Do you want to wake up each day feeling energized and purposeful, knowing that you can make a positive impact in the world and live life to the fullest?
Do you want to move beyond your current constrictions, fears, doubts, and negative emotions to become an unstoppable force of happiness and success?
In a rapidly changing world, we are constantly looking for a way to combine our passion and talents, to find meaning in our work and life… To lead a Purpose-Driven Life!
So, what’s your reason for getting up in the morning?
If you are still wondering and reflecting on the question a lot, finding your Ikigai could help you to refocus your energies, and really plan out your hopes and goals for the future.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is the age-old Japanese ideology of finding joy in life through purpose and has long been associated with longevity.
In other words, your Ikigai is what gets you up every morning and keeps you going.
The age-old ideology of Ikigai can help you find your purpose to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Finding your ‘Ikigai’ helps you to keep looking towards the future, even when you are going through a difficult time.
Why is Ikigai important?
Many sociologists, scientists, and journalists have researched and hypothesized the usefulness and truth behind this particular phenomenon, and they’ve come to a number of very interesting conclusions. One particular theory is that Ikigai can make you live longer and with more direction.
In September 2017, the popular Japanese TV program Takeshi no katei no igaku partnered with a group of scientists to conduct research in the small town of Kyotango in Kyoto, a place which prides itself in having a population that has three times more residents over the age of 100 compared to the average of the rest of the country.
The program wanted to know what commonalities these elderly happy people had in their daily lives and so followed seven people in their late 90s and early 100s around from morning ‘till dawn, doing blood tests and other health check-ups.
What they found interesting was that all seven people had exceptionally high figures of DHEA, a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that many believe may be the miracle “longevity hormone.”
Interestingly enough, as the program followed those men and women around, they found one single thing they all had in common: a hobby they practiced every day that they were really into. One woman in her late 90s was seen spending a few hours everyday carving Japanese traditional masks, another man painted, another went fishing daily.
While the correlation between having a hobby you love and the increase of DHEA is yet to be proven scientifically, the program suggested that having this one thing that keeps you interested, focused, and gives you a sense of satisfaction in life may boost your youth DHEA hormone, thus leading to a longer and happier life.
Misconceptions about Ikigai
It’s not about making money.
Ikigai is not the pursuit of professional success or financial freedom. Most Japanese would not associate making money with Ikigai. Success and the accumulation of wealth could be a by-product of your ikigai, but it would not be the focus.
It’s not what the world needs from you.
Ikigai is not about what the world needs from you. Ikigai lies in the realm of community, family, friendships and in the roles you fulfill. When you pursue your Ikigai, you are not out to save the world. It is more about connecting with and helping the people who give meaning to your life – your family, friends, co-workers and community.
It’s not about what you’re good at.
You don’t have to be good at something to find your Ikigai. Ikigai can be a very simple daily ritual or the practice of a new hobby. Ikigai is more about growth rather than mastery.
It’s often not about what you love.
Ikigai can be something you love or are passionate about, but you can find Ikigai in areas of your life you would least expect. Ikigai is more about living your values and finding meaning and purpose in daily living regardless of what constraints you may have.
Finding your Ikigai
Discovering your own Ikigai is said to bring fulfillment, happiness and make you live longer. If you’re feeling lost or unsure about what your Ikigai is, there are a number of ways to refocus your mind and purpose.
The problem for millions of people is that they stop being curious about new experiences as they assume responsibilities and build routines. Their sense of wonder starts to escape them. But you can change that, especially if you are still looking for meaning and fulfillment in what you do daily.
Albert Einstein encourages us to pursue our curiosities. He once said:
“Don’t think about why you question, simply don’t stop questioning. Don’t worry about what you can’t answer, and don’t try to explain what you can’t know. Curiosity is its own reason. Aren’t you in awe when you contemplate the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure behind reality? And this is the miracle of the human mind — to use its constructions, concepts, and formulas as tools to explain what man sees, feels and touches. Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity.”
In the book – Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Garcia suggested that if you find yourself blocked because change is difficult, try adding some new things to your life: a new hobby, a new circle of friends, or a new job on the side.
If you feel like you’re struggling, Garcia makes the suggestion that you “gain awareness of the current status of your life.”
Start by putting together a note of the top 10 things you have spent your time this week. After writing them down, ask yourself if those things are adding purpose to your life. You can subdivide by asking yourself four questions:
- Is it something that I love doing?
- Is it something the world needs?
- Is it something I’m good at?
- Is it something I can get paid for? If it’s not something you can get paid for, is what you can get paid for a good trade-off for really financially supporting your Ikigai?
If this all feels a little too cemented and you have trouble committing, don’t sweat it, research has uncovered that just like music taste, fashion and, opinions, a person’s Ikigai can change and morph with age, so chances are they need a semi-regular check-up.
If you still need help in finding your Ikigai, join us in this 1-day activity-packed Ikigai workshop to help you live a more fulfilling and Purposeful Life!