“When you have ikigai, you don’t need to motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning. Your passion and purpose will propel you forward.” — Francesc Miralles
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What truly motivates you to rise each morning and embrace the new day?
For over two decades, I’ve been a high-performance coach at Microsoft. Along my journey, I’ve used various tools for helping individuals, teams, and leaders find their mission, purpose, and passion.
One powerful tool is Ikigai. You say it like this: Ikigai (eek-y-guy).
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that essentially means “a reason to get up in the morning” and “a reason to enjoy life.”
As the Japanese government puts it:
“Ikigai is a broad concept, it refers to that which brings value and joy to life: from people, such as one’s children or friends, to activities including work and hobbies.”
Ikigai is actually a very special word because there is no other word that means the same thing.
Ikigai is a simple tool for finding more joy. It’s broader than work. Ikigia means reasons for joy in your life.
Ikiga can be those little rituals that you enjoy or create to enjoy your day.
Ikigai is not the ultimate tool for purpose in work and life. There are other tools for that such as the Golden Circle, the Massive Transformational Purpose (MTP), and the Purpose Venn Diagram (which is mistaken for Ikigai.)
The Best Definition of Ikigai
From all that I’ve seen and all the variations over the years, the best definition of Ikigai and true ikigai meaning, is shared with us by Nicholas Kemp in his book, Ikigai-Kan: Feel a Life Worth Living:
“What makes our life worth living; the reason we battle on through life.”
Kemp explains it further. Ikiga is a combo of two words: iki, meaning, “living” and gai, meaning “the value of” or “worth.” And, according to Professor Akihiro Hasegawa, we need to understand what we mean by “life”.
We can think of “lifetime” or “everyday life”. As Hasegawa puts it:
“The concept of ikigai aligns more to seikatus, so the word relates to finding meaning in life in your day-to-day living.”
I think if more people saw that definition, they would have a more accurate, more precise and yet more profound appreciation for ikigai.
Traditional Japanese Concept of Ikigai
The traditional Japanese concept of ikigai emphasizes deriving contentment from simple pleasures, living in the present, cherishing joyful memories, and cultivating a mindset conducive to a vibrant and fulfilling life.
This interpretation prioritizes personal contentment over professional achievement or entrepreneurial pursuits.
This perspective resonates closely with the Zen Buddhist ethos, highlighting the value of complete engagement in the present moment, deriving happiness from ordinary experiences, and attaining a state of flow and balance in life.
This is NOT Ikigai (It’s Not the Popular “Ikigai Venn Diagram”)
The popular Ikigai Venn diagram that people often refer to is not an accurate depiction of what ikigai truly is.
Ikigai is NOT this popular Venn diagram:
This is actually a misinterpretation of the Zuzunaga Venn Diagram of Purpose.
How did this misinterpretation happen? After watching Dan Buettner’s TED Talk on Living Beyond 100+, Marc Winn penned an inspiring piece named “Discover Your Ikigai”. In his blog entry, Marc created a translated Zuzunaga Purpose Venn Diagram, substituting ‘ikigai’ for ‘purpose’.
What Ikigai is Not:
- Your Ikigai isn’t something you need to make money from.
- Your Ikigai doesn’t have to be something that the world needs.
- Your Ikigai isn’t something that you have to be highly skilled or proficient at.
- Your Ikigai isn’t something you have to necessarily love.
Your ikigai does NOT necessitate a profession or monetary gain.
Ikigai represents your profound sense of joy and is not confined to a specific job or career.
It encompasses a spectrum of joy, purpose, and significance across various facets of life, extending beyond the realm of work.
That’s a good thing. Now your ikigai can do what it does best, which is help you realize and embrace the things that bring you more joy in your life. This takes the pressure off your ikigai. This makes space for the other tools for purpose. And you can use the right tool for the job.
Zuzunaga Venn Diagram of Purpose
The commonly referenced Venn diagram illustrates the convergence of your passions, talents, the world’s needs, and financial viability.
- What do you love?
- What are you good at?
- What can you be paid for?
- What does the world need?
While the Venn diagram might not encapsulate the entirety of ikigai, it remains a pragmatic tool to apply your ikigai to your career.
By identifying intersections of your passions, skills, and purpose, you can infuse your work with profound fulfillment and purpose.
Remember, your ikigai is a guiding force toward a life rich with enjoyment, purpose, and fulfillment, spanning both work and personal spheres.
Sweet Spot Venn Diagram from Agile Results
While we’re on the topic of Venn diagrams, here is a Venn diagram I used to help many Microsoft individuals, teams, and leaders figure out where to focus for their best value creation for their work, career, or business.
This is my “Sweet Spot” Venn Diagram I used when I was training Agile Results in the early 2000s before I shipped my book, Getting Results the Agile Way in 2010.
The point of the Venn was to help people connect their purpose, passion and strength with value creation.
I also used it to help people distinguish between hobbies that they enjoy from where they can realize their career or business potential, doing what they love.
What Is Ikigai?
So, what exactly is Ikigai?
Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.”
Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that translates to “a reason for being”.
When combined, these terms mean that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose.
It’s similar to the French term “raison d’etre” or “reason for being.”
Ken Mogi, a neuroscientist and author of Awakening Your Ikigai, describes Ikigai as an ancient and familiar concept in Japan that can be translated as “a reason to get up in the morning” or “waking up to joy.”
In essence, Ikigai is the ultimate goal that we all seek – a life worth living.
According to Japanese psychologist Michiko Kumano, ikigai is a state of well-being that arises from a person’s devotion to activities they enjoy, which also brings them a sense of fulfillment.
Kumano distinguishes ikigai from hedonia, or transient pleasure, and aligns it with eudaimonia, the ancient Greek concept of a life well-lived that leads to the highest and most lasting form of happiness.
Ikigai Meaning: “The Reason for Which You Wake Up in the Morning”
I first learned about the meaning of Ikigai back in 2008 through Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are areas of the world where people live the longest and healthiest lives.
Buettner argues that in America, we tend to think of our adult life in two stages: work and retirement. However, in Okinawa, there is no word for retirement.
Instead, there is one word that encompasses all aspects of life:
The Japanese concept of ikigai can be translated to mean “the reason for which you wake up in the morning”.
The Okinawan people, embracing ikigai, exemplify enhanced well-being and longevity.
What is the Origin of Ikigai?
Ikigai, the Japanese concept of finding one’s “reason for being,” is rooted in the fundamental principles of traditional Japanese medicine.
This ancient wisdom recognizes the profound impact that mental and emotional health, as well as a sense of purpose in life, have on physical well-being.
Dating back to the Heian period, which spanned from 794 to 1185, Ikigai has been a guiding force for the Japanese people for centuries.
In modern times, Okinawa, a small Japanese island located south of the mainland, has become renowned for its high percentage of centenarians.
A major contributor to this longevity is the island’s strong cultural emphasis on Ikigai, with residents cultivating a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment in their daily lives.
Mieko Kamiya: The Mother of Ikigai
Mieko Kamiya is often referred to as a pioneer in popularizing the concept of ikigai in the context of psychology. She contributed to the understanding of ikigai as a multidimensional concept that encompasses purpose, fulfillment, and a sense of meaning in life.
Her work helped bridge the cultural gap between the traditional Japanese understanding of ikigai and its application in modern psychological and self-help contexts.
Nicholas Kemp refers to her as the “mother” of ikigai because of her contributions have been instrumental in bringing this concept to a broader audience and exploring its relevance to well-being and personal growth.
The Kamiya Ikigai Framework (The Kamiya Flower)
Nicholas Kemp created a simple framework for the 8 needs of Ikigai that he shares on the back of his book, Ikigai-Kan: Feel a Life Worth Living, in a diagram.
He calls his framework, the Kamiya Ikigai Framework (The Kamiya Flower).
It’s based on the 7 needs that Mieko Kamiya determined we need to satisfy, in order to feel Ikigai.
Kamiya found that the experience of ikigai-kan depends on seven needs:
- life satisfaction
- change and growth
- a bright future
- meaning and value
Nick added “a sense of purpose” as an eighth need.
“In today’s world, I believe this sense of purpose has become a need.
Many people need to experience and feel this deep sense of purpose that comes with pursuing a personal mission to feel that their life is worth living.
It may be with changing roles, the abundance of opportunities and the fact that life has become easier through technology that we are looking to express ourselves through the pursuit of a challenge.
For many, the expression of self has become the purpose of the self, and if not expressed life feels unfulfilling.”
8 Needs of Ikigai Explained
You can watch Kemp explain the 8 needs of the Kamiya Ikigai framework:
Here is an explanation of the 8 needs of Ikigai:
- A Sense of Purpose: This is the driving force that gives meaning and direction to our lives. It’s about having a clear reason to wake up each day, a sense of mission that guides our actions, and a feeling that our efforts contribute to something greater than ourselves.
- Life Satisfaction: Ikigai involves a deep contentment with where we are in life. It’s about feeling satisfied with the present moment and recognizing the value in the journey we’re on. It’s not solely about future goals but finding fulfillment in the present.
- Change & Growth: Ikigai acknowledges that life is a journey of continuous growth and evolution. Embracing change and seeking personal development are essential aspects of living a fulfilling life. This need recognizes that stagnation can lead to dissatisfaction and encourages us to constantly learn and evolve.
- A Bright Future: Having ikigai means having hope and optimism for the future. It’s about believing that there are better days ahead and having a positive outlook on what’s to come. This need fuels our motivation to overcome challenges and work towards our goals.
- Resonance: Resonance is about aligning with our passions, values, and strengths. When we engage in activities that resonate with our true selves, we experience a sense of flow and connection. This need emphasizes the importance of pursuing activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.
- Freedom: Ikigai involves a sense of autonomy and the freedom to make choices that align with our values. It’s about having control over our lives and being able to make decisions that lead us towards a life that feels authentic and meaningful.
- Self-Actualization: This is about reaching our highest potential and becoming the best version of ourselves. It’s the pursuit of continuous improvement and self-mastery. Ikigai encourages us to strive for personal excellence and to contribute our unique talents to the world.
- Meaning & Value: At its core, ikigai is about finding meaning and value in what we do. It’s recognizing that our actions have purpose and that they contribute positively to our own lives and the lives of others. This need emphasizes the importance of making a positive impact and leaving a legacy.
The 8 Needs of Ikigai collectively create a holistic framework for living a fulfilling and purposeful life– in your everyday life. They encompass our desire for meaning, growth, freedom, connection, and the pursuit of our highest potential.
Embracing these needs can lead to a sense of balance and harmony that makes life truly worth living… and help you battle on through the trials and tribulations life throws your way.
The 5 Pillars of Ikigai
In the book, The Little Book of Ikigai, Ken Mogi, a neuroscientist, introduces the five pillars of ikigai:
- Starting Small: Embark on the journey by identifying small sources of joy and purpose, such as hobbies or cherished activities.
- Releasing Yourself: Discard mental barriers hindering the discovery of your Ikigai. Shed limiting beliefs and preconceived notions.
- Harmony and Sustainability: Infuse Ikigai into life in a harmonious and sustainable manner, uniting work, personal life, and obligations.
- The Joy of Small Things: Delight in life’s minutiae, be it moments with loved ones or savoring a morning coffee. These snippets contribute to profound purpose.
- Being in the Here and Now: Embrace mindfulness and embrace the present moment. Through this, fathom the elements that truly resonate with your Ikigai, aligning actions with purpose.
Mogi emphasizes that the pillars aren’t meant to be exclusive or exhaustive, nor are they meant to be ranked hierarchically. Instead, they offer essential signposts to help us uncover and comprehend our own ikigai.
Ikigai and Ikigai-Kan
In his book, Ikigai-Kan: Feel a Life Worth Living, Nick Kemp explains the difference between ikigai and ikigai-kan.
“The word ikigai, in other words, indicates the sources of meaning in your life: experiences, people, relationships, hobbies, and even memories that make your life worth living.
Ikigai-kan, on the other hand, represents the emotions and feelings that these sources provide you that make you feel that life is worth living.”
The Source and the State of Ikigai
In her groundbreaking work, “Ikigai-ni-Tsuite” (What Makes Our Life Worth Living), Mieko Kamiya, “The Mother of Ikigai Psychology”, introduced a pivotal distinction that has left a long-lasting impact on subsequent ikigai research.
Kamiya was the trailblazer who first delineated ikigai as not only the driving force that imbues life with significance (the source of ikigai) but also the emotion or state of mind that emerges as a consequence.
Kamiya’s insights highlighted the core attributes of ikigai as a source (or “ikigai taish?”):
- Individuality: Tailored to each person, it aligns with their unique identity.
- Authentic Expression: It serves as a vehicle for expressing one’s true self.
- Purpose and Worth: It contributes to a profound sense of purpose and value in existence.
- Intrinsic Value: It derives intrinsic value from activities rather than being driven by instrumental motives.
- Values Blueprint: It constructs an individualized set of guiding principles for life.
- Liberating Mentality: It shapes an internal mental landscape fostering a life of liberation.
Kamiya’s pioneering insights continue to resonate, unraveling the layers of ikigai and its intricate connection to leading a truly meaningful life.
How Ikigai Aligns with CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) emphasizes pursuing activities that produce enjoyment and a sense of mastery as a way to alleviate depressive disorder.
Ikigai is a state of well-being that arises from devotion to activities you enjoy and find fulfilling, according to Japanese psychologist Michiko Kumano.
Therefore, pursuing activities that align with your ikigai can provide a sense of mastery and enjoyment, which may align with the goals of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
How Ikigai Aligns with Flow
Ikigai aligns with the concept of flow, as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow occurs when a person is in their “zone” and experiences a string of their best moments or moments when they are at their best.
Flow usually happens when a person voluntarily challenges themselves to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile, stretching their mind or body to its limit.
Flow can be said to happen when a person consistently engages in activities they love and are good at, with the possibility of bringing value to others’ lives.
Such activities might be seen as being in tune with your ikigai or things that give your life meaning and purpose.
It is important to note that ikigai is not solely about personal fulfillment and purpose in life but also takes into account others and society at large.
Ikigai considers the broader context of how your passions, skills, and contributions align with the needs of others and society as a whole. It’s about finding a harmonious balance between your own desires and the greater good, recognizing that your sense of purpose can have a positive impact on the people around you and the world at large.
Why is Ikigai Important?
Ikigai is a concept of immense significance due to its ability to provide individuals with a profound sense of purpose, fulfillment, and overall well-being.
Several key reasons contribute to why Ikigai is regarded as such a big deal:
- Life Fulfillment: Ikigai acts as a compass that directs individuals toward joyful things. It encourages the pursuit of activities that bring you joy and make your daily routines and rituals more meaningful, leading to a more fulfilling existence.
- Health and Longevity: Research suggests that having a strong sense of purpose, as promoted by Ikigai, is linked to improved physical and mental health. Individuals with a clear reason for waking up each day tend to experience reduced stress levels, enhanced immune function, and a decreased risk of chronic diseases.
- Resilience: Ikigai equips individuals with a sense of direction and motivation, making them more resilient in the face of challenges. A strong sense of purpose can help individuals navigate life’s ups and downs, enabling them to maintain a positive outlook and persevere through difficulties.
- Positive Psychology: Ikigai aligns closely with positive psychology principles, emphasizing strengths, well-being, and personal growth. It encourages individuals to focus on their innate abilities and find ways to contribute positively to their own lives and the lives of others.
- Personal Growth: The pursuit of Ikigai often involves self-discovery and self-awareness. By identifying and nurturing your passions and strengths, individuals can embark on a journey of continuous personal growth and development.
- Work Satisfaction: In the realm of career, aligning one’s work with their Ikigai can lead to greater job satisfaction and productivity. When individuals engage in tasks that resonate with their purpose, they are more likely to experience a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
- Happiness and Well-being: Ikigai encourages individuals to engage in activities that bring joy, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment. This pursuit of happiness contributes to overall well-being and mental health.
- Cultural Legacy: Rooted in Japanese culture, Ikigai carries centuries-old wisdom that has contributed to the longevity and contentment of Okinawans and other Japanese populations. Its cultural significance adds depth and authenticity to its appeal.
- Counteracting Existential Crisis: In a world often characterized by busyness and superficial pursuits, Ikigai provides a framework for addressing existential questions. It helps individuals find purpose beyond materialism and external validation.
- Holistic Approach: Ikigai’s emphasis on the integration of various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and personal passions, encourages a holistic approach to well-being. It promotes balance and harmony across different areas, fostering a more harmonious life.
Seiiti Arata on How to Find Your Ikigai
Here is a video where Seiiti Arata walks through the 5 steps to find your Ikigai:
How To Find Your Ikigai
In the book, Awakening Your Ikigai, Ken Mogi walks through 5 steps to find and cultivate your ikigai:
Here is a summary of the 5 steps to find your Ikigai:
- Step 1. Start Small: Don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to find your ikigai in one go. Start by identifying small things that bring you joy and purpose, such as hobbies or activities that you enjoy.
- Step 2. Free Yourself: Remove any mental blocks that may be preventing you from finding your ikigai. Let go of limiting beliefs and preconceived notions about what your life purpose should be.
- Step 3. Seek Harmony and Sustainability: Look for ways to integrate your ikigai into your life in a sustainable way. Seek harmony between your work, personal life, and other responsibilities.
- Step 4. Have Joy in the Little Things: Find joy in the small things in life, such as spending time with loved ones or enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. These small joys can contribute to your overall sense of purpose and fulfillment.
- Step 5. Being in the Here and Now: Practice mindfulness and being present in the moment. This can help you identify what truly brings you joy and purpose in life, and help you align your actions with your ikigai.
How To Use Ikigai to Transform Your Work
Discover your ikigai to infuse your work with genuine joy, propelling creativity, and nurturing stronger connections.
By aligning tasks with your ikigai, you’ll craft a harmonious work-life integration, invigorating your overall well-being and fulfillment.
Knowing your ikigai can help you:
- Pursue your career dreams: Your ikigai can help you identify your passions and strengths you truly enjoy, which can inform your career decisions and help you pursue your dream job. By focusing on work that resonates with your ikigai, you can feel more motivated and engaged in your career, leading to greater success and satisfaction.
- Design your ideal work lifestyle: Knowing your ikigai can help you align your work with your personal values, interests, and skills, so you can create a work environment that’s fulfilling and rewarding. By focusing on work that resonates with your ikigai, you can feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning in your daily work.
- Enjoy your work: Pursuing work that aligns with your ikigai can lead to a greater sense of enjoyment and fulfillment in your daily work. This can lead to greater creativity, productivity, and overall success in your career. Additionally, enjoying your work can have positive effects on your mental health, physical health, and relationships outside of work.
- Create a healthy work-life integration: When you’re pursuing work that aligns with your ikigai, it’s easier to strike a healthy balance between work and personal life. By prioritizing activities that give you a sense of fulfillment, you’re less likely to experience burnout and more likely to feel energized and motivated in all areas of your life.
- Create strong social connections at work: When you’re aligned with your ikigai, you’re more likely to find people who share your values and interests. This can lead to stronger social connections and a sense of community at work, which can boost your overall wellbeing and satisfaction.
Stories of People Living Their Ikigai
Meet three individuals whose lives are a vibrant tapestry woven with threads of passion, purpose, and profound impact.
These stories illuminate the essence of ikigai – a life lived in harmony with one’s passions and values, making a difference in the world, and finding unending joy in the journey.
How Surfer Dave Rastovish Lives His Ikigai
Dave Rastovich is an Australian surfer, ocean activist, and conservationist who lives his ikigai through his love for the ocean and commitment to protecting it.
Here is how he lives his ikigai:
- Pursuing a passion: Rastovich’s passion for surfing started when he was a child and it has been a significant part of his life ever since. He channels this passion by devoting his life to surfing, while also being an advocate for ocean conservation.
- Finding purpose in life: Rastovich’s love for the ocean and its inhabitants led him to become an environmental activist. He has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the damage being done to the ocean, and to inspire others to take action to protect it.
- Integrating work and life: Rastovich has been able to integrate his passion for surfing and environmental activism into his work, which has allowed him to live his ikigai on a daily basis. He is able to spend his time doing what he loves while also making a positive impact on the world.
- Making a difference: By raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting ocean conservation, Rastovich is making a difference in the world. He is inspiring others to join him in taking action to protect the ocean and its inhabitants, creating a better world for future generations.
Dave Rastovich lives his ikigai by pursuing his passion for surfing, finding purpose in life through environmental activism, integrating his work and life, and making a positive difference in the world.
How Jane Goodall Lives Her Ikigai
Jane Goodall is a famous primatologist and conservationist who has dedicated her life to the study of chimpanzees and the protection of their natural habitats.
Here is how she lives her Ikigai:
- Pursue her passion: Goodall’s love for animals and nature led her to pursue a career as a primatologist, studying the behavior of chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
- Make a positive impact on the world: Goodall’s work has contributed to a greater understanding of chimpanzees and their conservation, inspiring people around the world to take action to protect these animals and their habitats.
- Stay true to her values: Goodall has always been a strong advocate for animal rights and conservation, never compromising on her beliefs and values.
- Continue learning and growing: Even after decades of studying chimpanzees, Goodall continues to learn and discover new things about these animals and their behaviors.
- Share her knowledge and inspire others: Goodall has written numerous books, given countless talks and interviews, and founded the Jane Goodall Institute to spread awareness about the importance of conservation and inspire others to take action.
Goodall’s life and work exemplify the principles of Ikigai, as she has found a way to live her passion, make a positive impact on the world, stay true to her values, continue learning, and inspire others.
How Chef Jiro Ono Lives His Ikigai
Jiro Ono is a world-renowned sushi chef in Japan and is an example of someone who lives his ikigai through his work.
Here is how Jiro Ono lives his ikigai:
- Pursuing his passion: Jiro has been making sushi for over 70 years and has dedicated his life to perfecting his craft. His passion for sushi is what drives him to wake up every morning and continue working.
- Mastery: Jiro is known for his mastery of the art of sushi-making. He is constantly striving to improve his skills and techniques to make the perfect sushi. His pursuit of mastery is what keeps him motivated and engaged in his work.
- Serving others: Jiro’s ultimate goal is to serve his customers the best sushi possible. He believes that serving others is an essential part of his job and finds great joy in seeing his customers enjoy his creations.
- Finding purpose: Jiro sees his work as a way to contribute to society and preserve the tradition of sushi-making. He believes that his role is to pass on his knowledge and skills to future generations and ensure that the art of sushi-making continues to thrive.
Jiro Ono lives his ikigai by pursuing his passion for sushi, constantly striving for mastery, serving others through his work, and finding purpose in preserving the tradition of sushi-making.
How To Live Your Ikigai
Imagine if every morning, as you wake up and stretch, a spark of anticipation courses through your veins. You’re not just getting out of bed; you’re stepping into a world that resonates with your deepest desires and values.
This is the world of living your ikigai, where each day holds the promise of purpose, fulfillment, and joy.
- Your Morning Start: As you leave the warmth of your bed, you step into your home – a sanctuary that reflects your true essence. The objects around you, the colors on the walls, and the arrangements of furniture, all mirror the facets of your personality that you hold dear. Your home is not just a shelter; it’s an extension of your ikigai. Every corner whispers stories of your passions and the things that bring you joy.
- Arriving at Work: Arriving at work, you’re not weighed down by the feeling of mere duty. Instead, you’re greeted by an environment that aligns with your skills and values. The tasks you tackle are not chores; they’re opportunities to contribute, to express yourself fully, and to learn and grow. Your colleagues are more than coworkers; they’re kindred spirits who share your purpose. Collaboration flows naturally, and the workplace is a canvas for creating impact.
- Learning at Work: During the day, you set aside time for learning – not just for the sake of acquiring knowledge, but to deepen your understanding of what matters most to you. Whether it’s delving into a book, attending a workshop, or engaging in insightful conversations, every moment of learning is a step towards refining your sense of purpose. Your mind is a sponge, soaking up insights that enrich your life’s narrative.
- Mindful Moments of Serinity: In the midst of tasks, you find moments of relaxation that are more than mere breaks. These moments are an oasis of serenity, where you allow yourself to recharge. Perhaps it’s sipping your favorite tea, taking a stroll through nature, or practicing mindfulness. These pockets of relaxation don’t just refresh your body; they rejuvenate your soul and amplify your connection to your ikigai.
- Challenges and Setback: As the day unfolds, you encounter challenges and setbacks, but they don’t deflate your spirit. Rather, they become opportunities to demonstrate resilience and creativity. You embrace them as part of the journey, knowing that every hurdle you overcome strengthens your bond with your ikigai.
- Moments of Leisure: Evenings arrive, and your sense of purpose doesn’t wane. Your leisure activities aren’t just distractions; they’re meaningful pursuits that bring you immense joy. Whether it’s cooking a nourishing meal, engaging in a creative hobby, or spending quality time with loved ones, each choice is infused with intention. Your leisure moments don’t just pass the time; they deepen your connection to your ikigai.
- Day Draws to a Close: As the day draws to a close, you reflect on its tapestry of moments – moments woven with threads of purpose, joy, and fulfillment. Your dreams aren’t distant aspirations; they’re the reality you’re actively creating. The next morning beckons, and you eagerly rise, ready to embrace another day of living your ikigai.
In this way, each day becomes a chapter in the epic tale of a life steeped in meaning and purpose. Each day’s canvas is painted with hues of passion, creativity, and connection. Embracing your ikigai doesn’t just transform your mornings; it transforms your life into a masterpiece of purpose-driven living.
How To Measure Your Ikigai
The Ikigai-9 Questionnaire is a powerful psychometric tool designed to gauge your connection to your ikigai. Here, the spotlight is on nine thought-provoking statements that delve into the heart of your sense of purpose.
Delving deeper into the realm of ikigai, Héctor García and Francesc Miralles highlight the integral role of the flow state. While living an ikigai-driven life lacks a guaranteed path, the experience of flow is a vital component.
Flow introduces us to the art of savoring an activity so intensely that concerns fade away in the midst of engagement.
Measuring Ikigai with the Ikigai-9 Questionnaire
The Ikigai-9 questionnaire developed by Japanese researchers, Tadanori Imai, Hisao Osada, and Yoshitsugu Nishimura, is a psychometric tool used to measure a person’s ikigai.
Here are the 9 questions:
- I believe that I have some impact on someone
- My life is mentally rich and fulfilled
- I am interested in many things
- I feel that I am contributing to someone or to society
- I would like to develop myself
- I often feel that I’m happy
- I think that my existence is needed by something or someone
- I would like to learn something new or start something
- I have room in my mind
The participants are asked to see to what degree each statement applies to them one a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “does not apply to me”, and 5 “applies to me a lot. ”
Measuring Flow with the 9 Dimensions of Flow State
The ability to enter these flow states can help you get the most out of your pursuit of ikigai.
According to ikigai experts Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, living a life according to ikigai doesn’t have a guaranteed way, but experiencing flow is an essential component.
They explain that flow helps us enjoy doing something so much that we forget about any worries we may have while we’re engaged in the activity.
The Dispositional Flow Scale-2 (DFS-2) was developed by Jackson and Eklund (2002) to assess an athlete’s subjective perception of several flow state indicators.
It’s composed of 36 items representing the nine dimensions of flow:
- challenge–skill balance
- action/awareness merging
- clear goals
- unambiguous feedback
- intense concentration
- control over the task at hand
- loss of self-consciousness
- transformation of time
- autotelic experience
Each item is answered in a 5-point Likert-type scale varying between 1-Completely disagree and 5-Completely agree.
By achieving these psychological states of flow, even mundane tasks can become exceptional, leading to a more fulfilling experience of your ikigai.
What is YOUR Ikigai?
Ikigai is a powerful concept that can help you find your sense of purpose and meaning in life.
It’s a reminder that true happiness and fulfillment come spending more time in your values and aligning your activities and how you spend your time around what you enjoy.
By identifying your Ikigai, you can design a life that is not only more meaningful but also more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Whether it’s pursuing a new hobby, changing careers, or finding ways to make a positive impact on the world, the pursuit of Ikigai can help you unlock your full potential and live a more purposeful and satisfying life.
My ikigai is to advance human potential while exploring and expanding the art of the possible.
Ken Mogi on Ikigai
Awakening Your Ikigai by Ken Mogi is a book that explores the ancient Japanese concept of ikigai and provides practical advice on how to find joy, purpose, and meaning in everyday life.
Nichoals Kemp on Ikigai
Ikigai-Kan: Feel a Life Worth Living by Nicholas Kemp.
Kemp sets the record straight through his evidence-based approach.
According to Ken:
“Ikigai has become one of Japan’s most misunderstood words and culturally appropriated concepts. It’s not a term from Okinawa. It’s not the Japanese secret to longevity. It’s not a Venn diagram showing you how to find your bliss or become a successful entrepreneur. And it’s not the pursuit of a single life purpose.”
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