Personal Development
What Is Ikigai and How Can It Change My Life?

What Is Ikigai and How Can It Change My Life?

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What is Ikigai and How Can it Change Your Life?

Ikigai is an ancient Japanese philosophy that has been embraced by Japanese culture for centuries, widely believed to contribute to the country's high levels of happiness and longevity. Now, this philosophy is becoming increasingly popular in the West, as a way to uncover one's meaningful career. In this article, we will explore the origins, importance, and definition of Ikigai, while also providing insight into how to identify and apply it to your own life.

What Does Ikigai Mean?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept which translates to mean 'reason for being.' It is your life purpose or your bliss - something that brings you joy and gets you out of bed in the morning. It is true to say that, traditionally, this philosophy focuses on finding one's personal joy, although the Westernised interpretation of Ikigai views it as a means to finding one's dream job. To achieve this, it is thought that your work should encompass four main qualities - what you love, what you're good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs.

The following diagram offers a visual representation of this concept by depicting the four overlapping circles:

Why is Ikigai Important?

Japan has a highly enviable life expectancy rate, with women expected to live 88.09 years and men 81.91 - second only to Monaco. It is widely accepted that diet is a contributing factor to this, but many Japanese people also believe that the practice of Ikigai has an influential role to play. Aside from its lengthy life expectancy, knowing your Ikigai can help you create your ideal work lifestyle, pursue your career dreams, and achieve a healthy balance between life and work.

Where Does Ikigai Come From, and Why Is It Becoming So Popular?

Ikigai first originated in Japan during the Heian period (794 - 1185). Evidence of its importance can be found in the Okinawan culture, where the population boasts the highest proportion of over 100-year-olds in the world. And while this ancient philosophy still resonates with the older generations in Japan, it is currently becoming increasingly popular amongst younger people, both in Japan and internationally, as they strive for meaningful work.

3 Steps to Discovering Your Ikigai

Here are our top three tips to help you identify your Ikigai:

Step 1. Answer Some Questions to Find Your Ikigai

  • What do you love?
  • If you are currently working: Are you passionate about your job? Are you excited to go to work instead of leaving? Do you have an emotional connection to the outcomes of your work?
  • If you have a hobby or craft: Do you have a hobby or craft you can't seem to get enough of? Does your hobby bring you joy? Are you emotionally connected to your craft?
  • What are you good at?
  • If you are currently working: Do people seek your advice? Are there certain aspects of your job that come easily to you? Are you one of the best at what you do? Do you want to become an expert in your field?
  • If you have a hobby or craft: Do people complement your work? Does your hobby feel intuitive to you? Are you one of the best at your craft? Do you want to become an expert in your craft?
  • What does the world need?
  • Is your work in high demand? How important will it be in a year, 10 years, and even 100 years? Are you solving a social, economic, or environmental problem? Is your hobby or craft in high demand or desirable? Is your craft helping to solve a social, economic, or environmental problem? Are there people getting paid for what you are doing?

Discovering Your Ikigai and Bringing It to Life

Unlocking your Ikigai and finding the career that will make you happy, successful, and give your life a sense of purpose is a process. To get started on this journey, spending some time reflecting on your strengths, interests, and what the world needs is essential. Additionally, visualizing your ideal day from start to finish can also help you determine your Ikigai. Keeping track of your thoughts and feelings as you go through the process is key to unlocking your true meaning.

Next, take a look at the questions you answered 'no' to and brainstorm ways to bring your mission into alignment with what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what can be paid for. This could include taking classes to build on your skills or sourcing a mentor who can help you discover if your vision meets your real-life expectations.

If you are able to find a career that meets all of these requirements, then you have found your Ikigai. And, if you find it doesn't quite meet your expectations, then keep experimenting with various roles and crafts until you find what speaks to you.

Bringing Your Ikigai To Life

Once you have found your Ikigai, you can begin to bring it to life through a process of setting small goals and planning out your journey. Begin by jotting down some possible solutions and turning them into concrete annual goals. Then, break down those annual goals into monthly and weekly goals to help you take one baby step at a time towards your long-term goal. For example, if your goal is to get a manager promotion at work, create monthly goals such as meeting with your district manager to create a plan, taking a leadership development course, or increasing your daily responsibilities.

Finally, use those monthly and weekly goals to create daily goals. For example, if your monthly goal is to take a leadership development course, then your first weekly goal could be researching reputable training programs. With this step-by-step process, you will soon be able to bring your Ikigai to life and start living a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Discovering Your Ikigai: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Japanese philosophy of Ikigai, which translates to "the secret to a meaningful and happy life," is becoming more and more popular in the West. Following this approach, individuals can look for the intersection between their skills, passions, and what the world needs, in order to create meaningful work and lifestyle experiences. Finding ikigai can lead to social connections, a better work-life balance, and ultimately, increased happiness and longevity.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that encourages people to find a sense of purpose and meaning through a meaningful career. The goal is to find balance between work and socializing while also pursuing a fulfilling lifestyle.

How to Discover Your Ikigai

If you're looking to identify your ikigai, here are some steps to get you started:

Step 1: Identify Your Values and Passions

Take some time to contemplate on the passions and activities that make you feel most content in life. Consider what you value, what brings you joy, and what interests you. Thinking about the type of work you want to do can also help you to identify your ikigai.

Step 2: Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle

With your values and passions in mind, imagine what your ideal lifestyle looks like. Think about where you would like to live, how you would make a living, and the relationships you would like to have. Having a mental image of your ideal life can inform which steps you need to take to get there.

Step 3: Create a Plan of Action

Once you have a vision of your ideal life, create a plan of action that will help you to reach your goals. Break down your plan into smaller, achievable steps and look for a support network of people to guide you along the way.

Step 4: Test it Out

Now that you have a plan of action, take some time to test it out. Are you achieving your goals? Are there any roadblocks? Are you answering 'yes' to all the questions from Step 1? This journey of self-discovery can take some time and patience, but the rewards are worth it.

As you go through the process of discovering your ikigai, remember to carve out time to rest and reflect. Take a break to do something you enjoy, such as meditating, listening to music, or taking a walk. Remain curious and ask yourself questions about the work you do and the life you lead.

You have the power to create the life you desire. With thoughtful introspection and planning, you can make positive changes to your career and lifestyle. So, take the time to find your inner spark and bring it to life.

3 Challenges You Might Face While Discovering Your Ikigai

Although it is not easy to discover your ikigai, persisting with it can be highly rewarding. Here are some potential challenges you might face during this process:

  • Feeling Overwhelmed: Feeling overwhelmed is normal when you're searching for answers. The trick is to keep moving forward and ask for help when needed. Keep taking small steps towards your goals, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
  • Feeling Like You Don't Have Time: Time is malleable, meaning that you can stretch and organize it how you please. For instance, that means waking up an hour earlier to work on something you're passionate about.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that refers to having a purpose in life. It is based on the idea that everyone has a reason for being here and that life should be balanced and meaningful. It is important to realize that finding one's ikigai is a journey that requires dedication and perseverance.

How To Find Your Ikigai

The journey to finding your ikigai begins with understanding the four components of the concept: relationships, time management, fear-based thinking, and resilience. Here are some tips and strategies that can help you get started:


Developing meaningful relationships is key to discovering your ikigai. It can be helpful to reach out to a coach, mentor, or close friend and share your experiences. Having a supportive network of people around you can give you the confidence to move forward on your journey.

Time Management

Being able to manage your time effectively can help you focus on your ikigai. Find creative ways to make space for yourself, such as taking regular breaks throughout the day or carving out dedicated time for activities that you enjoy.

Fear-Based Thinking

It is natural for our brains to be wired to protect us from danger, even when there isn't any. To overcome fear-based thinking, try to practice techniques such as mindfulness and meditation. This can help to reduce stress and put fears into perspective.


Having a resilient mindset can be essential in developing your ikigai. Focus on letting go of things you can�t control and learn strategies to strengthen your resilience. Additionally, practice paying attention and staying present in the moment, which can be good for both your health and relationships.


By following the steps outlined in this article, you can be well on your way to discovering your ikigai and living a meaningful, balanced life. With dedication and perseverance, you can cultivate meaningful relationships, manage your time more effectively, and overcome fear-based thinking. In the end, you can find your purpose and start living a life that is more meaningful and fulfilling.

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