Did you already find your ikigai?
It is the moment when you open wide your eyes asking yourself: “Omg..what is she talking about..?”
Don’t worry, it is nothing illegal. I discovered this term just recently and was fascinated by the truthfulness of this concept. Originated on the island of Okinawa, in Japan, it is composed of 2 words: “iki” which means “life” and “kai” – “effect, result, worth”. The meaning of “ikigai” (生き甲斐) is similar to what we know as “a reason you wake up for in the morning”, “a reason for being”.
A short video below shows the deep sense of ikigai and its meaning for Japanese people.
It is interesting to notice that this concept originated on the island of Okinawa, region with one of the world longest life expectancies. Some researchers advance even a theory that the serenity of knowing your meaning in life reduces stress provoking premature aging and illnesses. Want to live longer? Find your ikigai!
As humans, we all unconsciously want to find this Graal. Only the moment when we start realizing it varies. A research from IBM Institute of Business Value (2014) says that 20% of Millennials, 21% of Gen X’s and 23% of Baby Boomers see doing work they are passionate about as an important long-term goal.
Ok, but concretely, how do I proceed?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any precise instruction for how to find your ikigai, sorry. It is only through experiencing and testing that you will discover and fine-tune your own reason for living. According to the Japanese culture, your ikigai lies in the centre of four interconnecting circles representing life. The ultimate goal of the person looking for his/her ikigai would be to find the activity lying in the intersection between his passion, mission, profession and vocation.
- Your Passion (What you love and you are good at)
We often have several passions. To understand which one is worth to be dedicated the most of your time and energy, there is no other way than trying and testing. My only advise would be, in case you feel a bit dispersed, to narrow yours to number of 2 and try those long enough so you can decide if that is what you want to do.
- Your Mission (What you love and what the world needs)
To find your mission, one of the best questions to ask yourself is: “What would I like to see different in the world?” This can give you a direction to follow to implement this change.
- Your Profession (What you are good at and what you can get paid for)
There was a period in my life when, after a year of medical studies, I understood that it was not “mine”, and I had to think what I really wanted to do in my life…terribly difficult choice. This was the first step of my ikigai search. I tried to detect what I am good at and then to find a domain where I could be able to express my skills and get paid for it. The activity appeared to be the communication and domain – marketing. But I can promise you it was not simple to find…
- Your Vocation (What you can get paid for what the world needs)
Vocation comes with time. Let Life show it to you! Through your different professional and life experiences you will discover a particular domain where you will be able to express your skills in a best way, bringing something positive for the world. You just need time for it. And perseverance. So, keep going, exploring, discovering and testing 😉 #neverstop
Personally I just love this holistic approach of life, very common in Asian cultures. I truly believe that all spheres of your existence are tightly connected and only through the consideration of the sum of them, your ikigai, your own way of being happy, will appear to you.
Finally, here are some basic rules which will support you in this quest on the daily basis:
And me, I am still searching for mine…
Being somehow dispersed, with a huge amount of interests, I still don’t know which one I should focus on to be truly happy.
However, following the steps I described above, asking myself questions and through testing, discovering and trying, I start (only start) to perceive the universe I want to evolve in. It has to be connected with the communication (I am good in it and I can get paid for it) and human relationships (I am passionate of it). It should be useful for the society and the world (the world need it). It should touch the emotions. It should be something that make me feel alive…
Like Japanese, step by step, with a slow, but so wise and long-term approach, you will be also able to find you ikigai!
Ganbarou* (がんばろう) my friends!