Ikigai – finding your reason for being

Ikigai is a Japanese phrase that essentially defines your reason for being, it is the connection between doing what you love, what you value and what you are good at. Your Ikigai is not just about your career it is a more pure reflection of your sense of purpose and wellbeing. Numerous books have been written on the topic with many looking more holistically at why some Japanese who explicitly practice ‘ikigai’ are happier and live longer.

Culturally in Japan the separation between making money and reason for being is important, and this coming from a country where people live for their company, a career is often with one organisation for life and they have a word for death by overwork (Karoshi). Ikigai does not specify as many representations show that the intersection between what you love, what you are good at AND what you can be paid for.

BUT That doesn’t mean that using this method is bad way to help define your purpose

Everyone has a purpose, a reason for why and how we choose to live. So there is nothing wrong with using the venn diagram to capture what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for in a structured way. There is then the opportunity look at the intersections for defining your passion, mission, vocation and profession. Where all these collide is where you find your purpose, as the French call it Your Raison d’être or reason for being.

“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing”

Hector Garcia, the co-author of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.
Read about the link to Purpose

In the book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, the authors Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles provide ten rules that can help you find your Ikigai:

  1. Stay active and don’t retire
  2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
  3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full
  4. Surround yourself with good friends
  5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
  6. Smile and acknowledge people around you
  7. Reconnect with nature
  8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive.
  9. Live in the moment
  10. Follow your Ikigai

Key Takeaways

  • Ikigai is often misused as being about your career, rather it is about living a happy and fulfilling life
  • Having clarity of purpose can also help you develop your career
  • Everyones Ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values and passions
Synopsis of article from Thrive Global (on Medium)
by Thomas Oppong
Published 11th January 2018

Read full article:

Memories and Such
Published 30 August 2019

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