IKIGAI- The Purpose of Being

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Image credits: Holly McCulloch

Hi There Reader! Hope you are doing well amidst these trying times due to Covid-19 pandemic.

This unprecedented time has undoubtedly bought a lot of uncertainty, but can also be seen as a golden opportunity to introspect and learn more about ourselves and find out what we really want in life. Thus I decided to write upon something which I hope will make you ponder on the direction and meaning of life and help you find it.

We are all looking for Our Ikigai in our lifetime.  Ikigai is the Japanese secret to a long, happy life.

Wait... I have heard that before! But.... what is it?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept which means "the reason for being". The word relies on having a direction or purpose in life, something that makes one's life worthwhile, and to which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions that give life satisfaction and meaning.

Image credits: Owner “Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing,” says Hector Garcia, the co-author of The International Best Seller Book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. He also writes, “Just as humans have lusted after objects and money since the dawn of time, other humans have felt dissatisfaction at the relentless pursuit of money and fame and have instead focused on something bigger than their own material wealth. This has over the years been described using many different words and practices, but always hearkening back to the central core of meaningfulness in life.” How does Ikigai works?

The Ikigai is perceived as the interconnection of four main 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)

Discovering your own ikigai is said to bring fulfilment, happiness and make you live longer.

Image credits: inuidea.com To find out your Ikigai simply ask yourself the following four 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? 10 rules to find your own Ikigai In their book Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles break down the ten rules that can help anyone find their own ikigai. 1. Stay active and don’t retire 2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life 3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full 4. Surround yourself with good friends 5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise 6. Smile and acknowledge people around you 7. Reconnect with nature 8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive 9. Live in the moment 10. Follow your ikigai

Image credits: Tanmay Vora

"Our ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning"- Hector Garcia, the co-author of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. 

But... Is it... too late to find my Ikigai?

The sad truth about many people's lives in today's time is that they kill their curiosity and wonder as they assume responsibilities and build routines and thus feels unsatisfied with what they are doing which in turn makes them that they are leading a meaningless life. As many of us struggle to find what we want for ourselves, what excites us, what makes us happy and alive, the concept of Ikigai can be the most effective way of self-awareness and following your intuition. 

Keeping the Ikigai elements and questions related to it in mind, anyone can find their true calling or life purpose. From my personal experience I have come to realize that being satisfied with what you do is more important than earning a good salary as fulfilment of what a person does brings the best out in them. So the answer is NO! You are not too late to find your ikigai!

Philosopher and civil rights leader Howard W Thurman said, “Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.”…“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

So sit back, relax and think.... What is the one simple thing you could do or be today that would be an expression of your ikigai? 

What you deeply care about can unlock your ikigai and your ikigai can unlock what you care deeply about!

I hope you find your ikigai and that you pursuit it with all your heart.

Thank you for stopping by! If you are interested to learn more about ikigai or Japanese culture and have any questions or feedback in your mind, you are very welcome to comment below.

NOTE: All images shared on this page belong to their respective owners.

Recommended Reading: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life Book by Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia. 



Saumya Maithani,

Safe Realm

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