Finding your ikigai
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Finding your ikigai

Finding your ikigai

Feeling bored, underwhelmed and unsatisfied in your career? It may be time to make a change. But how do you know what’s the right thing to do?

What is ikigai?


In Japanese, ikigai translates as a purpose for living. It is the feeling of waking up in the morning with a mission. Similar to raison d’être in French.

Ikigai is a combination of the happiness of doing something with a feeling of purpose. It’s feeling that your life is valuable and that you can make an impact. It has nothing to do with money, fame or status.

Everyone’s ikigai is unique. It is typically influenced by your past, values and personality. Finding your ikigai is a personal journey that may take some time.

The balance is found at the intersection of where your talents and passions converge with something financially sustainable:

Personally, I’ve struggled with existential frustration due to my conflicting passions. It can be a stuggle finding the balance of something that makes money and is something I trully care for.

How do I find my ikigai?

Isolate yourself for at least one hour of completely undisturbed time in a room with a comfortable chair and a drink. Remove phones, and any other noise and distractions.

With a pen and paper, answer each of these questions below as deeply and instrospective as possible. Keeping asking yourself “what else?” until you are completely blank. Let your thoughts be free flowing and unedited.

Some parts might be easier to answer than others. If you’re stuck, just move onto another section and come back to it later.

So, let’s begin…

1. What do you love?

Explore everything you truly love doing.

When you choose what to study or a job, you may be influenced to choose something that is easy, well known and/or to please other people. However, this may have made you overlook what you truly love.

To help you clarify what you love, think about:

  • What did you love doing or thinking about when you were a child?
  • What activities do you do in your spare time that make you the happiest?

2. What are you good at?

What you love and what you are good at could be completely different.

Be honest. This is not a question of what you would like to be good at. Look at your experience and delve deep into what expertise you currently have in your repotoire.

Some questions to help you clarify what you’re good at:

  • What tasks do you find effortless to do?
  • What sort of things do people ask you to help them with?

3. What does the world need?

Think about the impact you want to make on your community.

Ask yourself:

  • What/who inspires you?
  • What makes you angry or frustrated?

4. What can you be paid for?

The next part is about making money to live. Think outside the box.

  • What product/service could you sell?
  • What job could you do?

Once you’ve finished answering these questions, you may choose to discuss your findings with someone. Make sure that person is a good listener, honest, supportive and can add value.

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