Do you know why you get up in the morning? What drives you every day? What is your goal in life? If you do not have the answer to these questions, I advise you to take a moment to think about it using a great tool that I discovered a short time ago: the ikigai.
The Japanese word “ikigai” derives from iki, meaning “life” and kai, meaning “realization of hopes and hopes.” In Okinawa culture in Japan, ikigai is mostly seen as a reason to get up in the morning. Moreover, ikigai is one of the reasons for the longevity of the Japanese in this region. It is actually a state of mind to remain optimistic and positive despite the many difficulties of life. It is also the art of aging while staying young. It is true that the Japanese are known for living very long and for preserving their form and good health. Their secret indeed lies in this “ikigai”, a method allowing to understand its raison d’être and to have the joy of living in everyday life.
Ikigai: at the crossroads of passion, mission, profession and vocation
Concretely, what is the ikigai?
The ikigai is not a simple translation of our word “raison d’être”. His particular approach is to want to position himself right in the center of our life, at the crossroads of our different centers of interest. It combines our passions, careers, vocations and missions. And this is its real asset in my opinion: it allows us to ask the right questions and allows us to discover ourselves.
Thanks to ikigai, you will be able to put a word on what interests you first, and then to differentiate well each aspect of your life: your skills, your values and what makes you vibrate, for in the end find a way to make yourself useful to society and realize your worth.
On its own, it can answer the following questions: Is my passion my profession? Does my vocation help others? Is my passion useful to the world?
How to fill your ikigai?
By filling in each of the circles, then crossing them, you will gradually get closer to your Ikigai, until you clearly identify it.
1. What you like
It’s all the activities that you like to do every day, those that you do with pleasure and natural. It can be an activity that you intuitively do on weekends. For example: cooking, reading, or even a sporting activity, gardening, singing, etc. It can also be a more general interest (example: animals, children, chatting, meeting new people, …) or even a broader cause such as respect for the environment. It’s about really making an observation of what drives you everyday and listing ALL these interests in this first circle.
Remember the rule n ° 1 to follow to complete your ikigai: inform each category without judgment on yourself. And even if an activity seems original or a little special: note it. The goal is to take the time to discover yourself, circle by circle, then cross the information that you would not have thought to cross at the start.
You’ll see … Let’s continue.
2. What you are good at
Here, you will fill the circle by writing the things for which you have skills, talent. Example: lyric singing, DIY, solving equations, planning, etc. These are the things you are good at.
At the crossroads of what you like and what you are good at, you will identify your passions: fill in the intersection “passion” by cross-checking the information in circles 1 and 2.
3. What you could get paid for
The idea in this category is to think about why and in what form you might get paid. Generally speaking, you get paid to sell something: a product or a service. It’s up to you to define which product (tangible or intangible) or which service rendered, could allow you to earn money.
At the crossroads of what you are good at and what you could be paid for, you exercise a profession: fill in the intersection “profession” by cross-checking the information in circles 2 and 3.
4. What the world needs
Finally, this last category is directly linked to your values and aspirations for the world. Write in this fourth circle the things you would like to bring to the world to make it better.
At the crossroads of what you could be paid for and what the world needs, you will identify your vocation: fill in the intersection “vocation” by cross-checking the information in circles 3 and 4.
At the crossroads of what the world needs and what you like, you will identify your mission: fill in the intersection “mission” by cross-checking the information in circles 4 and 1.
Interpretation of ikigai
Why the ikigai requires the crossing of the 4 categories? Well simply, because if one of the 4 categories is missing, you will only be partially happy: you will always lack a spark to your happiness.
You will find below 4 examples of situations in which you might not fill in your ikigai.
Case 1: Exercising a profession that does not meet its values
Take the example of someone who does a job in which he excels and for which he is well paid. He is simply exercising a profession, which does not meet these values and aspirations for the world. What happens in this case? You will understand … He will certainly be in a comfortable and safe position but will feel useless on earth. Even if it is a job he likes to do, if it doesn’t do what he believes is important to the world, he will still feel useless on earth.
Solution: If this is your case now, you need to figure out how to make sense of your profession, so that it brings to the world what it needs to feel useful again.
Case 2: Living your passion but without being paid
This category can be a great lure of happiness. Indeed, realizing your passion (what you love and what you are good at) can be exhilarating and exciting on a daily basis. Especially if this passion makes sense and echoes with our values. Unfortunately, if you don’t get paid to realize this passion, it simply has no value in the eyes of the world. This case generally includes the great artists who cannot make a living from their passion.
Solution: If you find yourself in this category, you need to find a way to create value through your passion. You must identify and precisely measure the added value that you wish to bring to the world.
Case 3: Fulfilling your vocation without being good at doing it
In this case, it is a person who performs an activity that he likes, that makes sense for him and for which he is well paid. But someone, for example, is just starting out in the profession and does not yet have the expertise and experience necessary to be able to help on a daily basis. This situation, although exciting and pleasant, will lead to a feeling of uncertainty and discomfort.
Solution: Here, the solution is rather simple. You will need to increase your skills in the trade by working more than expected and by training yourself.
Case 4: Exercising a profession you don’t like
This is the worst category in my opinion … This scenario quickly leads to an interior emptiness in the one who lives it. This is the case of someone who does a job that makes sense to him, who is good at his job, and who is well paid to do it, but who does not like what he does. Regardless of the efforts made, this person will not vibrate and will always have this feeling of inner emptiness.
Solution: If you are experiencing this situation, I strongly advise you either to radically change your profession, or to add a dimension to your profession that allows you to carry out an activity that you enjoy.
In conclusion, this method makes it possible to answer THE essential question that we too often forget to ask ourselves: WHY? Implied: why am I on earth? To know which direction and which direction to give to your life, it is essential to ask yourself this question at least once in life. Quite often we ask ourselves secondary questions such as “what to do?” “Or” how to do it? “ However, it is by answering our “why” that the “how” and the “what” will flow naturally.
In another article, I share my experience with this tool. You will see how it allowed me to discover myself, to make connections between my passions and my aspirations. Clearly, how I was able to identify my reason for being on earth.
If you too are looking for yourself and your goal in life, let me know in the comments, I will be happy to answer it!
See you soon.