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Ikigai. Have you found yours?

by Vidya Sury April 10, 2018 20 comments
Ikigai Why you get out of bed every morning #atozchallenge #mindfulness #focus #purpose

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:

Ikigai, a Japanese Concept

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?

How to find your Ikigai #mindfulness #atozchallenge #focus #purpose

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Guilie Castillo April 10, 2018 at 9:32 pm

Oh, Vidya, this is fantastic! The diagram really made it crystal-clear—and gave me a jolt, too. For several months, maybe even a year or two, I’ve been playing peek-a-boo with the feeling that something’s missing, that something I’m doing is maybe not quite right, or that I *should* be doing something that I’m not. This, right here, is the answer. Well, not the ‘answer’ per se, but rather the path to finding it. Now I know where to look!

Thank you, dearest friend. A visit to your blog is always a source for the most unexpected insights 🙂

Have a wonderful day!

Vidya Sury April 10, 2018 at 10:26 pm

I read about this concept years ago in a business magazine, Guilie and found it perfect. There’s a book by Hector Garcia titled Ikigai and it traces the evolution of the concept. It then goes on to talk about the hows and whys.

I am thrilled you like the concept! Hugs! Thank you for always making my day with your kind words!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Frenemy

Shilpa Gupte April 10, 2018 at 10:17 pm

Yes, I found mine last year, and was so relieved! Relieved and happy, for whatever I found gave me immense joy and satisfaction, but I hadn’t been looking closely for it back then. 🙂

Vidya Sury April 10, 2018 at 10:19 pm

It only gets better once you’ve found it, Shilpa–because that motivates us to make it better. Hugs.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Happiness Habits to Practice Every Day

Natasha April 10, 2018 at 10:26 pm

Yes I have found my Ikigai in writing and I’m so glad I did. Life feels super blessed and oh so worthwhile😊
Lovely post Vidya. Thank you ❤️

Rebecca Douglass April 11, 2018 at 12:24 am

I’m not sure I want to know, at this stage of my life! I do find my writing is very satisfying, but does it meet a need for the world? Maybe you have to put different things together to be complete sometimes.

Vidya Sury April 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm

You are right, Rebecca. I think the overall concept is to feel good where you are right now. Not all elements have to always fit together! Much of my own Ikigai comes from activities I don’t get paid for–yet they make me absolutely happy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Frenemy

Lee @ Dragon'sEyeView April 11, 2018 at 1:38 am

What a beautiful word for a life-giving concept. I am going to study this! This month the A to Z Challenge is my ikigai!! I’m loving it. I printed out your 30 day happiness habits for my fridge. :). Thanks for the A to Z inspiration!!

Vidya Sury April 11, 2018 at 12:25 pm

You’re amazing! Thank you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Empty the cup

Balaka Basu April 11, 2018 at 10:57 am

I guess I have also found my ikigai. This is such a beautiful post, Vidya. He made me feel so calm and peaceful.

anupriya April 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Oh Yes! I know my ikigai lies in AtoZ Challenge for this month. My NET exam in July for the nest two months and some more writing untill later this year. I am absolutely sorted for this year atleast.

Shalini April 11, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Your words are like Godsend. I really need to dig deeper into life and find out my Ikigai or what makes me truly happy. I have not found it yet and it is sad 🙁

Vidya Sury April 11, 2018 at 1:49 pm

Hugs! Don’t be sad! Finding it is a process and takes time. I think you are an inspiration, with all that you manage to do! <3
Vidya Sury recently posted…Clutter Diet

Ramya Abhinand April 11, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Found my Ikigai in my family 🙂 My reason to exist 🙂

Roshan Radhakrishnan April 11, 2018 at 4:23 pm

While I had seen this pic earlier, I hadn’t really focused on the concept earlier. But yes, it is time to take it far more seriously and focus on what matters

Soumya April 11, 2018 at 5:53 pm

I think Reema wrote about the same word as well! And I’m repeating my comment here.

First, it is my quest for life and second it is the man I love.

But then again, if you look closer you can find way too many ikigais in every moment.

Beautiful word, hottie! <3

Shalzmojo April 11, 2018 at 6:19 pm

Gosh what a pretty pretty word – new one for me! I think I am going ot ponder on this one for a while for its really affected me! I loved the Venn Diagram to explain it so so well Vidya- this is super duper awesome!!!

aarti April 12, 2018 at 9:09 am

Read about this few years ago and was fasciated and every few years I reassess life and things …

good detailed post!! 🙂

Arlee Bird April 13, 2018 at 2:56 am

I haven’t heard of this exact concept, but it is very wise.

Birgit April 16, 2018 at 10:23 pm

What a great concept and harder than one thinks but I had a big epiphany when I separated from my husband realizing that I no longer wanted to be the girl and worry about what he might think etc… I wanted to be a woman, think for myself and, more importantly, stand up for myself. Once I started doing this, the marriage crumbled. We stayed friends since we were together 16 years but I feel so much stronger and value the time I had with him.


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