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Runako Gentles’ Story: An Encouragement to Young Environmentalists

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

How one boy’s journey can help young people dealing with purpose anxiety

If you are a young person asking yourself this question, you may feel overwhelmed by the query. How do I know what I want to do? What career path should I choose? Do I follow what I love or pick a more traditional path?

If the question of life purpose stresses you out, you are not alone. Organizational Psychology researcher, Larissa Rainey, has coined the term “purpose anxiety” which she defines as “the negative emotions experienced in direct relation to the search for purpose.” In a survey Rainey conducted, it was found that 91% of participants had experienced purpose anxiety at some point in their lives, regardless of age.

Platforms like Instagram and TikTok don’t make this anxiety any easier for young people. While they present good opportunities for connection, they can also negatively impact young people’s self-esteem and motivation.

If you as a young person on social media are not seeing the ups and downs that come with discovering life’s purpose, you may feel that your own experience of self-discovery is somehow inferior.

Sharing transparently about the many challenges we face in achieving our goals is a really important part in inspiring one another to action.

One Boy’s Circuitous Journey to Purpose

This is why we wanted to share Runako’s story with you. Runako knew from a young age that he wanted to make positive changes in his family’s life and in the world. Yet the process of discovering exactly how to achieve that took him a lot of time, involved multiple path changes, and required him to think innovatively to connect his deepest interests.

We hope Runako’s story can inspire you as it is an honest depiction of how many of us need to change visions, really listen to our inner curiosity, and get creative in finding the way to our purpose.

Remember, there is no clear-cut way to pursue your heart’s passion and help the world. It takes a lot of time and a lot of willingness to discover yourself and what connects with you personally. Trust your gut – following your deepest interests will be the best guide to your greatest purpose.

At NJIN, we are passionate about helping young people discover their purpose. Our programs are designed to provide learning resources and opportunities while also providing the space and support for self-discovery



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