What is Ikigai and the Japanese Philosophy behind it?

What is Ikigai and the Japanese Philosophy behind it?

Have you ever heard about the Japanese concept of Ikigai? It's a Japanese life philosophy that’s like a roadmap to a happy and fulfilling life. Have you ever wondered why the Japanese people are considered some of the healthiest people in the world? Along with a healthy diet, the secret of their health and longevity lies in the concept of Ikigai, the reason for being.

So, if you want to lead a long and happy life, embracing ikigai is your key. But before that, you must first understand ikigai, find your ikigai, and implement it in your daily life. To help you with that, we’ve prepared this complete guide taking you deeper into the world of ikigai.

Ikigai Meaning

Ikigai Meaning

The term "Ikigai" originates from Japan and is a compound of two Japanese words: "iki," meaning life, and "gai," meaning worth or value. Ikigai can be translated as "a reason for being" or "a reason for living," the very thing that helps you get up in the morning.

Ikigai is the perfect intersection where what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what pays the bills all come together. It's not just about getting by but finding real worth in your life. It's the secret sauce to living with passion, joy, and fulfillment.

What are the 4 Parts of Ikigai?

What are the 4 Parts of Ikigai?

According to ikigai, your life gains its true meaning only when you discover and pursue the intersection of various elements in your life. These elements are explained in the ikigai chart, popularly known as the ikigai diagram or symbol. This ikigai symbol encompasses four major components:

  • What you love (Passion): The activities and pursuits that bring you pure joy, enthusiasm, and a sense of fulfillment. It could be anything from painting to coding to exploring the great outdoors.

  • What you are good at (Vocation): Skills, talents, and capabilities that come naturally or have been developed through experience and learning. The area of your expertise that sets you apart from the crowd.

  • What the world needs (Mission): This is your mission, your chance to make a positive impact on the world. It's about identifying the needs around you and figuring out how you can contribute.

  • What you can be paid for (Profession): It’s about transforming your passions and skills into a viable source of income, ensuring financial stability while doing what you love and are good at.

The essence of Ikigai lies in finding the harmonious balance between these four elements. The center point where all these four concepts come together is your ikigai. Remember, It's not just about pursuing one's passion or achieving professional success but about achieving a holistic sense of purpose and satisfaction in life.

How to Find Your Ikigai?

How to Find Your Ikigai?

Finding your ikigai is easy, though it takes a lot of time to introspect and learn about yourself in-depth. To find your ikigai, you must answer the following questions truthfully. The most essential questions to ask yourself when finding your ikigai:

  • What activities made you lose yourself in joy as a kid?

  • What activities make time disappear, leaving you completely absorbed?

  • What are your five biggest strengths, and how have others noticed them?

  • What issues or activities make you want to speak up, learn, or take action?

  • What small daily things fill you with unexpected joy?

  • What problems in the world tug at your heart and make you want to help?

  • What comes naturally to you, even if you still need to develop it fully?

  • Who inspires you through their work or actions? What qualities do you admire?

  • What impact do you want to leave on the world? How can you start now?

  • What one small, brave thing could you do today to move towards your potential?

These questions serve as a starting point for self-reflection and can help unravel the layers of your Ikigai. Remember, the process is a journey, so take your time and explore your passions, skills, and purpose.

How to Apply Ikigai in Your Daily Life

apply ikigai in your daily life

What comes after finding your unique ikigai? To truly embrace and live it. Simply understanding ikigai and discovering your ikigai will not help you lead a happy life, but implementing it in your everyday life will. Here’s how you can turn this Japanese philosophy into your day-to-day reality.

  • Start with smaller goals

    Think about the small goals you can achieve in the near future. Let’s say your big dream is to become a marketing team lead. You must break it down into smaller victories to make it come true. Start with attending a leadership seminar next month to gain deeper insights and network with industry leaders.

  • Map it out

    Grab your calendar and mark down the seminar date. Research about various leadership skills and create a list of potential mentors. Planning provides a clear roadmap with actionable steps.

  • Build your support system

    Now it is time to create your support system and reach out to mentors and coaches who have similar or achieved similar goals.

  • Try it out

    With your plan ready, you need to test it out. Implement your new-found skills and see whether you’re achieving your goals. Get into action and jot down each feedback, whether positive or negative. Both will help you get one step closer to your goal.

Challenges You Might Face While Discovering Your Ikigai

Challenges You Might Face While Discovering Your Ikigai

Discovering and implementing your Ikigai can be a challenging task. You may encounter many difficulties that hinder your path toward a better life. However, recognizing and overcoming them is a necessary step in this process.

  • Lack of time: This is a common problem faced by many people. You can overcome this by prioritizing what truly matters and allocating time accordingly. Or get up an hour early; this might be your first step toward your passion.

  • Fear of failure: The fear of goofing up can hinder your Ikigai journey. Mistakes are not the end. Embrace your failures and make them your stepping stones to find your true Ikigai.

  • Lack of clarity: Feeling lost when figuring out your passions or how your skills fit the world's needs is okay. Take a breath and think again. The journey to Ikigai is about discovering yourself, and clarity often pops up as you explore.

Ikigai is your GPS, guiding you through twists and turns to a stable, happy, and healthy life. So, embrace the journey and learn from the challenges. Ikigai isn't about fitting into some pre-defined mold. It's about embracing your weird, wonderful quirks, the things that make you tick, and using them to light up your corner and the world around you.

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