Discover your IKIGAI
Why are you here? What is your reason for being? your “Raison d’ être” as we say in French. This is THE critical question of human existence and many of us spend our whole lives seeking to address …
IKIGAI, the simple Japanese concept of soul purpose is designed to help you begin to uncover the answers by exploring the intersection between what you can be paid to do, what you love to do, what the world needs, and what you are truly good at. Literally, a reason wake up each morning.
Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.
The interest in our ikigai can be so deep and strong that we may literally live and breathe it every day and align to it mind, body and soul, even altruistically suffering for it if necessary. Regardless of the blood, sweat and tears that are shed to put the work in, we tend to stay loyal to our ikigai and weather all storms that attempt to keep us from it once we have evoked and embraced it.
Due to having a powerful connection to our ikigai we have the stamina and endurance to persevere when the going gets tough, while others who do not have the same resonance may give up and fall by the wayside.
An ikigai is often described as an intense internal burning desire to carry out a personal mission that we have a strong affinity to. We may not be able to reasonably explain why, but we will feel a magnetic attraction to explore a particular path and will feel drawn towards anything that is associated with it. When we manifest whatever is pulling at us, we will receive an intense internal satisfaction, which makes us feel fulfilled and gives new layers of meaning to our lives.
Although an ikigai can be realized by pursuing a specific goal, ambition or dream, it can also be something as simple as setting an intention for a new way of expressing ourselves or interacting with others. For example, some people find depth of meaning in cooking for and caring for their family. Other people find it through genuine and sincere acts of kindness towards others, or it could be discovered by setting a mindset to open up to all new possibilities so that we let in a limitless amount of spontaneous and life-changing opportunities.
The basis of an ikigai is that it is immensely pleasurable and that it not only benefits and enriches our own life, but that it also enhances other people’s lives too. It is about finding value in something that we love doing while mastering and developing talents and skills to ensure that it is sustainable.
Below, a sheet that you can print out if you feel like exploring your IKIGAI.
To find this reason or purpose, start with four questions:
- What do you love?
- What are you good at?
- What does the world need from you?
- What can you get paid for?
Finding the answers and a balance between these four areas could be a route to ikigai for Westerners looking for a quick interpretation of this philosophy. Because in Japan, ikigai is a slower process and often has nothing to do with work or income.
Ikigai will likely lead to a better life “because you will have something to live for”.