IKIGAI: What is it and how to find it?
A sense of purpose – is all we need to make our lives meaningful. There are chances that you have found yours already, or are at the beginning of the journey, enjoying the liberty to discover your purpose. But where does this journey start?
The Japanese believe that you can attain a happier, more balanced life by discovering your ikigai (pronounced ick-ee-guy). The word ‘ikigai’ consists of two Japanese words: iki which means life, and kai, meaning “realization of what one wants and hopes for.” IKIGAI is seen as the convergence of four primary elements:
What do you Love?
What you love, are the things you would do every day given the freedom to do anything you choose. So many people go out every day and do things they do not like. We should be working every day to change that. There is the age-old story of people on their death beds wishing they had spent more time doing the things they love.
What the world needs?
Impact! These are activities that when done will have a positive impact on the world, whether it is in one’s immediate community or the whole world, the scale doesn’t matter. Our role on this planet should be to leave it in a better condition than we found it for the countless generations to come.
What are you good at?
These are your talents! We all have our own personal talents that make us who we are. We musn’t sacrifice our talents and pursue work that simple pays the bills if you are not good at it. Our natural skills will diminish over time and we probably will fail at doing that what we are not good at.
What can you get paid for?
Well, we all need to be paid! Make sure you are being paid your value and if you are following the three elements above you will find that getting paid is easier than you think.
The underlying reality of ikigai is that in a vacuum, nothing exists — everything is connected — and having a powerful feeling of ikigai is living a completely balanced lifestyle. If you look at the diagram below, you will see how this all comes together.
It has been said that when you discover something you can do that meets each of these four requirements, you will find your ikigai in life. That’s the real purpose of your lives.
The term ‘ikigai’ represents the space in the centre of these four elements which is the source of value or what makes one’s life worth living. Ikigai is believed to be “a reason to get up in the morning” in Okinawa, Japan. We may still experience ikigai even if we move through a dark or challenging moment, if we move purposefully, if we feel called to something or have a definite objective in mind. The behaviours that make us feel ikigai are usually not the ones that we are constrained to take, dependent on the world’s expectations around us. It is based upon our normal conduct and spontaneous responses that emerge from a significant and direct relationship with life and our calling.
How to get to know your IKIGAI?
You can apply your ‘ikigai’ to your life, when you recognize what it is for you. For some individuals that requires a broad pursuit of the self. But if you want to begin with understanding your ‘ikigai,’ you could start by drawing your own Venn diagram (ikigai chart). Fill the circles with phrases, thoughts or sentences that fall under the four categories of – What you like, What you are good at, What the world needs, and What you are paid for.
While answering, think of questions like,
- What makes you perfect?
- What touches you?
- What are you great at?
- Which novel gifts do you have and which would you be able to create further?
- What would you be able to do that is useful to other people?
- Is there something you can add to the world?
- What change do you want to see on the planet?
Look for the instinctive overlaps of different circles. Look at the bigger picture and attempt to discover associations. Take your time, keep an open mind and let your thoughts flow. That way, your ‘ikigai’ will ultimately become clear providing you with a long-term vision.
IKIGAI enables us to develop into better versions of ourselves. Life introduces us to several difficulties and possibilities. How we explore, every one of these experiences empowers us to grow, to gain from our mistakes and become more of our real selves. IKIGAI provides you a path to channel your efforts.
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