lose yourself. The individual that comes out of the maze might just surprise you.

Photo by /Sean

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Profile photo of Juan Arbelaez

About Juan Arbelaez

Juan Arbelaez is an aspiring renaissance man who enjoys reading, writing, meditating and making music. He currently lives in Towson, Maryland but is originally from Colombia. If you want to check out his music you can visit his YouTube page or follow him on twitter @CogDis410.

Announcement: Tired of feeling stuck? Let go of the past and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Alex Economos

    As I woke up this morning . . . I had such a deep sense of being lost . . . after quitting a job that made me feel so unhappy for so long hasn’t quite given me the fist pumping clarifying moment I had expected. Being unemployed hasn’t made the decision feel quite right just yet, but this article really spoke to me today. Thank you for being brave.

  • Razwana Wahid

    I can think of many people who can relate to this, Juan – the feeling of being on autopilot, only to stop and realise it isn’t what you want. Sometimes this can happen with dreams too – you start on the path of making them happen and get to a stage where you think ‘is this what I really want’.

    Your introspection was clearly vital for you to carve out next steps. I wonder if most people would take such initiative?

    – Razwana

  • Jeanine

    thank you for sharing this. it was exactly what i needed this morning. :)

  • Amy Eng

    it’s funny how we find exactly what we need when we thought there wasn’t anyone to help us. thanks for the article :)

  • ByX

    Unfortunately, I feel quite a connection with what you wrote. Actually I’ve been feeling miserable for several months now, since I changed my job in an attempt to start doing something “meaningful” for me (in terms of money in the future, maybe helpful in certain aspects and from time to time for me and my relatives) (although I was not persuaded this was the right job I really want to do). The result so far is that I feel lost and very incompetent, doing something I don’t like, something I don’t know and not knowing what else I could do and what else I would be capable of doing (if there even is something like that). I am unable to enjoy meetings with friends or spending my free time since I am preoccupied in my head with thoughts on my current situation… I don’t feel any energy, any lust for anything. I understand well your mornings back then…I look back on my previous job and see it as a better job for me, although I had not felt any passion for it anymore before I quit. I’d just like to ask what do you do now, for living? Are you able to make a living out of writing songs? Anyway, good luck and thanks for writing.

  • ByX

    By the way, it is a job in the legal field..

  • Skwiggy

    It was a nice read just to see that there’s others in the same boat. I myself have been feeling lost for quite some time, but in the end just as you say during all of that it gave me an opportunity to search and find what it is that suits me best. It is still a battle and a risk to get to where I want to (especially with the whole onlooking of the parents being disappointed with me choosing the path that I have). In the end I think that if I went along with what they wanted me to do I would be miserable for longer than them being upset over what I choose.
    I think there’s always a way, if you are passionate about something you will somehow break through to it, because if it’s something you enjoy you will feel happy with it even if you don’t get paid for doing it..and that passion does shine through to give you the push to actually work towards it. Unfortunately there is still the financial stability issues which I guess can always be a random job on the side. I have hope that things would work out though, I guess it’s just this age when it’s hard to get established.

  • Jordana Quezada

    This happened to me last year. I completely lost myself. It appeared I gave myself away to what I thought would lead me to happiness… I was so depressed that I didn’t know what to do anymore, but I decided to go back to school and take a few science courses which fortunately made me rediscover my love for animals. Now, I am thinking in a career in research. I may not have found my passion as of yet, but I will! And I will jump out of bed rain or shine to do it just like you do. I won’t settle for anything else. It’s so awesome that you found your passion! I look forward until I find mine. Thanks for writing this article.

  • Goals Happen Here

    “We all have a dream. It might be explicitly defined or
    just a vague idea, but most of us are so stuck in the muck of insecurity and
    self-doubt that we just dismiss it as unrealistic or too difficult to
    pursue.” The courage to follow your dreams, especially when others deem them to be crazy or impractical, is so difficult but so important.

  • Emma

    Thanks for putting this into words, it gives me hope. :)

  • Jenny

    Thank you so much for this. Quite coincidentally this feeling of stagnant sadness that you mention in your piece, is what i’ve been feeling the past couple of weeks. It’s true that fear does this to us—but it’s times of challenge that allow us to grow the most. As a recent college graduate it’s been all too easy to be worried about not waking up in the morning and getting that “eureka” moment, that realization of what i’d like to be. Thank you for the reassurance that it’s not only okay but a great thing to be lost and soul-searching.

  • HappEzy

    Thanks for sharing this. You know when you read something and you know it’s for you. A message from the universe. That’s what this is for me:)

  • Sarah

    Thank you, Thank you Thank you for writing this. I am in a very similar situation like yours in college and you made me feel so much better. I am going to work as hard as I can in order to live a fulfilling life.

  • John

    You know i’ve been all over the internet reading about meditation and things to make myself happier, when i read this it reminded me a lot of what im going through right now. i am very lost and am going through a lot right now in my life, i am realizing that the people ive been friends with all my life are not friends at all, i am having trouble with my younger brother growing up and making wrong decisions i had made (me and him have been fighting a lot lately) and to top it off i have no job atm and college is only getting harder. i finally chose a major and i know what my passions are but im still so lost. I feel like im going crazy and that i just keep falling further away from happiness and really all i want is to travel and live happily and just as you wake up everyday with a smile on my face thanking god for being a live. im actually in the process of coming off an addiction and its hard, i just really need some insight and a lot of things ive read have been helping me so much. thank you for this juan. i see that im not the only person out there with these desires of wanting more out of life.
    and thank you to all the people that commented.

  • kate

    Thank you for your message. I woke up this morning simply afraid. I am going to be 25 years old soon and I see all others around me accomplishing amazing things. I feel passionless and without purpose….

  • Courtlyn

    This makes me feel so much better! Thank you for sharing!

  • Chung Nujen

    Thank You for sharing your experiences Juan. I’m at a point at my life where nothing makes sense, and I’m absolutely lost beyond words. Your words have brighten up my day:) Again Thanks.

  • Sandra Macacua

    Exactly! I guess this is written for me. Thank you!

  • Kris

    its funny. everyday i feel like my life is over. tho im not suicidal i just have days where idk what to do next. i just walk back and forth to work and all i do is wonder is this what my life is. i stayed out of trouble all my life in school, i was such a square i never skipped class not even once. i wasnt a teachers pet but i didnt disrupt class either. i may not have been the 4.0 genius but i did my best for sure but for what. i graduated high school and now i just work in retail making minimum wage. it drives me crazy.

  • Rosario

    I’ve read a lot of Tiny Buddha articles but this one particularly resonated with me at this point in my life. I totally understand what you mean about feeling like your life had been on auto-pilot from the time we were little. No wonder a lot of us feel lost about what to do – we’ve never had a chance to really explore for ourselves what it is that we want! I am currently unemployed and this is the first time in my life after 17 years of schooling and 3 years of work that I feel lost about what to do. I hope the answer will come in time. Do you have any tips about what to do specifically at a time like this?

  • Rk

    The photo at the top describes it! I hope I find my inspiration like you did. Nice to know it`s nlt me going crazy. Thankyou! :-)

  • leo

    its very helpful to know were not alone in this fight.. that there is also ppl fighting this :)

  • Becca

    I’m 25 and stuck in a management position job. Although I should be grateful to have a job, I took it fresh out of college and never had a chance to explore. Now as I sit with my computer in front of me, meetings lined up, and schedules to work on, all I want to do is run away and never look back. I feel the need for a big change whether its a career move or just a move in general. There is so much out there to experience and I want to before its too late. I feel so overwhelmed and unsatisfied. Student loan debt has me drowning but I just can’t sacrifice my happiness any longer.

  • Rashi

    Thank you for your beautiful words..

  • Chuck

    What if I already took the alternative path back when I was 19, failed and gave up and tried again many many times, and am now 35 with two kids and living with my parents because I have no job and never held one longer than 6 months? What if there is actually something wrong with me that means my arrogance/fear always delude me to making stupid choices? I don’t feel so much lost as wasted and ashamed, better off dead if it wasn’t for the kids I need to make sure DO NOT become like me.

  • mitsui

    I learn something over being lost in life, I always remind my self, “even there is nothing to do, things dont turn out the way you want, there is no reason to be pathetic” go find something you like to do and don’t gave up, its your life, have to live it the best you can, we all make mistakes, important is to learn from your mistake, i know it sounds cheesy:3 anyway best of luck to anyone whos in this lost in life situation.

  • Gubbins

    Be kind to yourself. You tried some stuff and it didn’t work out. Some will say life is telling you to go in another direction.
    I’m the same and looking for the solution. I can’t keep a job either. Or if I manage to I get totally bored with it. I think it’s more through fear and lack of self confidence than arrogance. Arrogance is just a cover up. We just haven’t found something that keeps us interested, motivated, that we love to do. Maybe we’re just not meant to have a regular job but to create something ourselves. Look at JK Rowling. She had the same problem too, was a single Mum with no job. And look at her now.
    I recommend reading “The Element” by Ken Robinson. I haven’t found my passion yet, but I’m working on it.

  • Franco Barretto

    Alex, I’ve quitted my job 8 months ago too. trying to do freelance, but turns out much more aimless. made several mistakes but did not seems to turn any brighter. feeling terrible, and lost.

  • nik

    I am 23 and feel exactly the same as you do

  • Nat

    This article is amazing. Brought me to tears actually. I’m going through your same experience right now and hope that one day I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you.

  • shadowweaver

    I also quit my job, nearly a year ago, because it was killing me. I began freelancing and I was pretty successful at it, but it’s sort of a soul shattering experience. Things are better, but I wouldn’t be on this website if I weren’t also feeling terribly lost right now.

  • Chen Yi

    Thanks for writing this. Your words echo my thoughts so closely and have given me some peace. I’m going to make the most out of my “lost” experience and get that happiness on the other side of this maze for sure.

  • Theepan

    I feel lost like, I don’t belong here.

  • Cristina

    I’m 22, mother of a one year old, and wife of a marine. I feel so lost sometimes. I feel like I don’t even know who I am. I moved to a completely different state leaving friends and family behind and it’s been very hard on me. I was going to my dream college, had a cool job, and had to all of sudden drop everything. Now I just feel as if I lost myself. I need to rediscover myself and gain self confidence because it now seems that I’m awfully afraid of life and the risks it comes with. It feels good to know that I’m not the only one with these problems.

  • regina

    i am 19 and yet i already feel lost.

  • Em Stone

    i feel so lost. my friends i’ve been hanging with for the past years turn out to not be my friends. my last job my boss tried to date me. i said no, so he tried making my life hell. thankfully i’m on uneployment insurance.. but money’s tight. i;m teaching an hour of dance a week. that helps and i love it! just wish i could figure out where and what i’m suppose to go and do with my life. i enjoy helping people and seeing them suceed and do go and smile. i also love smiling, dancing, listening to music and believing in my universal planned path. spiritual beleifs buddha stay positive all good things i’m into. just going through the rough patch thought i would make a comment. deep breath. stay focused. trying to not be afraid and learn to fly*

  • sam

    Music is a great therapy too. Try designing a playlist on the emotional map of Muzikool ( and you can think with the playling music to end in a positive direction. For example, designing a playlist from sad to happy that traverses through blues and calm!

  • Joss

    I’m 31 and feel lost. I feel embarrassed to feel like this at my age but I do. When I think about it more deeply, I feel ok with being lost and the worry and embarrassment goes away. However, it comes back when it meets the rest of the world since in those occasions there is often not much time and/or tolerance for thinking deeply. Or so it seems to me.

  • matt clampitt

    I’m 20 and feel like I don’t even know who I am, or what I ever was. I used to be so full of motivation, cheerfulness, kindness a friend to everyone. Now I barely leave my house, im hardly ever in a good mood, and I don’t feel like i have energy to do anything anymore. I don’t know how this happen. I try real hard to understand and the only conclusion im getting is “Me.” I am whats happenened to me. No one els made me like this and no one can unmake me like this, Only I can do that.

  • amrin

    I feel so lost sometimes I thik I don’t belong hre

  • Flexx

    Great article! Very inspiring…! I feel very lost at the moment but I hope to get out of the maze soon :)

  • Mike

    When you feel lost you simply have to make a change in your life. You only know what. And if you don’t you(or anyone in this situation) should find out.

  • Daren

    I searched today what it means when you don’t remember who you are and feel lost, this one i clicked on thankfully cause it told me something that i had forgotten in just a couple months. I have always known my reason for being the person I was but lost the reason a month or so ago and just felt lost on who I was and who i wanted to be. I don’t feel like my life is a waste but I felt I lost my reason. I am always a happy person and look at the bright side but that changed and i questioned myself not knowing why. I read this and it opened my eyes to see that I am about to find out who I really am and this low point is something promising, i am remembering who i am and who i want to be. Its not an instant thing but its reassuring knowing that I’m going to be me again and with a greater sense of purpose.

  • Mary

    You write really well. You should think about being a writer. I’d read your stuff.

  • Pingping

    I am turning 24 this year. After uni was over, I had to go back home and now I’m currently living with my parents. Waited for like 8 months until I finally got a job. But, the job I have is not exactly what I wanted to. Been working since 8 months now. I’m not happy. I also feel lost. and trapped. trapped in a cycle of routine. I no more find excitement and purpose in my life. For many, this is what growing up means. I’m thinking of going on a trip somewhere on my own. I need a break from my job, my friends and family. Things are so messed up or rather, I’m messed up at this stage of life. To be happy in life, one must be goal-driven; you must be able to see what’s forward and what you intend to do to succeed. And above all, there needs to be the motivation to fulfill your goals. In my case, I lack motivation to do so. Everything around me is just draining me out. I feel like life is taking its toll on me. Oh, I’m single btw. Not that this really matters. But many people/friends of my age are getting engaged or even married. This makes me feel left behind. Some days, I can really focus and push myself in the positive light. Other days, I just wallow in the blues and question my self-worth. It’s just a phase I guess. Wow, I’ve been going on a rant here. Anyway, thank you Juan and everyone else who commented. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one lost here. Wish you all well. peace

  • Guest

    I’m 17 and just can’t help but feel like I’m blank and emotionless like, kind of like I’m asleep or watcher of the world and just want to wake up. I have no direction of where I am going in life and only do the subjects in college for… well I don’t even know. I’m just lost and want to find who I am before all my life turned to shit, severe bullying and family crisis after the next

  • Guest

    I’m 17 and just can’t help but feel like I’m blank and emotionless like, kind of like I’m asleep or watcher of the world and just want to wake up. I have no direction of where I am going in life and only do the subjects in college for… well I don’t even know. I’m just lost and want to find who I am before all my life turned to shit, severe bullying and family crisis after the next…

  • Jake Bray

    I’m 17 and just can’t help but feel like I’m blank and emotionless sometimes, i feel as if I’m asleep or watcher of the world at some points and just want to wake up at. I have no direction of where I am going in life and only do the subjects in college for… well I don’t even know. I’m just lost and want to find who I am, the person before all my life turned to shit, severe bullying and family crisis after the next……

  • Markus

    Spot on! Thank you so much!

  • kate

    I’m going to be 39 this year and lately I’ve been reflecting on my life to date. I studied hard at school and went on to University and have been working in a professional career for over 10 years. I still feel lost as I did way back when I was a student. Does life get easier? I honestly don’t think it does. With age comes more responsibility, and having to deal with the many hurdles life throws in middle age ie divorce, death and ill health. I have a wonderful partner, family and very fortunate to own a beautiful home in an idyllic setting yet it is sad that I don’t have the time I want to spend time enjoying these things. The thought of working until I retire fills me with dread and I’m looking for a future where I can earn a good living but have more time at home.

  • Kim

    I love this article! And I love reading everyone’s comments. Makes me realize a lot of people feel this way and we are each on out own journey. That is exactly how I felt about college. I couldn’t get excited knowing that I was going to live in debt forever with a degree that wouldn’t make me happy so I just graduated with psychology and now I’m working retail figuring it all out. I guess these are the kinds of articles you find at 3 am when you can’t sleep! Follow your instincts and intuition. I think deep down our hearts know what we want we just need to listen and take the chance :)

  • andy

    I feel lost not because I don;t know what to do in the long run
    but because I am stuck with a current problem that takes a long time to solve . :(

  • Zalin

    I’m 18 and I’d never felt so lost before. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t even know myself anymore. Above all, thank you for writing this. I love it! It fits like a glove. A

  • Charlie

    I feel so lost, after ten years working really well and exceeding managements expectations, being rewarded with recognition for a job well done I am now no longer working or earning an income and waiting to start training to start my own business. I stopped working because my employer changed the business so much so that the money I once made stopped, I always told myself I am in it for the money and when it stopped I left to try and make it somewhere else. I believe I have done the right thing but every time I see money spent and nothing coming in I worry and ask myself what are you doing, do you really know what your doing and who the hell are you, can you really trust yourself. I believe in God and tell myself to trust in the lord that he is holding your hand and leading you right now, I keep telling myself to trust him but over and over I forget to do that and I leave myself feeling so lost, miserable and feeling pretty much powerless.
    I will come back to this website one day and I hope to share good positive news with the readers, right now I feel like a lost child in a big department store desperate to find my mum.

  • Allly

    I feel lost and not sure why I’m here…I’m 29, degree qualified, no job and no bf and barely any life in me, over it

  • guest

    music is enjoyable and stimulating but usually a waste of time. You life long goal is basically to amuse yourself.

  • Al

    Music is life… Ever felt goosebumps listening to any song? Its that strong…it creates harmony.. Otherwise, its just noise.

  • Sophia

    I am in the same boat… The light is dim. I’ve never been like this and I need out.

  • Pingping

    It will take time but force yourself to be positive. Act, do what you can to change your situation rather than staying passive. In my case, I have changed work. Now, the job is still not exactly what I really wanted but I am grateful to the Universe for granting me the opportunity to be in a place where people are friendly. Be patient and keep yourself busy. Above all, stay positive. There is hope, always. For you, for me and us all =)

  • erick

    i am turning 24 nxt year, im in university final year but im not happy doing my course…im trying to find my talent and purpose in life but so far ive found nothing….i do not know what to do because im lost in life….help me

  • Lost Girl

    Hi i really need help with decisions to make. I am going to be going to college soon and i feel like this is the time that i need to know which way to go with my life. Im really into cooking so culinary school would be a dream come true but i am also very good at softball and would like to be scouted by prestigious schools. I feel like its my job to make my own decisions but i want at least some guidance from others and i feel like im not getting any at all. Its just very scary to know that whichever way i go is how my life is going to be for at least a couple more years and i dont want to regret making the wrong one and ending up wishing i did the other. Its so frustrating that im to the point that I’m having anxiety issues

  • Nye

    I feel the same… even if I a surrounded with the people I love, and who love me – I still feel lost. Desolate on the inside. My mind is louder than ever, and this article reminded me that it’s Ok and that following our hearts is just what may be the key to all of our answers and joy, truly. Thank you and I hope that all of you are having a wonderful day! ღ

  • Kirsten

    hi i’m 18 and I honestly think that dying is the best option for me… I think that my parents will have lesser problems if I die since I’m just useless, plain bullshit. I’m taking a college course that i don’t like nor hate but my parents does not really want that course which is finance…. they want me to be a doctor… but then i got into this course… it’s a long story…. but ugh dying will be my happy ending

  • michelle

    I am 19 years old and you just articulated what I have been struggling to even comprehend for awhile now. I am just clueless on where to begin. I am so lost within myself that I know fear my inner passion seems to be hidden too deep. Any pointers on where to begin would be much appreciated!

  • Tebogo

    I feel the same way, lost, hopeless, alone, embarrassed and afraid,
    I’ve worked hard my whole life, raised in poverty and today I’m doing my 3rd year in university studying engineering, got a bursary yet since April I’ve been lost, stopped waking up in mornings missed lectures, i tried meditating all of it but I’m still lost. at a point feel like dropping out but If I do I’ll have to pay company back, i wake up with the hope of that it will be better but its been getting worse, exams are in 2 weeks and i feel like s%#t, to many people are looking up to me too many, the thought and fear of failing haunts me every night.
    after reading this article, I don’t feel alone I know its not just me. thank you for sharing. and God help u all in your struggles.

  • midlifecrisis75

    Thank you for this. Your article really spoke to me, and my personal situation. I’m 39, and after 10 years in the military I feel lost. I know I’m at a crossroads, but don’t know what to do or where to go in life now. I think you are right in saying that sometimes we have to lose ourselves, before we can find our way.

  • Maryann

    I just want to give send a huge THANK YOU to Juan Arbelaez for writing this article!! It has helped me so much right now and I am very grateful to you. For all you other souls out there who are feeling lost and afraid, hold on! The best is yet to come. The rainbow lies at the end of every storm. We are all caterpillars transforming into butterflies :) Sending peace and love to all of you!!

  • Mpriva

    I am 38 and I feel embarrassed, sad, hopeless and terrible lost.

  • Ben

    Its great you had family planning your life, and a basement to come home to. Some of us would give a right arm for that. On the other side of your fence are people whose families are too damaged to care, who want you out of their hair and house, or who don’t even have a roof to put over you. Life takes on meaning real fast in those circumstances, and you have to become pretty creative and resourceful just to survive. This isn’t said in bitterness, its just another experience of life. Real struggle makes life meaningful.

  • Ben

    One of the most damaging philosophies of the last two generations is this notion of being “happy”. Parents have made their children’s lives meaningless by their determination to have their children’s lives be “better than theirs was”, advising their children to “enjoy while they’re young” and making everything “fun” for them. Of course, good parents want good things for their children, but what we’ve forgotten is that happiness is a BY PRODUCT. When you make happiness the goal, you fully believe the illusion that you can “find” it without putting in the time, work, sacrifice, learning, sharing and accomplishing that is actually what produces happiness. You sound like you are overcoming some of the mistakes caused by making happiness a goal, and it is helping you to mature. If any of us continues to accept our responsibilities and also think of others besides ourselves, too, we will find that the happiness comes.

  • Sweetz

    OMG your article is just what I needed to read. Thank you for taking the time to write this and share it with the world. YOU TRULY ARE AMAZING!
    I have felt the feeling of being lost & with no future ahead of me. But after I dealt with those ugly feelings I little by little came out of that darkness. I now know what I want and will work on it with zero buts and ifs.
    Thank you again & may you continue growing ALWAYS.

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for this article, I have been very lost lately and am searching for some insight or a kick in the right direction and this article has given me the jolt of hope I needed. I am 20 years old and have just come out of a long term relationship that has affected every aspect of my life. I am in the process of saying goodbye to my past and my comfort zones which is throwing me off balance and raising all these questions in my mind. But thank you for the good read and the insight.

  • Zai

    I feel the EXACT same way! And to make matter worse my best who I found solace in (she was single with no purpose in life) just got into an amazing relationship with a long time friend and is now talking about marriage!!! I have days when I actually cry thinking about how sad and purpose-less my life is. I’m not suicidal or anything I just want to be happy and be able to share my happiness with someone. I want a better paying job so I can pay off my student loan and be able to rent an apartment and not have to live off of family. I’m 24 and I don’t even party anymore!!! WTH my life sucks! My routine is get up go to work come home watch some shows on netflix, sleep then repeat. It sucks balls!! Glad i’m not alone though. But i’m tired of feeling this way :(

  • Alis

    I wake up in de morning and feeling afraid. De most terrrifying thing is I dnt realize what is my dream to go for. M feeling lost n fail. I am seeing people around me doing better n better in their life but m staying still wandering n doubt what should i do to get out of this.

  • docca

    mpriva, i am the same age as you are.i have had a very hard life in the past. i cant seem to find my true happiness. i have been keeping all of this inside and its breaking me. there is a lot to be thankful for but i feel lifeless inside.

  • x

    Well I have sucked evrything inn. We turn to have a feeling of atmospher everytime we feel genuine but ppl dont turn to notice cause of they are used of us not seeking attention. Have you guys started to think that lies of ppl made us think like we do? I strongely believe if u find the truth of what u are made for then u will find happiness! Happiness comes from knowing each sense in your excistence, now if we are 5 percent out of line we feel it, point being find the truth, look beyond where u digged in, you will see that shifting your veiw will make great happiness.

  • nica

    I’m 18 and i’m confused. i’m still young but i already feel lost. I want to do the thing i enjoy most but there’s always something that’s holding me back. I’ve got big dreams but it seems too impossible to reach. I’ve always been a big dreamer since i was a kid and i only had one dream in mind but it always seems so far away. I’m scared of not being able to be who i want to be someday. I’m scared that in the future i regret not enjoying the only life God has given me. I know i should be inspired by what you wrote but its really not that easy to follow your dream. Everyone seems to support me but its me who i think is lacking. But thank you for what you posted. Its really nice to know that there are people in this world who follow their dreams.

  • Anonymous

    I’m losing myself because of my parrents im all alone no support from anyone and they just keep on threathening me with putting me on the street if i do not do as they wish and yet still they say im free to do what i wish to but im not they’re even saying im not man enough and tell my sister the things im doing are incorrect.
    How the hell am i supposed to stay focused on myself if they’re all against me.

  • Victoria

    Mike that is true! Make a change, try to follow your dreams, travel, do something different

  • jrpieces

    That’s great that you figured out what to do with your life, but how did you get to that point, what steps did you take? I can’t imagine myself being fourty, having a house, a husband and kids and a job i love..I don’t even know what I love or what I am passionate about. I like animals but I don’t LOVE THEM…i do jobs i know i can do and are easy. I hate doing new things and looking like fool infront of everyone..I just don’t know how to get from here to there. I need a lot of guidance. I just want to wake up and feel great to be alive and look forward to the REST of my life. even to have a vision of what i want would be great. P.S I am 28 years old. Never went to College. Always had jobs with Kids or Animals. I am loner as well.

  • BA LA

    Hey guys and gals,

    I’m Ben and 30 years old. I’m at the point where I’ve been lost for over 3-4 years and can’t understand why. I’ve tried different avenues, studying and trying to live a life this society offers (mines in greater Manchester, England) and to some extent there’s a happy medium with work, money, food, leisure, fun, relaxation and other things we take for granted that other people struggle to get. I’ve been reading a book on CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Disorder) and it is starting to make me realise a lot things I could have changed when I first started to become lost or started questioning myself. At the present time I’m lost with wanting to be someone or do something spectacular but I feel as though I’m roped down or tied to society in the 30 years I’ve been educated to live a life of work, rent, food etc. and sometimes it can be very hard just to drop all that and go. I have parents, friends, family, 2 little beautiful nieces I would be leaving behind if I just ‘went’ and did what I wanted to, but I suppose a sacrifice does have to make way and I can always return when I need to.

    I think what I’m trying to realise is, it doesn’t matter what you do, how intelligent you are, who’s rich and famous, so long as you are doing something that you find yourself at peace and if you don’t try and question the specifics on the problem and work at it (I know some might be very difficult problems, but there’s always room for improvement if you allow yourself to do it – unless you’re tied to a chair and being tortured, then that’s a completely different kettle of fish!). I think I need to accept we are living in the world we are living in – that’s a weird way to put it – but allow myself to become someone I want to be e.g. Personal Trainer, Reiki Healer, without fear of failing. The government should make it standard to put self education education in schools so at least we can learn, rather than fall around the place trying to pick up our pieces afterwards.

    Anyway, I wont put too much but people of the universe, allow yourself to be yourself and eliminate those walls, boundaries and think alternative thoughts so it isn’t just a cliche of positive thinking. Just don’t get roped down into a negative pattern of ‘cant’, ‘wont’, ‘never’, ‘impossible’, your line only goes as far as your draw it.

    Ben x

  • sylwia

    Same age here31 and feeling like shit 80% of my did i get here and whats the purpose of me being here? Nothing goes well! I feel like a stepping stone for other people to get somewhere ahead of me. Im not sad anymore about it, now im just angry :/

  • Anne

    I just turned 19 and am about to enter into my first year of college…and am feeling more lost than ever. I fear that I am just going through the motions of life. Graduate high school, go to college, debt, student loans, career, more debt…I relate to this so deeply I’m in tears. I’m afraid and uncertain. I think I’ve just followed the motions of what my parents and teachers expect of me that I’ve lost myself in the process. I don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know if I want to even start college right away. What scares me the most is my fear of judgment and my overwhelming uncertainty on what direction I want to lead my life in. I’m afraid to talk to my parents about this because I don’t know how they’d react…I’m finding myself having a hard time expressing what I’m going through inside.

  • Lauren Elizabeth

    It’s such a relief to see people that feel the same, you get so caught up in feeling lost in this world you forget other people are fighting their own battles. I’m 24 and all of my friends are in happy relationships, thinking about moving out and kids, employed and can drive I’m complete opposite of this. I live at home, no relationship, unemployed and can’t drive, I have no passion or motivation. All I ever seem to want to do is disappear or run away. But thank you seeing other people feel the same lost, no purpose and not happy doesn’t make me think I’m alone as such.

  • Katja Korsch

    Beautifully written message! I also found myself feeling very lost, after a bad accident forced me to retire from my career of over 25 years. It was actually much more than a career to me….it was my life’s work and passion, and to not be able to do it anymore left me in a very dark place for a while. Starting over completely from scratch in the middle of life is scary, to say the least. I am happy to say that I have clawed my way out of the abyss, and I’m now traveling down a new path with renewed hope for my future! Again, thanks for sharing your inspiring story! I actually quoted you on my FB wall…hope you don’t mind!

  • angel

    i feel so alone aswell i am 22 and i feel lost.. i feel like ther is something out ther for me but i cant find it and every day i feel like its getting harder and harder to wake up in the moring to this cruel world..

  • Faith Alejandra

    I am feeling terribly lost right now.. I dont know what to do.. That “lost” feeling made me strugging so hard that i cant think of any good right now.. My heart is lost somewhere and i have no courage to get it back and pull myself up… Its because ive been experiencing the pain of having a broken family.. I never expected that it would happen to me since im giving my best to have a stronger bond with my partner .. I am still on shock and i am traumatize about the fact the he cheated on me.. It gives me a lot of pain because im trying my best and giving my all.. I am not prepared for this coming and the fact that we have a daughter makes me so sad because he didnt protect us…. I feel so insecure.. I wish ill overcome this feeling as soon as possible because im having a hard time…….

  • Margorella unica

    I wake up feeling passionless and like a failure every morning. My alarm clocks don’t even wake me anymore , it is a drag to get me going in the morning ( hence I used to be a morning person who loved everything and anything) . I dont find anything exciting these days. Ive failed over and over and now after i thought i figured what i wanted I realized i am not capable of achieving it. Your article is motivating though it helped me feel better and to look deeper within me to find a solution. Is good to know others have been where I am now, lost, disoriented and lacking motivation as well as passion.

  • Meg

    I am in the same boat except I have been in college for a year now… I kind of know what I want to do, but have absolutely no motivation what so ever. School is a drag, I am barely passing my classes. The only thing I know is that I don’t like college, and that I want to travel the world. But I want to come back, finish school and get a degree. I am so scared to tell my parents that I want to take a year off, and explore and actually find my passion and then go back to school. I feel like a dead weight! I need to do more with my life. I hate sitting around doing the same thing over and over again. I have been doing it for the past 14 years!

  • Guest

    Im in the same boat. 23 senior in college, hate what my major, have no motivation for anything anymore, studying at night, sleeping during a day.

  • MoodyBloom

    Thats exactly how i feel right now. 23, in college, have no passion for what im studying anymore, cannot get out of bed in the mornings, so i stay up studying at nights, and sleeping during the day. Other days, spent partying and drinking away. The worst of it all is – i feel so lost. I WANT to do something, i WANT that “epiphany moment” you spoke of wanting in the mornings, but i just dont know how to find it, and where to even begin to look for. It may or may not be depression. Im afraid to get psychological help, as i may get diagnosed with something which could possibly make me feel even worse. I like to believe i dont have depression, and just going through a phase, but it just so hard. Im afraid to drop out of college, but i also, do not know if i can finish it. I have 0 interest in it, and 0 motivation. Im considering giving hypnotherapy a chance, also wanting to try yoga and mediation…I heard some people swear by Reiki.. I’m not sure. God only knows how long i will feel so stuck and lost in life. I just know i gotta to do something, take a risk, try something new and beneficial in life,,,
    Reading the article and everyones comments, made me realize how many more people are in the same exact situation as myself… I guess, writing yet, another personal story in a comment just allows myself, and others get it off our shoulders, which is somewhat of a relief. I can see why you resumed to writing, it may be that “road” to that epiphany for everyone that is lost and needs.
    Thank You

  • oldSoul

    i have the exact feeling right now !!


    so here’s the thing, I really don’t know what is that I really want, and I just cant decide what is that I’m going to do with my life. My mom is putting me in so much pressure. I’m just 17 and my mom wants me to graduate college for 4 yrs, so she enrolled me in a 4 yrs course but I failed at 1st try. so I stop for awhile. I’m looking for something that I really want to do for the rest of my life, something that is I can feel the passion, and my mom keeps on saying time is running out and I need to catch up with everybody. But that is what I really need right now, I need time to think. But even though how many times I think there’s nothing comes up to my mind. I feel like I’m lost and don’t know where to go. I cant seem to understand my self what it wants. I feel like my path was so hazy. People around has their dreams, but for me why does its so hard to find my dreams…. I don’t want to waste my time doing nothing… life is too short for that.. But I’m lost and I really don’t know what to do about it…..

  • Royal Conquest

    I’m only 20 now and I find myself thinking those things on a day to day basis. What am I doing? That person has already accomplished this what have I done? and I feel so pointless. I don’t know what to do with my life, I can’t find the motivation to move up or on, I can’t drudge up the courage to overcome anxiety or the will to even pursue a dream. I want so desperately to find myself and I don’t even know where to start. These types of articles are nice but they always seem so hollow to me.. I think I need help.

  • “Bob Dobbs”

    Well written Ben… the best I’ve read here yet.

  • “Bob Dobbs”

    Man… most of you are far too young to be feeling lost. Life is JUST beginning! Might I recommend one of the best books ever written?… As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.

  • Mary Mohammmed

    If you read the Quran you will see your life changing. You will find the happiness that you were checking all those years.

    When I feel I’m just lost in this world I go back to the Quran, I try to focuse on the Quran only. I try my best to follow the Quran.

  • Terri Lomax

    Beautifully written Juan!

  • Ventain

    Thank you for this article.

  • billy johnson

    what is the reason? i mean i leave in Hooper bay alaska and i dont see why it should help out here unless you leaved out here on the western side of alaska out into the villages see,feel,and experience how we leave instead of in the cities live in a village the city life is easy but when you live out here it’s not that easy as you thought because when you guys come out here you guys become single minded people

  • ellen

    Wow thank you so much for writing this. I have been feeling so depressed, and having no motivation anymore to go to college. I would love to become a psychologist and help people, but ha… I think I help more people when I’m happy, because when I am happy, thats what I long to do is brighten everyones day. Recently, I haven’t been able to even brighten my day. I dropped out of college this morning and as pathetic as I feel, somewhere deep down I feel a sense of relief. I had a dream last night, I was looking out into the ocean and saying to my friend, that the further and deeper you go into the ocean, the more scary it is….more creatures that can hurt you… but then I remember saying that I want to go out into the ocean because thats what excites me, that sense of exploration of all those places. I had this urge to go swim out. Life on the shore just wasn’t as exciting… anyway, I have been wanting to write a novel for quite some time. I have thought of many ideas and last week, I started writing down more ideas and it was the first time I felt a bit alive again in a while. I think that is what my soul is telling me to do and regardless of what I do, as long as i am doing what makes me happy, it ought to take me somewhere good.

  • Feeling Lost

    I’m 48, and feel lost…wandering (But not all who wander are lost). Didn’t get the education I was capable of, didn’t work hard enough in any one job when I should have.. over-leveraged myself and am now swimming in a sea of debt. Now, not leaving a job I have no passion for because I need a paycheque. And, being a commissioned sales job, not making sales and sinking further into debt… seriously considering selling my home because, realistically, I cannot afford it. But then what ? Don’t seem to have a sense of direction.. Past projects I pursued have fallen apart… I believed I would succeed, felt passionately about them.. did the affirmations..tried to “live” the law of attraction..enrolled in a coaching program…but it all still fell apart…failing myself and failing my family…

  • S

    As reading the comments below I’ve never thought so many people in this world feeling the same emotions as I go through , as some of you said : “feel passionless and without purpose” , “I feel embarrassed” , “whats the purpose of me being here?” , “hopeless and terrible lost” , all of those relates to what I feel and your ages are not so far from mine! I thought I was alone in this world feeling those feelings and now I know I’m not.

  • jack

    I’m 20 years old and I don’t have a path planned out for me or a dream to follow! I need some help!

  • kimmy

    I’m 35 and i still can’t see where i’d rather be in 5, 10, 15 years. Having no idea what to do with my life used to bother me so much that i did what others expected of me just so i wouldn’t feel so worthless. I went to college, got a degree, got myself a “stable” job with tenure. Now there are days when i feel like i can’t breathe and i just want to run away and keep running until i’m too exhausted to go on.

  • Kellz

    I’m almost 25 and i feel lost everyday. I hate my job and i just feel stuck. I don’t know what to do. I wish i could quit, but unfortunately I don’t have parents to turn to, it’s just me.

  • Barry

    Thank You I’m lost and now I see light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Sean

    I don’t know actually. I’m scared. I love art. I want to do that for the rest of my life. College is making me question everything. My grade is suffering. Yet I just don’t know. I can still draw though, yet my parent might be helping me through college choices, they’re assuming too much. These classes are for a really good school that they picked. I don’t want to mess up but I just don’t know anymore. I’m scared.

  • 14M4N0NYM0U5

    Nice writing. I can totally relate to your story.

  • Guest

    I’m 22 and I feel the same. Like I am trapped in a vicious cycle, and constantly worried that I am a disappointment to my parents, myself and people who don’t even matter. I still feel doubtful if I have chosen the right career because everyday the motivation gets lesser and frustrations pile up. I feel like I am stepped on by people in order to achieve their own purposes, and I feel so lonely and friendless.

  • Anon

    I am 23 and I feel the same way too!

  • Human

    I’m not even in high school yet, but I’m feeling lost, alone, and in the dark. It helps to see that I’m not alone. :)

  • tanvee k

    Thank you! I am harangued by this feeling you mentioned in the article, every night when I hit the sack and every morning when I’m grappling with my lazy self to wake up. How important it is to have something that incentivises you to get out of your bed! Diffidence was my ego ally, I was weaned on it I feel but i reckon I’m quite fortunate, for i have some amazing people to guide me and yank me out of self doubt and diffidence. Your article is so well written that i actually had tears welled up in the corner of my eyes. Once again a big thank you!

  • The guy in the movie

    Great piece – I am 46 and my wife left me one year ago. I was very successful in my professional life and as a father of 2 daughters, but getting hit out of the blue after 22 years of marriage my world was rocked. One year later I am ready to get lost… to find myself and what really matters to me now. Because of what i thought my future would be no longer exists, I have a new one to dream of and try and get excited about. it’s funny how on the outside a life could look so perfect, but to the person living it, it is a confused and lost one, far from perfect of happy. Your piece has opened my mind and made be truly believe i am doing the right thing, in losing myself to find me. Thanks

  • Harish

    i m sitting in office right now and reading this. makes me feel good that i am not alone fighting with this. i feel like i have become a robot who gets up everyday at 7am and work till 9pm and sleep at 11pm and then repeat the same cycle everyday. I really want to do something which keeps me alive and motivated. I m bored of this job. and i believe that i ll get bored anywhere i work. So i m confused what to do now in life.