What is your life purpose? Are you happy with the life you have today? If you feel doubt or sadness upon considering these questions, ikigai might be missing from your life. Finding it can enrich your day-to-day life beyond belief.
What is ikigai? It is a Japanese concept reflecting the idea of something that makes you want to get up in the morning. It is the meaning of your life, but it goes beyond it. Ikigai is achieving everything you can be every day; what makes your existence feel worthwhile.
Essentially, it is that what we all seek to one degree or another. Ikigai involves four elements: what you love, what you are good at, what society needs, and what you can get paid for. At the intersection of these four, you will find your ikigai.
Why is it so important? One of the worst experiences in the world is feeling that we are purposeless, wandering around for nothing. It feels like a waste of our lives, and we might become embittered, depressed, or anxious because of this.
Ikigai is the antidote to those types of emotional experiences, and it can also be a way for us to feel more fulfilled emotionally, professionally, and in more aspects of our life. So, what are the elements that makeup ikigai? How can you discover yours?
What do you love?
The first question to ask yourself to identify your ikigai is to see what you love. What type of work makes you feel happy? What things can you do for a long time without getting tired or bored? The tasks and activities you love will determine your passion and help you get an idea.
You might love a lot of things, however, so it’s not enough to stick with just this part.
What are you good at?
The second question challenges you to find something that you are good at. In which fields do you get good results? What makes others compliment you or recognize your work? What are your achievements related to? We might be good at many things. Not all of them will be our ikigai. Some people are excellent cooks or great with numbers but avoid that activity.
You might start bringing the elements of ikigai together by considering what is something you love and something that you are good at or might become good at (realistically).
What can you get paid for?
The next question forces us to reconcile our desires and abilities in the real world. What skill is marketable? What can lead us to a job? However, we should not be too quick in rejecting things we love. There can be ways of marketing our skills that are not as direct or obvious.
If you have a hard time considering one, ask others for help or do your research. Asking this question can help you continue to narrow down what is your ikigai, which will not only fulfill you, but also help you stay fed, clothed, and healthy.
What does the world need?
The final question represents something that we might often ignore. However, it is still essential. Perhaps we are good at selling products that people don’t need or that don’t work, but the world hardly needs more of that.
This element involves considering how we can bring value to our societies and communities and feel a positive impact through our work, art, commitments, and contributions.
Your ikigai lies at the intersection of these elements. It is something that you love and enjoy. It is something you can do or learn to do. It is something that you can get paid for. Finally, it is something that also brings value to the world. What is your ikigai?
Everyone has at least one ikigai. They just need to discover it. However, not everyone has just one. We might be fortunate and find out several things that fit in the center of these four elements. That is perfectly fine and can give us more options to choose from or to balance.
Ikigai is a path to a more fulfilled life that will help us get out of bed every morning, feeling full of purpose and meaning. However, only we can discover what exactly our ikigai is.