Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means reason for being—the thing that gets you up in the morning. It may not be easy finding it but it has the power to change your outlook, mindset, and lifestyle.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means reason for being—the thing that gets you up in the morning. The main goal of finding your ikigai is in doing something that you love, that the world needs, that you can be paid for and that you’re good at all at once. The pursuit of finding your ikigai can be a long process of discovering yourself by doing meaningful work that “gets you up in the morning”.
How can we find our ikigai?
Finding your ikigai is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in life yet it’s a long journey filled with decisions, sacrifices, and actions that will require a commitment on your end. It has the potential to change the way you think about yourself, and it can change the way you live your life in a multitude of ways. However, many people don't even know what their ikigai is, let alone how to find it. When asked about their ikigai, many people respond that they don't know what it is or that they haven't found it yet. Our goal is the help you ask the right questions where only you can find the answer.
In finding our ikigai, the first step is to answer these questions:
What do you love?
What are you good at?
What does the world need?
What can you be paid for?
If you have made little progress from the first step, it could also help to try and picture out your ideal day from start to finish. What work have you accomplished and do you feel a sense of fulfillment and connection towards it? Then, align what occurred during your ideal day to the four questions above.
But why is finding our ikigai important? Here are some ways how it can change your mindset and everyday life.
Create your work-life balance
Imagine a life where you wake up every day and feel fulfilled by your to-do list. You love what you do, and you're thrilled to be doing it. Finding your ikigai allows you to create the almost mythical “work-life balance”. Aligning what you love to do and the work you’re doing allows you to create a balance between your career and the life you live outside it.
More than just waking up for work or because it's Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, ikigai comes from doing what makes you happy—and making sure that the way you spend your time allows you to be happy in the moment as well as when you look back on your life. Ikigai connects us with our purpose, helps us find fulfillment in our jobs, and provides overall mental health through a sense of control over our lives.
Map your ideal lifestyle
Whether this is something you've been thinking about all along or something that comes as a surprise, it's important to identify what really gets you excited and gives you energy. If you find yourself doing something and thinking, "I could really do this forever," then that's probably a good sign. Incorporating your daily lifestyle (the one you actually want your every waking day to be) with it then comes easier.
An ideal lifestyle starts with small daily routines that help you reach your biggest dream. For example, becoming a well-respected painter requires you to practice painting every day. As the discipline keeps growing in your life, the opportunity to reach your goals will eventually manifest.
More than that, it will allow you to live more wholeheartedly and have a zest for life and joy in your work. People who live by their ikigai are found to be happier, healthier, more successful, and more productive.
Find your passion in your career
You don't dread Monday mornings, and Friday nights are full of excitement at the prospect of another week exploring your passion. When you do what you love and love what you do, it seldom feels like work. Finding your passion doesn’t come in just one day. Instead, ask small yourself small questions: what part of my job do I love doing the most? What new thing or subject do I want to learn? The answer that you’ll come up will get you closer to the passion you’re looking for.
Most of the time, we focus on happiness as our end goal but happiness comes from living a fulfilling life and doing what you love. Finding your passion doesn't necessarily come from looking for work you're good at or finding a career you love—it also means finding work that fulfills you emotionally and spiritually.
Live a fulfilling life
It's not just about finding your ikigai in your career or your passions, but also in your life outside of work—which we don't often take into account when we're striving to define our careers. Ikigai represents more than just one activity; it represents your entire lifestyle and the things that make you happy within it. Finding your ikigai doesn't necessarily mean discovering something new—it could also be finding a deeper meaning in what you already love to do. Ikigai helps us understand what we have to offer the world and what makes us valuable as individuals. In that sense, determining our ikigai also lets us define what living a fulfilling life also means to us.
Your ikigai (way of life) will eventually become a daily lifestyle you build by asking the right questions, making sacrifices, and taking action.
Ikigai is something that each person needs to figure out for themselves—it's not as simple as asking yourself 'what makes me happy?' and then going out and doing that all day long. In today's modern society, it's easy to get caught up in the fast pace and hustle and bustle of an ever-changing workplace. However, following your passions and working towards your sense of purpose, can be a way to live a happy and fulfilling life. And that makes everything worth doing just a little bit more fun.
Here are some of the questions we can ask ourselves to have more clarity on what we want to pursue in life. Some things to ponder upon as we end this passage:
Is there something new you’d like to learn?
What part of your job do you most enjoy doing?
What is the most fulfilling thing you ever did?
What and who inspires you?
Which activities in your spare time makes you happy?
What would you do if you believed you could not fail?
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