What Does Ikigai Mean? - It’s About Finding Your Reason For Living

Last updated by Lauren Hart

Ahhhh, finding your reason to live, isn't it a wonderful dream? Well, thanks to Ikigai, it is possible to discover your life purpose and what makes you tick! If you have never heard of it, it is a philosophy that comes straight from Okinawa, one of the Japanese islands where there are the most centenarians in the world! Japan has a lot to teach us, so let's lean toward this method that allows you to find meaning in your life! πŸ™

What Does Ikigai Mean? - It’s About Finding Your Reason For Living

What is Ikigai? - It means finding your purpose in life

"Ikigai is a Japanese word that translates as "iki" for "life" and "gai" for "worthwhile". This word corresponds to a philosophy that consists in giving a sense to our life, and balance, and teaches us to be happy. The well-being rituals of the Japanese and their way of thinking and living are a great inspiration. Finding our reason to live by analyzing what makes us feel good is a good way to be happy! 🌿 Ikigai allows us to be completely aligned with ourselves in all areas and confirms to us that "this is where I need to be!".

According to the Japanese, we all possess an Ikigai... But not just one! Indeed, we can have several Ikigai during our life. After all, our reason for living will not be the same at 15 as at 60! It is therefore important to be and remain in harmony with your Ikigai according to the stages of your life. HΓ©ctor Garcia and Francesc Miralles, authors of the book "The Ikigai Method, discover your life mission" explains this: "Our Ikigai is comparable to a radio frequency: the better we synchronize with it, the more we will feel that our life has a meaning."

>>> Read; Is it a bad thing not to have life goals and dreams?

How to achieve Ikigai, your reason for being?

Ikigai allows us to find motivation and pleasure to get up in the morning, just like a mood board helps us to keep our dreams in mind. This method can help us to stop feeling empty. To find your reason for living, you need to take stock of your life. For example, we can write down 10 things we did last week and ask ourselves if these elements give meaning to our life. To do this, we must ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Is it something we like to do?
  • Is it something the world needs?
  • Are we good at it?
  • Is it something for which I can get recognition (social, relational, financial, etc.)?

This analysis will allow us to quickly identify the areas that interest us and that are already in our lives. It is necessary to do this check regularly because the Ikigai evolves with our life, as said before.

How to fill in an Ikigai?

It is not very complex to fill in your Ikigai! Indeed, if we have already asked ourselves the questions by analyzing the things we like to do, we have already done a part of the reflection. However, the easiest way is to fill in a table with 4 columns. These are represented by the outer circles of the Ikigai:

Representation of the Ikigai

Mission - Passion - Profession - Vocation - Representation of the Ikigai - Kajiro

What do I like?

❀️ This is usually the easiest thing to find. Instinctively, we know what we like and what our passions are. However, if it's not obvious to you, ask yourself what brings you pleasure, what activities you enjoy doing the most, etc. I'll give you my example, for my part, I am passionate about photography. It is an activity that I love and that I "need" to do to feel happy.

What I'm good at / What are we good at?

πŸ’ͺ So there's no question of telling ourselves we don't know how to do anything! We all have skills and abilities. You have to look at yourself objectively to understand the things you are capable of. For example, you can think about the number of languages you speak, the way you practice a sport, the way you cook, draw, write, etc. Our human qualities are also part of our assets, we must not forget them! Come on, let's throw flowers at each other for this step, it won't hurt!

What do I care about / what does the world need?

πŸ’­ This is the part most subject to different interpretations. But basically, it's about finding a cause that motivates us and that can move society forward. We can ask ourselves what we would like to change in the world, and what trace of our passage do we want to leave? Nevertheless, we should not put pressure on ourselves regarding this part! We can't all be doctors, environmental activists, researchers, etc. The world needs many people and things.

What I can get paid for / What makes me money?

πŸ’° This is about taking stock of our professional abilities. When we change jobs, we don't start from scratch. We have a foundation that we keep or even transfer from one job to another. This is why it is important to know them well in order to know in which field you can be useful and to determine what you like to do. We can not compose without this parameter because we need money to live serenely in our current society. So this is one of the pillars of Ikigai!

➜ When an activity ticks all the boxes, our Ikigai is achieved. It will be a given once we identify it! However, if you can't find your Ikigai, it means you need to keep exploring and have an inquiring mind. In this way, you will always find your way. You have to experiment and get out of your comfort zone!

Editor's opinion: Don't put pressure on yourself!

Finding your path, and your reason for being, is not easy. Sometimes it comes to us naturally, sometimes it is more complicated, and it can take time. If you can't find meaning in what you do, contact a coach to take stock of your situation and find together the keys that will allow you to flourish.

πŸ€— Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... It's here and now!


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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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