Life purpose or Ikigai
During your existence so far, how many times have to asked yourself the fundamental questions about why we are here on this planet… such as, What is it all about?… , what is my mission in life ?…. what is my life plan… Was I born with a purpose or a divine path? etc…
Since my teenage years I had these questions in my mind, I tried to ignore them at times, usually because I was not able to find the answers. These are, afterall, pretty big questions!!
These next few paragraphs will provide you with an explanation of Ikigai or life purpose. After reading this, you will understand this concept for finding your goals in life. What you do with this information depends solely upon you …. however, if you decide to pursue your dreams, desires and passion, it will require from you to engage in an extensive search of the self and start taking action. Are you ready?
In Japan they call it Ikigai, the Japanese secret to a long happy life. This word originates from the south Japanese islands of Okinawa. Ikigai refers to an individual’s overarching motivator – something that injects joy into their days and can even add years to their life. In other words, it is what makes you get out of bed in the morning and gives purpose and meaning to your days and ultimately your life.
In Italy they call it Plan de vida, the plan of life. This is one common tactic that characterizes the blue zones where people seriously increase their longevity and live to more than 100 years.
Dan Buettner refers to it in his book about the “blue zone” zones.
He basically suggests making a list of your values, things you like to do and things you are good at and the cross section of those three is your Ikigai.
Hector Garcia co-author of “The Japanese secret to a long and happy life”, writes “just as humans have lusted after objects and money since the dawn of time, other humans have felt dissatisfaction at the relentless pursuit of money and fame and have instead focused on something bigger than their own material wealth. This has over the years been described using many different words and practices, but always harkening back to the central core of “meaningfulness in life.”
The ikigai is a convergence of
– What you love (your passion)
– What you are good at (your vocation)
– What you can get paid for (your profession)
– What the world needs (your mission)
The first 3 questions of the ikigai model are what you love, what you are good at and what you get paid for and are all focused on one’s self. The last one is what the world needs which is a more selfless pursuit based on others and not on your own needs.
In keeping with the Japanese way of thinking, where they open up and let the world tell them where they can be of help, it is preferable to start by the last one , what the world needs… . So you could ask yourself: Who would benefit from what I will do tomorrow? How can I be of service to the world?
Once you have answered these questions then it’s time to find your passion.
What do you love? Your heart is the best tool to access your true passion. When you lead from your heart, you are naturally more joyful and motivated to explore. So it’s time to identify – what you could do all day long, what comes easily to you, what makes you forget to eat or sleep, what do you see yourself doing for the rest of your life??? This usually goes hand in hand with what you are good at. Some experts even suggest that you look back at what you enjoyed doing when you were 10-14 years of age. For me, it was the age where I loved being outdoors, swimming, freediving, rolling in the waves, being happy and feeling at one with nature. If I am honest with you, I still have the same enthusiasm for these simple pleasures in life.
Lastly, what you get paid for, your profession. This one is the one that in general matters the most to people as it is connected with money.
Some of the other questions you can ask yourself are: What makes you tick? What touches you? Which unique talents do you have and which can you further develop? What can be of use to others?
So once you have your lists written out, put them in the circles of the Venn diagram and look at the intersections of this diagram. Look at the complete picture and find some connections. This will give you some strong indication of your passion, your mission, your profession and vocation. Give this some time, let your ideas and impulses a chance to emerge. With this you are better equipped to make a plan and find your purpose in life. It may be difficult and will probably take a bit of soul searching. This is why I suggest it should not be rushed.
Ikigai is about finding, joy, fulfillment and balance, in the daily routine of life.
It can apply to small everyday things, as well as to big goals and achievements. Most importantly it is open to all of us, even if you are not particularly successful in some areas of your life.
The fundamental truth of I kigai is that all the aspects of our lives are connected, our job, our family, our passions and desires and having a balance between all is the key to finding your purpose in life.
This is not, by far, the only way to find a purpose in life. Most religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism , Judaism and many more have a very clear path that is taught to all their followers. Some others seek their path through meditation, guided visualization, affirmation of gratitude and helping others. Some others get inspired by great thinkers like the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra or Abraham Hicks, etc.
I will finish with a quote from Abraham Hicks; “The basis of life is freedom; the purpose of life is joy; the result of life is growth. People are creators, they create with their thoughts and attention”.
In this rapidly changing world, more and more people are trying to harmonize their profession, their passion, their talent, their family and to contribute to this planet. Having your Ikigai or your life purpose is a method to combine all of these aspects of your life, find solutions and ultimately to help you lead a long, happy, healthly and fulfilled life.
My life Purpose
Two years ago it became clear to me that my goal in life was to live to 100, in a happy, healthy and fulfilled manner. As I explained in my “about me” page, I had an absolute revelation when I went to my wife’s grandmother’s birthday celebration when she turned 100!!! At that age, she was still in great physical and mental health and was still able to enjoy the company of all her family and friends.
I am now 54 and ever since this revelation, I see myself young, healthy, eager to learn, to explore, to discover new sensations, new horizons and always push beyond my limits. So for the remaining 46 years, and quite possibly beyond, I want to share moments with my precious wife and kids (and future grand kids !!), travel this beautiful planet, keep learning new skills, help other to think better and achieve their dreams and hopefully see the world become an even more wonderful place. All this in a happy, healthy and fulfilling way.
During this amazing journey, I want to inspire my kids and others to be more aware of their potential, regardless of age or knowledge. I want to help those that are limited by their own beliefs, I want to share my experiences, I want to contribute to cleaning the oceans and many more things that I have yet to discover, so that ultimately I can be of help to someone or to this amazing planet that we live on.
What is your Purpose in Life? Thanks for your comments.