Have you found your Ikigai?
Ikigai is a Japanese concept. Iki means “life,” and gai means “value” or “worth.” Gai comes from the word kai meaning “shell.” The concept dates back to the Heian period (794 to 1185), when shells were considered valuable. Thus, Ikigai is about finding value in one’s life or discovering one’s purpose—or—the reason one gets up every morning!
To understand the concept of Ikigai, see the diagram below:
Your Ikigai lies at the center of those interconnecting circles. Even if one area is incomplete, it stops you from living life to your full potential—and you miss out on the opportunity to be happy. And who does not want to be happy?
Why should you find your Ikigai?
In one word, it motivates you. When you find your Ikigai, you live a healthy life as you make choices based on your sense of purpose. As a result, you end up doing work you are passionate about. Ikigai evolves as you grow, taking you closer to living intentionally.
How to find your Ikigai?
To find your Ikigai, you must commit time to self-reflection and exploration to identify your strengths, values and skills. You must find out what you are most passionate about and then, figure out how you can express it.
Start by asking yourself:
- What you love—what makes you happy in life right now (passion)
- What are you good at (profession)
- What the world needs—what change would you like to see in the world (mission)
- What can you get paid for (vocation)
- What makes you jump out of bed in the morning (no…not referring to the splash of water)
- Can you think of any life-changing moment—any epiphanies–realizations?
Take your time and do be completely honest with yourself.
If you find it hard to see yourself objectively, maybe ask family and friends or take assessments like the StrengthsFinder
Who knows, the things you take for granted about yourself might be your uniqueness. For example: your ability to get along with people can be leveraged into a career in customer satisfaction.
Now think about what a perfect day in your life would look like. Include as many details as possible.
Together, all this describes your Ikigai.
And of course, once you identify your Ikigai, you must review it from time to time to see if is going well.
How can you do that?
Test it by living it. You’ll probably have to tweak it, explore more, shift your priorities. Maybe you need to say NO more often to what doesn’t make you happy and Yes to what does make your heart sing. The path to finding it may not always be smooth, but you’ll be stronger for the experience even if it means compromising sometimes. Soon you will connect with your Ikigai, embrace it with love and live it.
Do remember that ikigai is all about balancing your life—this includes work, family, friends, you. It is your GPS for life, where everything you do is in alignment with your life’s purpose. It is about finding your joy and being truly connected to every aspect of your life, enjoying positive relationships and staying healthy.
A happy life is all about living with intention, living in the moment. This moment.
Have you found your Ikigai?