Finding your ikigai is a process that will take time, effort and patience. It is not something you can develop overnight. Your life purpose will evolve and unfold with time. However, that doesn’t mean you can relax and let it come to you. You need to invest in self exploration, self observation, self reflection and experimentation combined with positive action to understand your skills, strengths and values that can add meaning and happiness to your life & career.
Here is how you can start developing the right mindset to find your ikigai.
1. Ask questions
Start with the most basic questions:
- What do you love doing the most?
- What are you really good at?
- What does the world need that you can provide?
- What can you get paid for doing?
Take as much time as you need to come up with clear and detailed answers. You don’t need to rack your brains to find the answers. Just let it come to you naturally. Make sure you note down all the thoughts and probable answers that come to you over the next few weeks. The insights and ideas might seem absurd and crazy at first, but keep noting down whatever your mind conjures up. But most of all make sure you are honest with yourself.
You should also consider crucial life moments and experiences, both personal and professional, to get some idea about what makes you happy, what you are passionate about and understand your values. Once you find honest answers and you feel satisfied with them, try to look for patterns and themes. Search for the intersections among the four elements. In case you are unable to identify distinct links or intersection points among the categories, don’t get worried. You will see things clearly in time.
2. Plan it out
If you find it difficult to answer the above questions, then it might be a good idea to create a list with all the probable answers and then make a map from it. You can create diagrams using aspects from the answers that can be used visually. For each of the four elements, draw an interlocking circle to find out your ikigai. This process can be very helpful and enable you to get rid of any confusion.
The diagram or map you create doesn’t need to be correct or perfect. As long as you can note down your thoughts and organize them systematically, it will do just fine. Moreover, as you will have more thoughts and answers, your map will get updated over time. There will be a lot of things that will be added and removed in this process as you start experimenting with your ikigai in your life.
For instance, you start by mapping out what your typical day currently looks like and then create a map for what your ideal day following the concept of ikigai may look like. Identify what things will be added or removed here as compared to your typical day today. Visualize every aspect of your day and try to include as much details as you can. This will be undoubtedly a surprising revelation for you. As you keep updating your map, you will get closer to actually living out your ikigai life.
Once your map is updated and you have found your ikigai, you need to test it out. Experimentation will help you understand whether you have actually found your ikigai and whether it will work for you. Thinking about your ikigai is not enough. It’s time to live it out in the real world. If you want to experience the impact of ikigai in your life, then you will need to start by taking positive action consistently. Moreover you will also need to adapt and adjust to move ahead and evolve. Testing out your ikigai in the real world and taking the necessary action will get you started on your journey to developing a fulfilling and meaningful life.
You might need to change your priorities and shift gears to move towards new directions in your life. For instance, if you change your career, then you might need to change your lifestyle and your habits. You might need to travel more now than you did earlier or vice versa. You may have to juggle multiple tasks or you might need to spend more time with your family than you used to. Your ikigai will bring in a certain level of changes in your life to ensure you live the life you want. This might be a bit challenging during the transition phase, but once it’s done and over with, you will find out that your ikigai has led you to exactly where you need to be. Testing your ikigai will allow you to take the right steps for accomplishing your goals.
4. Create a support system
While you work on your sense of ikigai the Japanese secret to a long and happy life, it pays to have a well developed support system during this transition period. For instance, if you plan on changing your career and creating a full-time career out of something you are passionate about, then start by talking with people who have successfully made similar transitions. Understand what it takes to make it work, ask them –
- What exactly they did to make it happen
- What challenges they faced
- How much time it took for them to make the shift
- What are the rewards and
- What their overall experience was
Ask them as many questions as you can to get a clear idea about what you are getting yourself into. Moreover, find mentors who can guide and inspire you to reach your goals. When you have people who care about you, you will feel motivated to push through even when the days seem dark and dull.
Understand this, living a life of purpose is not an easy task. You will need to face challenges and you will need to overcome numerous obstacles before you can reach your finish line. This is why it is crucial that you have a strong support system who would give you moral support and help you live your ikigai life.
Follow your own ikigai
“Walk slowly and you’ll go far.” –
Finding your passion and discovering your ikigai can be one of the greatest achievements of life. However, it can also be one of the greatest challenges in life to embark on this journey. It will require self reflection, patience and positive action for you to live your ikigai. You need to analyze your sense of purpose and happiness continually.
Ikigai is not just about living a healthy, happy and meaningful life. It is about discovering yourself and accepting the journey that you have set on. It is about enjoying life. It is about understanding what exactly will make you happy and give purpose to your life
Ikigai is about discovering yourself.