IKIGAI – Find your Life purpose

“There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your IKIGAI is yet, as Viktor Frankl says, your mission is to discover it.”  Victor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher and founder of Logotherapy, a therapy that motivates people to search for meaning of life, this helps you lead a happy and fulfilled life. Based on the lives of centenarians in OKINAWA the small island in Japan where people followed their IKIGAI and lived a long, content and happy life. Here is all you should know about IKIGAI – how to find your life purpose.

What is IKIGAI?

A combination of the two Japanese words “iki” means  “life,” and “gai” means value, ikigai is all about finding joy in life through purpose. In other words, your ikigai is what gets you up every 

morning and keeps you going. I highly recommend the famous book Japanese secret to long and happy life written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles who beautifully describes the habits of Okinawans who follow their IKIGAI, no matter how small or big the purpose may be, they feel connected to their being and live a happy and fulfilled life. Here are key excerpts from the book.

Ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning in our life. When we start living a life with a purpose, we feel connected to our soul, bringing greater fulfillment and happiness.

Unfortunately in today’s world we find most people who suffer from exist

ential crises. They do what they are told to do, or do what others are doing, rather than what they want to do. Those who give up the things they love, lose their purpose in life. When we live a mundane life with no purpose, we live in despair, despondency, loneliness and depression. It is vital to keep checking for such symptoms and make a shift. Consciously find ways that bring you in the state of calm, to a state of flow. Discover your IKIGAI, discover your true life purpose. Pursuing it and nurturing it every day will add  meaning and joy to your life. Most Popular Japanese therapies like Logotherapy and Morita therapy can help finding your IKIGAI, your existential fuel. Once you find it, it is only a matter of having the courage and to stay on the path.”

“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.” – Victor Frankl. 

What is the state of flow?

When you are in a state of flow, you are completely immersed in the activity, you absolutely love doing it, it’s never boring. You feel completely alive and happy, feeling one with the activity. Brings immense satisfaction and fulfillment to the heart. 


Ask yourself 4 questions

  • What do I love  to do?
  • What am I good at?
  • What can I get paid for?
  • What does the world need?

 There are  4 components for IKIGAI – passion, profession, mission, vocation. Above is the famous IKIGAI diagram where you can see how the 4 components fit in. 

Say you are starting a “Mission” to support a world cause, you run a NPO or NGO, you have a lot of delight but there is no wealth. It is possible you love doing it but you may not have the right skills to manage it. You need to rely on others for your living. 

Talking about “Passion”, you love it and you are good at it but you don’t get paid for it will be completely futile. 

Vocation: As you all may know it’s your calling, You work for a mission and may also get paid moderately for it. But you may not be good at it. There is a lot of excitement but there is complacency and a constant sense of uncertainty. 

Profession on the other hand, you are good at it and you get paid for it but you may not love what you do. This is where a feeling of emptiness creeps in. 

Start questioning yourself what you love to do, what you are good at, what can I get paid for and what the world needs? If you find any activity common to all 4 segments, you have discovered your IKIGAI – your life purpose, a reason for your being. 

Most of the artists follow their IKIGAI. They are gifted and they get paid for their passion. They teach and share their knowledge to the world around them. Same goes for Teachers who are passionate about teaching and are paid for what they do and serve the world by sharing their knowledge. Doctors, health care professionals , Policemen are all passionate and driven to protect people’s lives. We can surely say they are following their IKIGAI

Sometimes it might not be the case. You might be in a career because you know how to do the job and it pays your bills but you don’t necessarily like it. But just imagine if you really love what you do and also paid for it, it’s a win-win situation. But still there is something missing, what is your contribution to the world? If you also include this aspect in your life you will surely feel a deep sense of  fulfillment. 

Maybe you can teach what you are good at. Or you could sell a product or service that solves the world problem. Given a case you are not savvy about starting a business, you could join some company in that field and share your idea. Say you are passionate about designing websites and you work for a company that is creating a service that helps millions of people to do their job. Here you are part of the bigger plan and your work touches million people. This aspect should inspire you each day to excel in your field. We can surely say that your following IKIGAI. 

Take a paper and write down the 4 questions as below and list all activities that you value in each segment.

Seek inner guidance to validate whether this activity gives you fulfillment you are seeking. Your heart will know, when you are on the right track. Spend more time on such activities. Focus one thing at a time. Never be in a state of rush. Keep trying until you find what you really love to do for which you get paid for and is your contribution to the world.  Once you discover your IKIGAI- your life purpose, pursue it and nurture it every day and have courage to be consistent. Do what you love and love what you do!

Another important aspect is to be more self aware. You can improve self awareness by practicing meditation seek guidance from the heart to find what you value the most. Highly encourage you to journal your thoughts and your progress. Deepen your self awareness journey until you realize your true purpose of your life with clarity and wisdom.

Finding your IKIGAI is not simple as it sounds, it might be quick to find or take years to realize what really works for you. In most cases you could start it as a side project while you are working full time. In the current world it is vital to be financially stable first. Find ideas on how you can monetize it. Initially just spend as much time you can in such activities that connect you from within and excel in what you love to do. When you are passionate about it and the world needs it, money will soon follow.  Slowly but surely you can transition to follow your IKIGAI full time. Keep trying and never give up. 

Here’s a caveat, this is an ideal concept. Whether you find it earlier or later in life, what is important is being in a state of flow that you need to nurture and excel. Learn to enjoy the journey towards the goal. 

Hope you like the IKIGAI – how to find your life purpose. It is something worth exploring and I bet it will be life changing. 

You can also watch this below or on my channel  TLVTALKS.

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