Ikigai: The Japanese Secret That Can Help You Find Fulfilment

The Japanese island of Okinawa, where ikigai has its origins, is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians in the world.

In Japan, millions of people cite ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guyas a reason to jump out of bed each morning.

The Japanese island of Okinawa, where the concept ikigai originated, is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians in the world.

Could the concept of ikigai contribute to life longevity?

Some seem to think so. 

Ikigai is a Japanese term that roughly translates to “reason for being.” It is, above all else, a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical.

This balance is found at the intersection where passions and talents converge with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.

Image: Toronto Star

Image: Toronto Star

It is seen as the convergence of four primary elements:

  • What you love (your passion)
  • What the world needs (your mission)
  • What you are good at (your vocation)
  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

To find your ikigai you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. What do I love?

2. What am I good at?

3. What can I be paid for now — or something that could transform into my future hustle?

4. What does the world need?

Steve Jobs, they say, is a fantastic example. Jobs – a titan of technology in his own right – honed his craft while also considering his first love; fine craftsmanship.

Prior to becoming a tech mogul, his pastimes ranged from collecting handmade Japanese teacups or obsessing over design details of various products – Apple and Pixar were merely his chosen mediums of expression.

Fulfilment is fast becoming the main priority for most – leading to 'mid-life crises' arising in younger age brackets all the time. Ikigai hopes to change that.

Main image by @cailinrusso

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