What is your reason for getting up in the morning?
Ikigai is made from two Japanese words: iki, meaning “life” and kai, meaning “effect, result, worth or benefit.” Combined meaning: “A Reason for Living.”
The word is often translated as: “that which makes life worth living” – having a purpose in life. We can interpret ikigai as finding value in one’s life or discovering one’s purpose. There is no direct English translation, but it is a term that embodies the idea of happiness in living. Essentially, ikigai is the reason why you get up in the morning.
It is the happiness of always being busy, both professionally and in our day to day life. It is the passion and talent we have, that gives meaning to our days and drives us to share the best of ourselves with the world.
Examples of ikigai are often related to aspects of social identity — including work and family life — but it’s often explained as something more than that. It is the idea of seeking a purpose in everything you do in life. Hobbies, friendships, community and travel, all add to your ikigai.
If we follow the ideas of ikigai, then we are drawn back to ourselves, to our own purpose and the path that we are taking to get there. Ikigai is as much about changes, challenges and the mistakes we may make, as it is about the “ultimate” achievement of a happy life.
Everyday Ikigai would be:
- Finding flow in everything we do and remaining active.
- Taking it slow and not worrying or stressing.
- Cultivating good habits including good nutrition.
- Nurturing good friendships.
- Living an unhurried life and exercising daily.
- Being optimistic and smiling.
- Reconnecting with nature.
- Giving thanks and having resilience.
- Cherishing Wabi Sabi, the imperfections in life.
- Living by Ichi-Go Ichi-E; the knowledge that this moment exists only now and will not come again.
Your ikigai lies at the centre of those interconnecting aspects of your life as shown in the Venn diagram. If you are lacking in one area, you are missing out on your life’s potential and missing out on your chance to live a long and happy life.
To find your Ikigai, You have to ask yourself the following four questions:
- Are you doing something that you love?
- Are you really good at what you love doing?
- Is what you love doing, what the world needs?
- Can you get paid for what you love doing, are good at doing it and is something the society needs?
Ikigai is a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical. It is found at the intersection where your passions and talents converge with the things the world needs and is willing to pay for. Although, it may take time for one to find their Ikigai and it requires a deep search within oneself, it is an essential part of living a satisfying and meaningful life.