Have you ever felt uncertain of what drives you in life?
It might be a job that you can’t seem to enjoy, a profession you feel lacks value or maybe a passion that you can’t seem to make profitable. Every person in the world has their own unique set of skills, desires and beliefs but those aspects are not always easy to understand for ourselves.
There is a widely used concept that roots in Japan called Ikiagi. It is used as a long term tool to help one focus their “Reason of being”
The word “Ikigai” stems from two Japanese words, iki (meaning life) and kai (pronounced “gai” meaning effect, result, worth, benefit.) The word translated to English roughly means "thing that you live for" or "the reason for being.” Ikigai is usually used to indicate the value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile.
Not necessarily related to economic status, Ikigai is a long term tool used during a lifetime and may very well change over time. Everyone has their own ikigai, it’s personal, it reflects the inner self of a person. Caring for it can help create a sense of a life worth living.
Why use Ikigai?
It’s important to remember that understanding your own Ikigai is not a quick solution for social or economical success. It is a long term tool used in order to help focus and establish a unique mental world for a person to feel at ease with.
There are a few main reasons for the long life of the Okinawa community and Dan regards Ikigai to be one of them. He gives the examples of a 102-year-old karate master, his ikigai was carrying forth this martial art.
A hundred-year-old fisherman, for him his Ikigai was continuing to catch fish for his family three times a week and a 102 year old woman, her ikigai was simply her great-great-great-granddaughter. The U.S National Institute on Aging gave Dan a questionnaire to give the centenarians of Okinawa. One of the questions was, "What is your ikigai?" They instantly knew why they woke up in the morning.
Fill out the corner boxes first and then fill out the sides based upon the corners and then fill out the Ikigai based upon the sides.
How to use Ikigai?
The ikigai lies in the center of 4 interconnected base aspects (used here as the center out of 9 boxes).
The base aspects (used here as the 4 corner boxes) are:
These base aspects are interconnected and between them we find more personal aspects of our lives (used here as the top, bottom, left and right boxes).
Take your time to fill out the base aspects. You can use these questions to help you get started.
- What talents do you have and what do you excel at even when you aren’t trying?
We proceed in doing the same as we did in the corner boxes and one by one we start filling out the personal aspect of our life each time finding and connecting more and more dots in order to find our Ikigai
On the last step of our personal mind network of an Ikigai, we will take all these points we found throughout our lives and using them, find what connects all of these together, our Ikigai.
Our personal, faithful, long term and sometimes even changing Ikigai.
One of the worlds longest lasting “self achievement” concepts for a long and fruitful life. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but it certainly helped me find my drive in life and focused me to seize the best suiting opportunities.