What is your Ikigai?

What is your Ikigai?

2.4K Flares 2.4K Flares ×

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. An ikigai is essentially ‘a reason to get up in the morning’. A reason to enjoy life.

Having spent most of the last few years helping dozens and dozens of entrepreneurs find their ikigai, whilst also searching for my own, I can now visualise where it belongs.

 

graph

Your ikigai lies at the centre of  those interconnecting circles. If you are lacking in one area, you are missing out on your life’s potential. Not only that, but you are missing out on your chance to live a long and happy life.

I have had a long time obsession with outliers, and interestingly enough, there are some outlier communities in the world that live far longer than average. If you are interested in learning more about this, watch Dan Buettner’s TED talk on How to Live to 100+. There are some surprising conclusions about the factors that create a long and healthy life. One of the most significant factors is ikigai.

These days, my reason for getting out of bed is to work on projects that reimagine society and education. For someone who spent decades struggling to find a reason to get out of bed, it is now a refreshing change to have this deep sense of purpose. My health and wellbeing have radically improved during recent years, too. The primary reason for this has not been the healthy choices I have made or the diets I have followed, but because I now live with a sense of purpose – and that is the platform for all the other decisions I make.

In The Dandelion Project, we are looking to make Guernsey the best place to live on earth by 2020. Part of that mission is discovering how we can all live a long and healthy life. One of our moonshot goals is for Guernsey to become the first country on earth to have a life expectancy of 100.

We have created this goal to challenge our community to look at healthcare in a radically different way. Living a long life has very little to do with medicine and surgery, which is where most of our health care spending goes. It has everything to do with moving, eating and meaning. All of which can be achieved at no cost to the community.

If we can come together with a collective sense of belief and purpose and take action on this, our population of 65,000 will live longer and be in better health. All without a single doctor’s appointment or pill!

The secret to a long and happy life is not to live in the hope of a great life tomorrow. It is to live with intention today. What I love is that this is possible not only at the individual level, but entire communities can learn from it, as well.

Have you found your ikigai?

– Are you doing something that you love?

– That the world needs?

– That you are good at?

– And that you can be paid for?

How can you live with purpose today, to live a longer and healthier life?

As ever, I am interested to hear your thoughts, comments, and experiences. Please share them in the comments section below.

Marc

 

2.4K Flares Google+ 18 Twitter 166 Facebook 1.7K LinkedIn 531 2.4K Flares ×

Please, let me know what you think of this post:

Love It 704Hate It 104

Comments

add a comment
  1. Great one! Love the visual!

  2. I believe this is very much in alignment with Jim Collins reference to a company’s hedgehog concept in “Good to Great”. Solid people concepts are applicable to individuals as well as organizations of individuals. Conceptually, he identified three circles and you have identified four; differentiating between vocation and profession. Either way, I absolutely agree that the key to finding fulfillment (even a sense of purpose or calling) is through getting aligned with the intersecting area between skill, passion and external “need”.

  3. Super cool post Marc!

  4. I could not agree more with this. As a nutritionist I find those that have their “ikigai”, are able to lead happier and healthier lifestyles with minimal health support. Those that are not living their life with that purpose require far more attention with regards to optimal nutrition and lifestyle management.

    I see a very strong relationship between the psychological mind and the physical body.

  5. I call it Ying and Yang or Mojo. My is very much unbalanced due to unfair QCAT Hearing and now having to deal with trying to get help to appeal. I’m really worried about my Mum it’s having a terrible affect on her. I just want to get her Home to her house, unfortunately the Adult Guardian and Public Trustee are involved. It’s draining, daunting, suffocating our energy and intruding on our lives and our Human Rights. I want to take her on a well deserved Holiday. Unfortunately I urgently need to get a regular income. It’s very difficult to Focus at times.

  6. How do I find my ikigai? You fall into a rut of doing things the way they are for the fear of not wanting to get out of your comfort zone and then suddenly one day you realize you are bored and want to find your ikigai? At this stage what do you do?

    • Try to search the activities that you love. You might as well find one that the world needs. Get good at it if you don’t already do, and see if you can get paid for it. Search for the answer inside yourself, by yourself. Search of Ikigai can be a lenghty process. Good luck!

  7. Tilak Raj Kapoor says:

    Wonderful insight into something new for me.

  8. Ah

    So that’s ikigai!

    Very good stuff.

  9. I love the thought of the IKIGAI . Makes me want to sit and check what’s mine

  10. Julie Brightman says:

    Absolutely wonderful post! Let’s start a revolution and all focus on finding our ikigai!

  11. Richard says:

    Ikigai – interesting idea, don’t think I’ve got one. Getting out of bed and enjoying life are two different things for me. I have “passion” only for my family. I’m not passionate about my work – I like it and I’m good at it, not for reasons of “passion” but because of professional aspiration. The business I’m in needs that expertise and I’m getting paid for it rather well. “Improving the world”? Nope – not the world, not before I haven’t improved upon myself. Am I a sad cynic? No, not that either. Perhaps, and perhaps more acurately, I’m not at “ikigai” – I’m more focussed on personal “Kaizen” – continuous improvement, like getting the beam out of my eye before pointing out the splinter in yours. Would nice to arrive at Ikigai.

  12. Tony Trenker says:

    Awesome – that graphic is going on my desktop so I can see it every day (after I get up).

  13. Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.
    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article
    together. I once again find myself personally spending a
    significant amount of time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  14. Inspiring, thoughtful and it has actually moved me to consider more concretely what it is exactly that makes me want to get up to face each day! I too read replies because I wanted to read how this has touched others’ hearts and minds…thanks all for sharing. I need to give the diagram more thought, print it, share it and talk to others about it.

  15. Hello mates, good piece of writing and fastidious urging commented
    here, I am in fact enjoying by these.

  16. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic
    blog!

  17. And the Google Content Network can pull up many advertising targeting techniques notwithstanding the fact that you have a massive
    inventory of text and image ads spread across the many websites on the internet.
    Make sure that the grammar and spelling on your pages are correct.
    Asking price denotes a very high price that is beyond what traders are
    likely to pay.

  18. On peսt te dire que ce n’est guère incohérent ..

  19. Neville Eden says:

    Where does the Passion, Mission, Vocation, Profession visual model originate from? Whose Intellectual Property is it please – I’m trying to find the source article(s). Thanks x

  20. Todos comen, y la mayoría de las personas se divierten haciéndolo, con lo que el alimento
    siempre y en todo momento es buen interés común para
    preguntas de una trivia.

  21. EeekedTguyatyagoo says:

    I’m a cop… I hate it…cause people hate me for my job

    • the police saved my life once. We don’t all hate you.

    • Mine as well. Twice! Once, solely by being present and within eye/earshot of a psycho who I’m positive would have ended it. Unfortunately, I can’t find him to thank him. He wasn’t even aware, not because of a lack of awareness, but because I froze, unable to speak, move a muscle to escape, or signal distress! I’m saddened that so many Officers feel the way you do… I’ve had to save my own life twice as well, but I’m not bitter or angry that L.E. couldn’t help me at the time. Nor do I place blame. I’ve seen, felt, and heard the ignorance shown by humans as a whole, and refuse to participate. Bad people come in all forms, period. I have overcome far too much to criticize an entire community over a single member’s actions. On behalf of all those whose life was saved, enriched, or changed in a positive manner that impacted entire families and communities, please know… You matter. I am grateful!

      Thank you for serving those who show no gratitude, respect, or tolerance for your courage to enforce laws knowing that it will require difficult, often painful decisions that will earn you only criticism. For making those judgement calls even for those some would say don’t deserve your help. For being the person responding to a call for help from a victim of violence, for being brave, strong, and dedicated to helping us, regardless of how much fear you feel personally. Thank you for protecting those of us who couldn’t protect ourselves, regardless of the possible risks to your life, health, and sanity. Thank you for saving far greater lives than any of us know, but mostly the ones you aren’t even aware of. Some of us pray daily that every Officer goes home safe every day.

      God Bless and Keep You… Always!

    • I’m a nurse and I hate it. Gringos you down and destroys the soul

  22. This is perfect. I turn 29 in a few weeks, and have done a lot of things in my short time here; taught english in asia, was an itinerant fruit picker, lived on a commune and went to a bunch of music festivals, got suicidal, became a veterinary nurse, almost got married, worked 12 hour shifts in a factory, got really really ill, bred dogs, and all sorts of other things
    But while all of those satisfied various part of me, there was always something off. It felt like I was wasting my life.

    I sat down and had a long hard think about my skills and my values. ACT (action and commitment therapy) is really good for finding your ikigai; it helps you to look at the discrepancy between what you hold important, how you spend your days and what you’re capable of doing/willing to learn.

    I’m now completing a PhD working for an NGO in Africa. I’m constantly exhausted and often confused and frustrated. I miss my friends and family. But I can get up every day and know that it will not be wasted; I will be able to feed myself while performing an valuable service in an area I’m competent in and find satisfaction, and sometimes even joy.

    Its possible. Find your thing. Do it better.

  23. Great article!:) How happy & productive world we could live in if everyone is aligned with their ikigai. Do you think it is possible?

  24. Thank you for this succint reminder.
    Longevity has always had as much to do with a healthy mental lifestyle as with a physical one.
    Purpose, interest and connection are all linked to better mental health as well.
    The loss of community and the help it provides to developing ikegai seems to be a major contributor to depression.
    Sandy
    vajrablue.com

  25. My Ikigai is to live in Guernsey 😉

  26. Hi Marc, Great article although I found it late! I relate to what you have written very much.
    My purpose is to create beautiful uplifting spaces where people can re-connect and feel centred again. Really important when talking about healthcare.
    Have a look at my site for some examples.
    Good luck.
    Helen

  27. What happens to all the older workers who lost their jobs and livelihoods at the age of 50 and fell from the middle class into poverty? Sure, there are many great things to do that would add purpose to our lives. But they require going to school all over again. How can someone age 50 or 60 go through undergraduate and graduate school all over again. I see women in their 50s graduate from law school and then after all of that debt they can’t get jobs or pay the license fees. It’s very hard to put this together as an older person.

    • LS, after retirement, the requirements for a happy, useful life could still be met by anyone who finds purpose in his life, who finds pride in so doing, and could still provide for himself a decent livelihood. It may not be the same as being employed or in business as brisk as in his younger years, but satisfying, nonetheless, with respect to his basic needs as a human being.

  28. The ikigai is coincident with saying that “you love your work” and such a work is valued by society, needed by the world, you are expert at it, and gives you an income. It redounds to selfworth, and usefulness, esteem and dignity felt by the individual.

  29. I love your views and figure. One thing I see a little different is because of the word that is chosen. You choose: “which you can be paid for”. This has to do with nowadays economy and not so much with timeless values. In my opinion the current economy does not make possible that people live to their Ikigai..
    I don’t see it necessary to be a job someone pays for. Lots of achievements in the field of environmental and social work are based on voluntary work.
    In my opinion this “box” means it is something you do that is valued in a way so you can make a living (live from it). That could be with a basic income, donations, sharing services and other ways that communities can live in harmony based on values.
    What are your thoughts about this?

    Personally this is the only point I am still somewhat insecure about. I’m restoring ecosystems because of all the other factors and because I believe that making a living (having a roof over my head and food on my plate) will follow, because it is the right thing to do.. Or would you say that is naive and everyone needs to find it in a paid job or has to find a specific someone or a foundation that pays for work that makes the living world (ecosystems no-one owns) a little better?
    Thank you!

  30. Perfect diagram for the search of the center of the “why” that we are here.

  31. Rebecca Reeves says:

    Great discussion. I had a breakdown in November 2014 that caused me to re-evaluate life and my interaction with it. I came up with my own equation that I apply in all facets of my life – from tasks/self/team/family/life in general:

    Clarity & Essence = Purpose & Meaning

    I had to figure out my vision (Clarity) but wanted to retain my authentic self (Essence) This was my ‘what do I want’ portion. Once I could define that, I could then focus on the drive behind it (Purpose) and why it was important (Meaning).

    It has helped me greatly synthesize areas and is likely not perfect but works for me. So whether you do an equation / seek harmony or look to find you ikigai I wish you well on your journey.

  32. Joanne Phillips says:

    Would the Japanese have a picture like the one above, or is that a purely Western (US) way of thinking of Ikigai?

  33. When writing out my own diagram can I use the same words in more than one space? Or should try very hard to find a different answer for each space?

  34. Hello, love your post on igikai. I am writing a book on audition success including a chapter on purpose and would be pleased if I could use your diagram above in my book. I will be willing to credit you in the book. If you can let me know via email would be most appreciated.

  35. I really love this idea! I am very excited to hear how this unfolds. I wish you Long Life and Happiness!

  36. This is awesome,thank you Marc, please tell us more about your country community

  37. Really good. .. appreciate. .
    The secret to a long and happy life is not to live in the hope of a great life tomorrow. It is to live with intention today. What I love is that this is possible not only at the individual level, but entire communities can learn from it, as well.

  38. I think that in the concept of Ikigai something fundamental is missing: feeling love for people and receiving love for people, without doing nothing, just being ourselves. This is the starting point for an happy life and it is not linked with what we love to do or what we are good to do or what we could be paid to do.

  39. When can I move to there and help out?

  40. I dont want to get up on a morning. I need a reason. I dont have one.
    Hope this helps

    – Are you doing something that you love? Not really- I dont love many things

    – That the world needs? The world needs me like a hole in the head. Every day I put masses of plastic in the bin. I create long term pollution. Battery chemicals, nuclear waste

    – That you are good at? I used to be good at many things but now my memory is like a sieve. I used to be an A grade student razor sharp intelligence

    – And that you can be paid for? If there was anything I enjoyed in life besides cuddling and being in love it would be here

    Ok so it didnt work……. Id say 20 years on a wheelchair, celibate, alone, unemployed, minimum income, no holidays away- Im not a failure anyone who had my life would be depressed.

    Whats the answer? Id say my entire life problem would be resolved if my body and brain were able to remember and produce some pleasure chemicals when I eat something nice… see something nice on TV… give someone a hug. I just need a tingle and a brain that works. But my body doesnt work like that anymore. The tingle of excitement, curiosity, enchantment, anticipation, satisfaction has gone. I could eat caviar and feel nothing. I am numb… and forgetful. Numb and dumb

    • Perhaps my story demonstrates the importance of a career (including parent as a career). You can see without a career what happens to a person- what has happened to me.

      I believe society is going in the wrong direction by making computers do the work and making humans slowly redundant. Technology is increasing unemployment.

      Unemployment makes people unhealthy. Look in your own city at the unemployed people… how much more damaged they are mentally. Employment isnt about being a slave to a machine. Its only slavery if money is put before the pleasure of the workforce and the customer. The objective of a business is healthy if it is to provide wonderful experiences to all who interact with it. Its unhealthy if the objective is to squeeze everything to get maximum profit so a few people can eat caviar and truffles whilst 1000s of people suffer the squeeze.

      Some people cant work due to illness. I could do a very specially designed job…basically sitting doing nothing … eg watching for something such as shoplifters or waiting for something. But the staff at the jobcentre have even been replaced with computers as this saves money. The few staff remaining are so tightly stretched they cannot provide me with assistance… because it would take a lot of time to set up/find a job like that.

      Mass unemployment with robots and technology doing all the work will create an unprecedented overload on health services, especially mental health services. People who dont work or have kids are suicidal by 40. Just hanging out eating drinking chatting being entertained… you become suicidal… people would be bored by age 30 suicidal by 40.

      • love you inside of me has not been found yet. I have had so much Western medicine used on me that I am basically disabled for life. I am trying to find the things that I enjoy to do. Ihopefully one of these crafts will allow me to make money I have always labored in the past and now that is an impossibility have 60 screws four bars in cage in my back.I truly believe that the doctor used me as a guinea pig and this is something that I need to let go of. I need to get past this and move on. at this point it’s hard to move at all I fall and get stuck on the floor for three and a half hours. it takes an hour and a half to get out of the bathtub. Yeah I love my bathes,soaking in a quiet bath gives me time to reflect and meditate and get rid of the negativity I think of everything that is wrong and let it go when I’m in the bathtub and try to replace it with goodness. it’s my favorite place for meditation. that’s where I am at this point. I have a very positive foundation I just need to work on my other focal points I have a lot of love a lot of passion and a lot of desire to be able to make money and be able to give torwards my living, and get off of the pills that I am on I do not like taking them.

  41. love you inside of me has not been found yet. I have had so much Western medicine used on me that I am basically disabled for life. I am trying to find the things that I enjoy to do. hopefully one of these crafts will allow me to make money I have always labored in the past and now that is an impossibility have 60 screws four bars in cage in my back.I truly believe that the doctor used me as a guinea pig and this is something that I need to let go of. I need to get past this and move on. at this point it’s hard to move at all I fall and get stuck on the floor for three and a half hours. it takes an hour and a half to get out of the bathtub. Yeah I love my bathes,soaking in a quiet bath gives me time to reflect and meditate and get rid of the negativity I think of everything that is wrong and let it go when I’m in the bathtub and try to replace it with goodness. it’s my favorite place for meditation. that’s where I am at this point. I have a very positive foundation I just need to work on my other focal points I have a lot of love a lot of passion and a lot of desire to be able to make money and be able to give torwards my living, and get off of the pills that I am on I do not like taking them.

  42. Thank you. Inspiring, will need to discuss down and find my ikigai

  43. Awakening to the understanding and experience that we are beyond our “daily grind” is the first step in creating a LIFE with PURPOSE….our special Ikigai! It is wonderful to see the shift happening…and with this, there is promise we will all be able to experience and encourage a WORLD experiencing their Ikigai! Thank you for illuminating another level of what so many are seeking!

  44. Lisa and Michelle,
    I’m so sorry you are in a bad place right now. The danger for both of you is that you are thinking of it as a ‘forever place’. But it’s not.
    This life gives us many opportunities to learn, and sometimes the lessons are hard. But that’s all they are – lessons. And when the bell goes at the end of your lesson you can move on, maybe to one you enjoy more?

    I was talking to a friend the other night. He’s been in a bad place himself, having been a high flier in the banking industry, having it all and having come down with a crash and losing it all. When I met him he was just starting to emerge again – over the past two years he’s come on so far. Not back to the place he was in; his lesson was to learn that other places are better.
    Now his life is full of an integrity he didn’t have before – and instead of being a ‘taker’ he’s become a ‘giver’, as well as a helper and, perhaps, even a healer. He can do this because he knows what it’s like to fail. He can empathise. He can listen. he can give hope to the hopeless. This isn’t a ‘job’. It isn’t even a ‘volunteer post’. It’s an integral part of his life. It comes up if and when – but who is to say it isn’t as valuable as the work of, for example, a skilled surgeon?
    He’s still growing, still getting stronger, but now his formerly empty life (he lost wife, home, was on drugs and alcohol, etc. etc) has meaning. In other words, he’s found his ikigai!

    BUT – one thing that relates very much to you two. He had to learn how to accept help. And that was possibly the hardest part of his lesson.
    So – learn to accept, gracefully, any help you are given. If there is nothing else to be thankful for, be thankful for the fact the you can still see, or hear, or that the sun is shining today, Give thanks every morning – for something. Gradually the list will grow.
    The next step is to smile. Start by smiling at the first three people you meet every day. Gradually the forced smiles will become genuine – and when you get a smile or two back it feels good. And then smiling becomes part of your life, as natural as breathing,and brings good things your way.

    That’s enough, I think. I won’t be back to this site as I have too much to do. I’m retired, but life is so full of …. everything. There just isn’t enough time to do it all.
    I”m living my own life backwards, as I’ve had every bad thing you can imagine happen to me. Whooohooo! Now I know how to rise above it all. Ikigai – I love you!

  45. I have no clue where my passion lies or how to make a living doing something I love.

  46. I lived on Okinawa when I was young and noticed the ” hooray work” attitude of the locals. I now teach many years and jobs later. I’ve had the lucrative yet blood pressure raising and the fabulous and broke jobs and I’ve finally found one with everything. I’m glad to see the entire concept in one handy venn diagram. I just wish I had seen it 30 years ago!

  47. James Owen says:

    World Love Supreme is all of life’s dream… I am fortunate to discover my own genius and learned how to share with the world…
    worldfxcapital.com

  48. Hi Marc

    I’ve just come across your article and had been working with Ikigai for some time

    I live in jersey and love the sound of the dandelion project – perhaps it’s something we could join you with and become a whole Channel Islands whereby we could all live to 100

  49. What if you don’t know the answers to the 4 key questions…..

  50. Agnes Pion says:

    I kind of struggling with the idea of being paid to do what I love , are passionate about and good at . My talents lies in taking care of people and I thought it would be time now to work in the field of health care . After studying for a couple of months I realized that I wanted to help others but have the freedom to do it my way . It seemed to me that fallowing a bunch of rules and regulations was becoming more like a job and less like a true vocation . The idea of getting paid for giving care feels like I am not doing it from the goodness of my heart anymore . I decided to keep my job and volunteer in helping people . Sounded like a good compromise to me . Anyone else struggling with the idea of getting paid ?

  51. I’m going through some life coaching at the moment and after my own revelation that I felt like I had lost my ‘point’ in life I think the recommendation from my coach to read this article has made me realise what I’ve lost…. I’m now on a quest to rediscover my ikigai – thanks so much for this article and for summing ‘it’ up so well

  52. I am arash senamiri I am iraninan but I live in armenia I play harp and I am raw vegan.
    I want to live in nutur and I want a girls for friendship.
    i am 27 years old.

  53. I can I can treat diseases。
    I can cure poverty

Speak Your Mind

*

2.4K Flares Google+ 18 Twitter 166 Facebook 1.7K LinkedIn 531 2.4K Flares ×