Updated: Feb 27
Finding your ikigai is the first step to fulfilment
When reading Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life during my move to Berlin, it helped me kick start my freelance writing career and find my reason “why”.
I was struggling to find my way (who doesn’t?!) and it helped me hone in on what I want.
The recurring question of “what’s my purpose in life?” seems to be ringing loudly with everyone due to a myriad of issues like mental health, corrupt leaders, and climate change forcing us to feel we must take action.
All of the world’s issues make us want to feel more useful; understandably so.
The pressure to practice positivity is pushing the factor of finding our purpose to the top.
I believe we all have an innate desire for purpose, so finding your Ikigai could assist with this.Here’s how to find your Ikigai and let it fulfil you:
What is ikigai?
The Japanese term ikigai (pronounced ik-ee-guy) is interpreted as “reason for being” through mission, passion, profession, vocation. It is the Japanese way of living a harmonious life based on the island of Okinawa, where people with the highest life expectancy follow their ikigai to live a long and lush life.Our ikigai is essentially what we are all looking for — these days we lack purpose, motivation and that “why”.
Do you feel the same? I did too.
When my best friend passed away, I just knew I had to help people with mental health issues through the power of words and movement. It took me a while to figure out how, but it makes me wake up in the morning and try again. Never give up because you have a purpose!
The power of purpose is real; it helps you find direction in life. Every day I am reminding myself of my mission, but it doesn’t just go “boom” when you find your ikigai; trust me.Finding your ikigai to feel fulfilled takes dedication and time; in essence, it is finding out your passion and making it your purpose. Ask these questions to find out what yours is.
Don’t listen to the voice in your head saying you don’t have one. Everyone does.You are born with it, but finding it may be the hardest part.
So how do you find your ikigai and let it fulfil you?
Its ethos is based on a model where you must find your passion, mission, profession and vocation and bring it together for the greater good of the world. No wonder coaches are sprouting up from everywhere these days — we all want to help in some way or another! I know I do:
How I found my ikigai
I believe money doesn’t lead to happiness; known it for quite a while. After all:
“Many psychologists and economists have found the correlation between money and happiness is weak.” — Daniel H. Pink
My peace comes from within, and that is why I help people reach it through teaching yoga in Berlin. I’ve always tried to centre this in my mission when pursuing career and job options. My ikigai is to empower and educate people, but I have only found this out over the past five years.
The means in my mission could change, but for now, I am focussing on writing and teaching yoga, although coaching is something I love doing too.
Don’t be scared to label yourself as something forever — just go with the flow.So my belief in God, the universe and the little things have encouraged me to stick with my Ikigai, even through tough times because:
“He who has a why can endure any how” — Frederick Nietzsche
With this in mind, my mission is to help bring peace to people who think otherwise too. So that’s where I started: finding my passion for writing and practising yoga.
What about you? It’s ABSOLUTELY OK if you don’t have something ringing in your mind right now, that’s the whole point of the ikigai model to help you.
Your career may sway you away from finding your ikigai, but you can let it transform your business and life in one — it is all about bringing it everything together.It helped me, but I helped myself by reflecting and mind mapping a lot… I don’t limit myself to one passion though, rather I am a multi-disciplinary creative (it gets overwhelming with so much curiosity driving me on, but it’s OK!).
Discovering your ikigai
I get it, you’re like “I don’t have a passion”. Well, you do; everyone does. Here are ten ways to find your ikigai — they are simpler than you think, trust me!
From smiling to interacting with your friends, you can find your ikigai and let it fulfil you.Everyone’s purpose is to live a fulfilled life, so start from here and work your way onwards and upwards.Believe it and pursue it and don’t be afraid to try out new things.
For example, I played the violin and piano, did horse riding, danced, played football — man I had loads of hobbies and passions when I was younger! Now I don’t do half the things anymore. I’m saying this because it might help you in honing in on your ikigai.
You just need to try and dedicate time to find out what fits you and accept it could fit you now, maybe not in ten years, but just focus on the present moment.Ikigai doesn’t have the answer — you do. It is a tool to help you hone in on your skills and sentiment in life, but it is up to you to do some soul-searching when finding the sweet spot!
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ― Hector Garcia Puigcerver, Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life
Firstly it’s your mission to find out what your passion is by trying new things out, talking to loved ones, letting people question you so you can reflect.Read, write and ignite.Once you’ve found your passion, you can find a medium that will enable you to express it and earn from it (not making money the goal though!).How to find your ikigai and let if fulfil you may take time, but that’s OK — no need to rush! Take a test and find out what your ikigai is!
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