Reason for Being: Ikigai, The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Ikigai The Japanese Secret

The 4 elements of Ikigai

If you wish to find your life purpose, then you must have the following 4 elements to discover your ikigai.

#1 What you love doing

What are the things that you enjoy doing? It can be your hobbies or something you are passionate about. It could be anything from making music, dancing, painting, swimming to even cooking or gardening. Try to understand what things you really love doing. These things can act as motivators and help you make a choice regarding what career might be the best fit for you. If you are earning enough money but still feel bored with your job even though you are really good at it, then it’s time to consider your choices. Doing what you love can make you feel that spark that you are missing in your career right now.

#2 What you are good at

Knowing what you love doing and knowing what you are good at are two very different things. You may not like your current job, but you may be very good at it. I may love painting, but my paintings may not be worth a dime. You may be passionate about one thing but you may be skilled and talented with something else. However, that’s not necessarily the case all the time. So find out what you are good at and what skills you need to improve upon. When you are confident about your abilities about a certain task, you will be able to make a career out of it and get paid for doing it. This will help you find satisfaction and fulfillment when you perform a task with integrity.

#3 What the world needs

So you can cook a tasty meal out of anything. That’s great. But unless your skills & talents are shared with the world, unless you are doing something of value, unless you are providing what the world needs, you will not be able to make a life purpose out of your skills and passions. If you are a good cook, then feed the hungry. You can get your own food truck or work in a local food joint as well as volunteer in soup kitchens. When you give back to people and your community you will find a bigger purpose in life. Serving others gives us a sense of belonging and missing out on this element can make you feel isolated and lonely.

#4 What you can get paid for

Getting paid for what you are worth is not an easy task to achieve despite what others might have you believe. Doing a job to sustain your life and making money following your passion and skills while serving the world are completely different things. It depends on your confidence and self-esteem. This is why it is one of the most essential elements of ikigai the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. Until and unless you get paid for your talents and your contribution to your community, there’s no point to it. Is there? Just as much you need to focus on the other 3 elements, you also need to focus on your own livelihood and survival for ikigai to work for you.

Rules for finding your Ikigai

“Life is not a problem to be solved. Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you.” – Hector Garcia Puigcerver

Before you set off on a journey to finding your own ikigai and transform your life for the better, you need to first understand the 10 fundamental rules that you need to follow. Here it goes.

  1. Patience is key. The process will take time and so you need to follow a calm and slow pace to move forward.
  2. Make sure to be active in your pursuit. Do not retire or wait for things to unfold by themselves.
  3. You need to surround yourself with people who think positively, take positive action and inspire you.
  4. Practice mindfulness to enjoy the present moment. Start with a simple mindfulness meditation practice for at least 10 minutes daily.
  5. Whenever you are eating, ensure that you eat only until you are 80% full.
  6. Develop a positive mindset, practice gratitude, compassion and kindness.
  7. Make physical exercise a priority. Exercise every day and make it a regular habit.
  8. Smile gently and thank everyone who does something good for you or makes you feel better.
  9. Establish a connection with nature by spending more time with Mother Earth
  10. Follow your passions and do what your heart tells you to. This will lead you to your ikigai.

How to find your ikigai

“The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are the ones who spend more time than others in a state of flow.” – Hector Garcia Puigcerver

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.

Read 7 Tips For Living A Happy Life

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.

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