When I've launched my blog "My journey to ikigai", a few of my friends reached out to Google Maps. They were trying to figure out where I've buggered off to again. Hence I thought it might be a good idea to explain what this ikigai is all about...
ikigai is not a hidden island in the Pacific Ocean. It’s also not a fantasy destination, I made up with my Monkey Mind.
ikigai is simply: a reason for being!
A reason for being you wonder? What does it mean exactly? It is THE reason why you jump out of bed with excitement every morning. A reason that propels you forward in life. Where does it come from you wonder? It’s the mantra of the Japanese people in Okinawa – an archipelago between Japan and Taiwan! They live long and happy lives because they all have an ikiga and because they’ve a plant based diet. And are exposed to loads of sunshine because they’re living in a subtropical climate. Let’s forget about the diet! Who doesn’t love chocolate and wine! I love the fact that they live long and happy lives because they do have an ikigai and because they absorb Vitamin D through sunlight which promotes stronger bones and healthier bodies. Am not going into the benefits of Vitamin D – although am 1000% sure Vitamin D is great for you.
Let’s focus on the reason for being.
ikigai consists of four elements: Do something you love. Do something you are good at. Do something you can be paid for. Do something the world needs. Sounds simple, right? Of course, you’ve only found your ikigai, once you’re doing all four elements at the same time. And that’s where things get complicated!
A lot of people don’t do what they love to do. Why is that? Either what they love to do won’t pay the bills. Or they feel the pressure by family to do something solid in life. And then you have those ones, who are driven by money and prestige. They do jobs they get paid for well, but does the world need it? And of course, the many ones who do something in between.
Let’s dig a bit deeper to understand the four elements of ikigai.
- Element 1: Your profession – you do something you are good at and get paid for. You feel comfortable, but something seems missing.
- Element 2: Your vocation – you do something you get paid for and the world needs. You feel excited but you have a feeling of uncertainty.
- Element 3: Your passion – you do something you are good at and what you love. You’re satisfied but might feel like you’re not having a positive impact on the world.
- Element 4: Your mission – you do something you love and the world needs. You feel delighted and fulfilled, but if it doesn’t pay your bills, it sucks big times.
Do you see now, how complicated this whole ikigai thing gets? Bloody hell, no wonder it took me 45 years to figure this out!
So to cut a long story short, ikiga is your compass in life – guiding you to a long and happy life!