Ikigai, it’s life enhancing, it’s profound and we all have one. If you’ve ever pondered you’re purpose, your passions or your personal mission in life then you’ve speculated about your ikigai.
Ikigai, the Japanese concept of uncovering your reason for being, can empower and motivate you when the going gets tough. Discovering your ikigai can sustain you through dark times, help you to navigate your path to career and personal happiness and provide a deep sense of satisfaction with life.
If you’ve ever experienced:
- the Monday blues a day too early
- energy depletion after spending time with colleagues
- a sinking resignation that your life is not what you hoped for
then perhaps it’s time to focus on your ikigai.
The benefits of ikigai
Consider discovering your passion and waking every morning with a sense of excitement, eager to realise your ikigai throughout the day. Sounds great but there may be even more advantages to understanding your life’s meaning and purpose. In his TEDTalk on health and longevity, Dan Buettner describes the importance of ikigai to the people of north Okinawa in Japan, who live seven years longer than the average American and have one fifth of the rate of breast and colon cancer along with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Ignite your ikigai
Finding your ikigai is a process that takes time and thought. Consider these four useful questions to begin the process of igniting your ikigai:
- What do you love? What really makes your heart sing and has you leaping out of bed to greet the day? When you consider this question don’t limit yourself by wondering how you can use the things that you love, we’ll address that aspect of the process in the following questions.
- What does the world need? There are so many necessary things that contribute to the world, what is needed locally or further afield? Write a list of things that you know people need, look out for the things that jump out at you, resonate for you or pique your interest.
- What can you be paid for? Take a look at everything you’ve identified as things you love and your list of what the world needs, what strikes you as something that people would pay for? Spend some time bouncing ideas around on this question.
- What are you good at? What do people especially seek you out for? Skills, knowledge, advice? In which areas do you excel? Perhaps you have an interest or skill that you think you could really improve at given more effort and perseverance?