Ikigai - the Japanese secret to living a purposeful and fulfilling life

Have you ever stopped to think about your reason for being.. your life's purpose? We all have one, something that wakes us up in the morning and something that brings our life purpose and meaning.

Ikigai, pronounced “eekee - guy” is a long lasting concept that originated from the island of Okinawa in Japan, where it’s residents have the highest life expectancy in the entire world. “Iki” translates to “life” and “gai” describes value and worth. Our Ikigai is our reason for being and it requires a willingness to discover. By looking deep inside ourselves and focusing on self exploration and self reflection, we can all discover what our true reason for being really is. 

Why is finding our Ikigai so important? Of course the main reason being that we all deserve to live a purposeful, joyful life. The common narrative in today’s world is that many people wake up feeling exhausted from the day before, head to a job they don’t really enjoy and come home to rest before doing it all again. Where’s the purpose and joy in that? How would you feel if you could do something you’re passionate about, something that lights you up and gets you out of bed every single day? How would you feel if you could wake up excited that you’re making a huge positive impact, by doing EXACTLY what it is that you love so much? That’s the importance of finding your Ikigai, so you can enable this incredible life for yourself!
   

Ikigai is made up of a combination of four main qualities, what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at and what you can be rewarded for. These overlap into four categories, your passion, your profession, your mission and your vocation. You might be looking at this diagram thinking to yourself that you have no idea what your Ikigai is, or how you would even find it. On the other hand, you may already know deep down in your soul what your life’s purpose is. If this is the case, follow this feeling and never give up on your Ikigai. That’s where the magic lies. 

Ikigai - the Japanese secret to living a purposeful and fulfilling life

Your meaning for life doesn’t have to be about “the end goal” nor does it have to be about the destination. In today’s society we hear a lot of chatter such as “I will be happy when I earn more money” or “I will feel content when I buy this car or house.” A lot of the time we are striving for a destination or an end goal, with the thought that we will only be happy once we have achieved this goal or destination. We are here to remind you that life doesn’t have to be this way, your meaning for life doesn’t have to be a “destination” or an “end goal” it can simply be lived through every moment. 

It is common for people to live their entire life doing things that don’t light them up. Our life’s purpose can get lost in what our parents want us to do, what our peers want us to do and even what society is telling us we should be doing. Have you ever taken the time to actually ask your soul what it is that lights you up and what it is that you feel called to do? Please pause here. Take three deep breaths in through the nose and out through your mouth, really grounding into the present moment. Ask yourself what your heart is telling you? Is there something that you’ve always felt called to do? What is it that you love doing most in the entire world? If you could wake up tomorrow and live your ideal day, how would that look? What would your morning look like? What would you wear? How would you show up for yourself? How would you feel and what would you be doing? 

Discovering your Ikigai isn’t a simple or quick process. It takes willingness and it takes perseverance. Grab a journal and a pen and write out lists for each of the questions below and then reflect over what you have written. Start living into the answers you have written down and taking action towards finding your Ikigai. 

What would your ideal day look like? 

What do you love to do?

What brings you the most joy?

What did you love doing when you were a child?

What are you good at? 

What do people ask you to help them with? 

What inspires you? 

Who inspires you? 

What are you passionate about making an impact on? 

What service or product could you sell?

What could people pay you for? 

What job could you turn your passion into? 

Ikigai - the Japanese secret to living a purposeful and fulfilling life

Congratulations! You have just taken the first step towards finding your Ikigai. It’s okay if at first you can only spend pockets of your life focusing on your Ikigai, be consistent with this and amazing opportunities will follow. Here are our top three tips for your journey: 

Enjoy yourself! Set time aside to do more of the things you love and do your best to find the joy in the little things in life. Make fun a priority in your weekly routine, it doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours - simply enjoying yourself and living through the energy of play is going to propel you towards finding your Ikigai. 
  1. Enjoy yourself! Set time aside to do more of the things you love and do your best to find the joy in the little things in life. Make fun a priority in your weekly routine, it doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours - simply enjoying yourself and living through the energy of play is going to propel you towards finding your Ikigai. 

  2. Tune into what your heart is telling you and act upon that! Start living from the heart and following the little intuitive nudges it gives you. This is how you will find the things you love to do most, and is a great starting point in finding your Ikigai. 

  3. Trust! As we stated above, finding your Ikigai takes time and determination so having trust in the process is very important. Trust in your journey and above all else, build that trust and ultimate confidence within yourself that it is possible and watch your dream life unfold.