Ikigai, a small word, with a far bigger and deeper meaning.
In absence of an exact English word, you can understand it as quite similar to ‘Happiness’ or ‘Fulfillment’ but with fine distinctions.
It is basically composed of 2 parts ‘Iki’ ie. To Live, and ‘Gai’ ie. ‘Reason or Value’.
Simply put it means a reason for living or giving a meaning to our lives that makes it worthy of living.
In a fast growing work culture all around the world that generates stress with equal speed, is there something that makes you wake up & get out of your bed every morning…? Other than of course your job. Someone’s value in life can be work – but is certainly not limited to that. It is something that make you look beyond the money.
It could be anything that give you a sense of fulfillment each day and make you look forward to the next.
This something is your Ikigai.
Ikigai, a Japanese concept that embodies the idea of happiness in living. Essentially, it is the reason for our living.
Okinawa, a place situated in Ryuku Islands of Japan is a popular Blue-zone, popular for the longevity of its inhabitants.
Okinawa has of highest centenarians ratio in the world ie. people beyond the age of hundred in every 1 lakh inhabitants.
The reason & explanation for this is attributed to their low stress lifestyle, a unique diet and innate spirituality.
Older people are celebrated there, and they feel obligated to pass on their wisdom to younger generations, and this in turn gives them a purpose in life outside of themselves, in service to their communities.
This implies that in order to complete your goal of ikigai, you must serve your role towards bigger good or community.
To those scientific minds out there, Andres Zuzunga also proposed a Venn diagram to explain this concept with four overlapping qualities: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.
Although not that overly simple but Ikigai in itself guides you to simplify your life and take small definite steps towards a fulfilling happiness.
Ikigai is what ask you to look forward to the future even if you’re unhappy and dissatisfied at present.
You can start by making three lists:
– Your values,
– Things you like to do and
– Things you are good at.
The cross section of these three lists is your Ikigai.
But, knowledge alone gets you nothing if it lacks actions.
So find out your reason for true happiness & deep satisfaction and turn it into a purpose with action.