Is Ikigai The Japanese Secret To Happiness? (Find your PURPOSE)
Do you wanna escape the 9-5? Do you wanna quit your soul crushing job? We hear these things said by people hoping to sell us information they say will help us escape the corporate rat race and live a life of meaning and purpose. Why? Because there’s a market for it. More and more of us are feeling disenfranchised, that we just do our job just because it pays the bills, but it’s not really what we love, and it doesn’t fill us with a sense of purpose.
What if we could be in a place, every day, where we’re doing something we’re good at, some we’re passionate about, something that the world really needs, and to top if all off, it pays the bills? Would this combination of factors be a secret to a long and happy life? Maybe we’d really feel we had a reason for being, a real reason we get up in the morning.
There’s a Japanese concept that’s reported to encapsulate this way of being and it’s called ‘ikigai’
The word is said to have its origins on the Japanese Island of Okinawa, which is also famous for having possibly the largest population of centenarians – that is, people who are older than 100 – in entire the world. Maybe many of the islands residents are living in their ikigai, giving them a sense of purpose and meaning through to old age and adding to the fuel that powers some of them well past a hundred years old. Or, maybe it’s their famous diet, which was shown to be under two percent meat and fish, and even more astonishingly: More than ninety percent Whole Food Plant Based, which is, if you know anything about this stuff: The only diet proven to treat and often reverse heart disease.
Or maybe it’s both. We all know we need food to nourish our body, but many of us also desire a reason for being that nourishes our soul.
This reason for being is said to be Ikigai, it attempts to embody the idea of happiness in living. It hints at the different factors that make up this way of being. Doing what we love, doing what we’re good at, something that contributes to the world. These things intersecting. Bringing together our passion, mission, purpose, and profession to a beautiful place in the middle, our ikigai
In 2014, blogger Marc Winn seeded a meme by labeling the center of a venn diagram on purpose with the word: Ikigai. Attempting to give a visual representation of the concept. He included it in a blog post about the it and the diagram went viral. Since then, best selling books have been written on the concept, documentaries commissioned, and it’s been the subject of various talks.
The diagram aims to show that If we merge what we’re good at, what we love, what the world needs, and what we can get paid for,we might finally feel like we’re in our Ikigai.
It’s this idea that we can bring our purpose and passion, turn it into a profession, and have enough money to live a comfortable life. However, the word can be traced back to the 8th century, and may have varying or different connotations for Japanese people. Anthropologist Iza Kavedžija found when surveying older people in Okinawa, they regarded the world ikigai as meaning ‘the mastery of something’.
Still, for those of us who are not yet being paid to be on our purpose, maybe it’s still useful to ask ourselves whether it’s possible for us to have a mission in life, that requires skills that we can really master. Something we can love doing but which keeps us financially afloat without struggling to make ends meet. Something that gives us this reason for being: Maybe then we’d be in our Ikigai. But, maybe we’re already in our Ikigai when we’re working towards those things, looking to a compelling future but also finding happiness and flow in simply: what we’re doing, right here, and right now.
Disclaimer: Advice provided without warranty. This is not medical or mental health advice. By watching and applying this advice you agree to take 100% responsibility for all consequences.
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