Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “reason for being” or “the joy of living.” It represents the intersection of four fundamental elements in life: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. The concept suggests that finding your Ikigai leads to a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and overall well-being.
There is the importance of passion in life and also of livelihood. If these two are the same and you are an expert in your hobby, then it will be icing on the cake. The theory of Ikigai says to search for the same thing. It is a Japanese secret to live a joyful life, a happy and long life. It is believed that everyone has Ikigai which is a reason to jump out of bed each morning.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is made up of two words: iki, meaning life, and gai, meaning precious. Actually, gai is derived from kai, which means conch. In the Heian period (749 – 1185), conch shells were considered extremely valuable. Hence ikigai means – Preciousness/meaningfulness in life. It literally means what is it that drives you to leave the bed every morning.
Why Do You Wake Up in the Morning?
If you can answer this question exactly why you wake up in the morning, then your life can be filled with happiness, joy, peace, and satisfaction. And yes, then you will not be short of money for living. Japan’s concept of Ikigai has proved this.
Ikigai is the origin of the city of Okinawa. The number of centenarians here is the highest in the world. While young people in the rest of the world have to prepare themselves to get out of bed in the morning, the elderly in Okinawa are also happily active. There is a music band of elders, whose membership is available only to people above 80 years.
How to Find Life’s Ikigai?
Answer these four questions to find out life’s Ikigai:
Question 1 – What do you like? (love)
Question 2 – What work do you specialize in? (skills)
Question 3 – What work does the world need? (needs)
Question 4 – What work can you get paid for? (money)
If these questions are treated as four circles, then Ikigai is the place where these four circles meet. That is, your work should be such, which you like, in which you are skilled, it is in demand in the world and you get money for it. If any one of these conditions is not fulfilled, then some incompleteness remains in life.
Suppose you have a passion for writing, you write well, and people want to read your article, but you do not get enough money from writing.
In this situation, the problem of living will come and you will have two options in front of you.
- Do some work in which there is money, but it is not necessary that your heart also feels in it.
- Customize your writing and adopt such tactics that people want to pay for it.
Four elements that makeup Ikigai
Here’s a breakdown of the four elements that make up Ikigai:
What You Love
This refers to your passions, interests, and activities that bring you joy and make you feel alive. It involves doing things that you genuinely enjoy and that bring you a sense of fulfillment.
What You Are Good at
This refers to your skills, talents, and strengths. It involves recognizing your unique abilities and leveraging them to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
What the World Needs
This refers to the needs, problems, or challenges in society that you feel passionate about addressing. It involves finding ways to make a positive impact and contribute to the well-being of others.
What You Can Be Paid for
This refers to the skills and expertise that are valuable in the marketplace. It involves finding ways to align your passions and talents with opportunities that can provide financial stability.
The concept of Ikigai suggests that when these four elements intersect, it leads to a state of harmony and purpose in life. It encourages individuals to explore and discover their unique Ikigai to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
10 Rules for IKIGAI
While there is no fixed set of rules for Ikigai, the concept revolves around finding purpose, fulfillment, and joy in life. Here are 10 principles or guidelines that can align with the essence of Ikigai:
1. Discover Your Passions: Explore your interests, hobbies, and activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Follow your passions and integrate them into your daily life.
2. Cultivate self-awareness: Reflect on your strengths, values, and beliefs. Understand yourself deeply to identify what truly matters to you and align your actions accordingly.
3. Set Meaningful Goals: Set clear, realistic, and meaningful goals that align with your values and passions. These goals can provide a sense of purpose and direction in your life.
4. Embrace Continuous Learning: Seek opportunities for growth and self-improvement. Embrace lifelong learning, acquire new skills, and expand your knowledge in areas that interest you.
5. Foster Positive Relationships: Cultivate meaningful connections and surround yourself with supportive and uplifting people. Build relationships based on trust, respect, and mutual growth.
6. Practice Gratitude: Recognize and express gratitude for the small joys and experiences that bring you happiness.
7. Embrace Resilience: Embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Develop resilience to overcome obstacles and persevere in the pursuit of your goals and dreams.
8. Engage in Mindful Living: Practice mindfulness and be fully present in each moment.
9. Serve Others: Find ways to contribute to the well-being of others and make a positive impact in your community. Acts of kindness, volunteering, and helping others can bring a deep sense of fulfillment.
10. Seek balance: Strive for balance in all aspects of your life – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Prioritize self-care, maintain healthy boundaries, and create a harmonious and balanced lifestyle.
These principles are not rigid rules but guiding principles to help you navigate your journey toward finding purpose, fulfillment, and joy in life. Adapt them to your unique circumstances and preferences, and let your own Ikigai unfold organically.
Find Your Ikigai
Finding your ikigai starts with discovering what you really like and what art you are good at. After many, there is confusion in likes and desires. For example, seeing the glamour of the film world, one might think that he likes acting, but he may not want to act in plays, because there is no glamour.
One has to try his hand at various tasks to find out his taste and proficiency. Just as distant drums are pleasant, in the same way, many professions seem very easy and enjoyable when viewed from above. But the reality comes to know on its own landing. Similarly, God-given talent is also revealed through practice and training.
Whatever age you are, whatever you are doing, you should definitely try to figure out your Ikigai. It is okay that you will have a well-established career at an older age, you will also have responsibilities, so you will not be able to leave everything and engage in new work.
There is also a solution, if you are older and you have not yet assessed your purpose in life, you can follow this principle: love what you have to do, and do that too which you like to do.
He is the Founder and CEO of the Training and Counselling Company ‘Brain Soul & You’. He is an NLP Wellness Coach, Life Coach, Brain analyst, and Trainer for Education, Corporate, and Entrepreneurship. For more than 7 years, he delivered presentations on entrepreneurship, mind programming, and motivation. He did his B.tech in IT and later choose to be a successful psychologist. He is helping people in various ways through his counseling and training sessions.