How to find your Ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese concept linked to one’s purposes and values. There is no direct English translation but it refers to the reason you get up in the morning. It is a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual and the practical. But how do you  find your Ikigai? 

The word Ikigai is a combination of “ikiru” (to live) and “gai” (reason). Your Ikigai can be your work, a hobby or a person. Regardless of what it is, it gives you a reason to get out of bed and find value in life. It allows you to live a happy and fulfilling life. This is why it is important to make as much time for Ikigai as you can. 

Ikigai book on table

How to find Ikigai?

To understand what your Ikigai is you need to make three lists: your values, things you like to do, and things you are good at. The cross section of the three lists is your Ikigai. So get some pen and paper and write down (1) your values, (2) things you like to do and (3) things you are good at. 

Now you need to start living your Ikigai. You do this by putting your values and skills to action. You need to keep your values in mind whenever you undertake tasks and challenges. This will help you live in line with your Ikigai.

 

Still struggling?

If you are struggling to pinpoint what your Ikigai is, you need to gain awareness of your current status in your life. To do this, list down the top 10 things you have done and spent time on in the past week. Once you wrote these down, ask yourself if they added purpose to your life and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this something that I love doing?
  • Is this something the world needs?
  • Is this something I’m good at?
  • Is this something I can get paid for? If it isn’t, is what you get paid for (your profession) something worth trading to financially support your Ikigai? 

Or, if you are having issues with change, try to add something new to your life. This can be a new hobby, friends, or a new side-job. This can give you purpose and help you find your Ikigai. 

Woman photographing mount fuji

Don’t give up!

In his book “Awakening Your Ikigai” Ken Mogi identifies the five pillars of Ikigai. 

  • Start small: focus on the details
  • Release yourself: accept who you are
  • Harmony and sustainability: rely on others
  • The joy of little things: appreciate sensory pleasure 
  • Be in the here and now: find your flow


For more information read our Ikigai – Japanese Secret To A Long And A Happy Life blog post.

 

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