Ikigai which literally means ‘a reason for being’, is a popular Japanese technique that focuses on your life choices & helps you discover your true potential.
In today’s world, where you have to make thousands of decisions per minute, it’s impossible to excel every time at it. Talking about career choices - the pressure of doing something meaningful in your life makes the process more stressful. Sometimes, even after choosing one career in your life, you realize it’s not what you love! Hence, to avoid such an existential crisis and to find something that is your TRUE PASSION, the Ikigai diagram proves to be a real-life savior.
Ikigai divides your Career Choices into 4 basic fundamental questions. You must ask yourself these questions, especially before choosing your career. Let’s start-
1. What do you LOVE?
2. What you are GOOD AT?
3. What can you be PAID FOR?
4. What the WORLD NEEDS that You can provide?
Do you know the answers? Hurray! You are already on the rath path; let’s make it more clear. As ‘more Clarity’ means ‘more Excellence.’ So, these questions help you differentiate between passion, mission, profession & vocation of your life. As the circles indicate
If you LOVE to do something and You’re GOOD AT it too, then it’s your PASSION.
If you are GOOD AT something and You also get PAID FOR it, then it’s perfect for your PROFESSION.
If you LOVE to do something and the WORLD NEEDS it too, then it’s your MISSION of life.
If the WORLD NEEDS something and you also get PAID FOR it, then Viola! You found your VOCATION.
The real culmination of all these choices lies in the center that signifies your existential purpose in life.
Have you for the major part of your life, toured the world, met people, and witnessed challenging issues, empathized with even the poorest of the poor, and addressed them in several empathetic ways?
The purpose you set for yourself was good. But did you really find contentment and satisfaction?
Maybe, your real purpose in life was to be as simple as raising a family and leading an ideal family life!
Obviously, the route to your achievement would have been riddled with sacrifices you made of your health or family or education or friends or all the factors together. But you traveled another route entirely dissimilar to your actual purpose.
The reason for discontent and dissatisfaction is now clear. So, looking within you before venturing out to achieve would become that important!
WHAT FRUSTRATES YOU?
Are you doing a job/activity that frustrates you? Do you sense dejection, discontentment, and unhappiness in the areas you are currently engaged in? Then avoid that occupation and related activities entirely and search for a new purpose.
Life Purpose questionnaires are an excellent way to discover your purpose. They are available online. Answer them honestly to discover/unearth your life purpose.
Does some activity excite you?
If a scenery excites your artistic side so much that you immediately start transferring it on to your canvas, then it may be the purpose you are looking for.
Does something you see make you emotional?
Do persistent issues of your neighborhood or country make you emotional? A begging child or a homeless, older person, perhaps? Then you can take up this as your calling and work towards resolving that problem.
"The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same." -- Colin R. Davis
Every living thing on this earth has a purpose. For most of these beings, survival is the whole purpose of life. But man is different.
He has an intellect that makes him think, perceive, and realize. Each person has a unique purpose but cannot fathom it because he or she is conditioned by people and the surroundings to think about what they say is right. Your job now is to discover that unique purpose.
It can be achieved by talking to people, reading books of different genres, visiting many places, and understanding its culture and traditions.
Read, talk to people, and understand what the need of the hour is.
Glance through newspapers regularly. Grasp all the current issues that affect the country or society at large. Study in books about affairs past and present. Social media is another place where you can recognize the pulse of people of your community or society.
Assimilate all the requirements of the present day and write down a few of them that resonate with your ideology and also with the resources that you possess. Finally, evaluate what your mind wants to adopt as a purpose.
TOUR THE WORLD
Roam a while. See the world. Understand its complexities. Find out what you can do here to make it a better place. It could be a social issue you want to solve or highlight an area that needs special protection. It could be helping protect an endangered animal with your money or creating goodwill to support the cause for a girl child.
CURRENT MOOD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Are you active on social media?
Probably no day passes without your accessing, commenting, and posting in it. Analyze at least a month of your activity on social media and define the underlying causes, concerns, or issues you are grappling with there.
The conclusion you make of your social media activity could very well be the purpose you wish to accomplish.
CONVERT YOUR HOBBY INTO YOUR PURPOSE
Do you practice any hobbies?
Do you love collecting stamps, playing sports, baking, dabbling in acting, do embroidery, or any other activity in your free hours? If you enjoy any particular hobby that you practice, then you can take it up full time as a career option or purpose of your life.
It is a collage of your visions, your goals, and your aspirations. It displays images that represent what you want to achieve in your life ultimately – a tool on the ways to get your focus and attention on to your life goals.
Here is how you can discover your purpose with a vision board.
- First, create a board and write words, phrases, sentences, and extracts of words that you think you may need to achieve your goals on it
- Cut and paste pictures that you like from different sources that you think are important to remember to keep your focus intact on those goals
- Write your daily affirmations for a while
Once you complete the above activities, you will see a new image of a goal or a purpose that transpires. The new image or route map that you see now may be in line with your current thinking or something you never seriously thought was your goal, but which was buried in your subconscious mind.
Advantages of Vision Board:
- Keeps you focused
- Shows you the roadmap towards your purpose
- Inspires you to move on
- Retains and enhances confidence.
Here are different ways to uncover what you really want to do or achieve.
METHOD 1 -VISION BOARD
METHOD 2 – CURRENT MOOD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
METHOD 3 – CONVERT YOUR HOBBY INTO YOUR PURPOSE
METHOD 4 – RESEARCH
METHOD 5 – TOUR THE WORLD
METHOD 6 – UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF HUMANITY
METHOD 7 – FOLLOW YOUR PASSION
METHOD 8 – WHAT FRUSTRATES YOU?
METHOD 9 – ANSWER QUESTIONNAIRES
METHOD 10 – LOOK WITHIN
Every person on earth will ultimately want to fulfill his purpose of existence at a particular stage of life.
If you agonize over the fact that you are yet to find yours, keep trying out new things regularly. Continue your search until the day you discover that special spark that will ignite your mind and lead it to attain utmost satisfaction, whatever it takes!!!
Of late, people in the age group 20s, 30s, and 40s have realized the need to work for purpose rather than for money. Most of them want to give up their current monetary pursuits and work for a cause. The resources they hold to achieve this end are – a drive to succeed, best educational background and a desire to bring about a positive impact on their society
What it takes to discover one’s purpose and lay down a route map to achieve it.
- But this lifetime goal is not always visible
- Some feel that they know it for sure. Others find it extremely difficult to unlock the mystery behind it. Understand that everybody cannot experience eureka moments as Archimedes discovered his!
- Also, every person has a unique purpose; you cannot just copy what your like-minded friend is doing, or your sibling is aspiring to achieve
The purpose could fall into any of these categories:
- Self-awareness – a search for self
- Your inspiration and motivation – that you have nurtured since childhood
- Your experiences – of different events, meeting different people and seeing different circumstances
- Dreams and ambitions – that you had at any point in time – a higher calling
The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” ― FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Do you, as a working professional or a student or a homemaker, feel discontent in the long run?
Is a feeling of monotony, lack of interest, or contentment in your current occupation recurring, in spite of earning a name, fame, and money?
Then, that means you are disillusioned and contemplating the very purpose of your existence on this earth!
Once you understand what drives you, do check if you have the energy-levels to complete the goal you set out to achieve. Losing steam midway is not an option.
This can be explained with an example. You have set out to establish an educational institution for the backward class. But you have no wherewithal to accomplish this either in the form of manpower, money, contacts or experience. In this case, it is challenging to fulfill what you set out to do.
Chris and Janet Attwood developed it. You have completed finishing a statement – “When my life is ideal, I am…” you have to fill this 15 times.
Each continuation can be different. Choose at least 5 out of the 15 choices you have written, compare the five, and see which is best for you. The best continuation is the purpose you are trying to arrive at to adapt to your life.
Sometimes you would want to help a specific section of people. Your purpose could be to help out this section of people with your efforts, time, or money.
Example: They may be of your ethnicity struggling in a new land, or a backward section requiring your support or just a friend who is financially-deprived.
Sometimes you would want to sacrifice your food, sleep, and comfortable life for a particular purpose.
Success does not come easy; it can be achieved only when sacrifices are involved. When you are ready to sacrifice, it means that the one you are targeting to achieve must be higher than the sacrifice you made. The highest level you wish to achieve automatically becomes your purpose in life.
Here is how some people sacrificed everything they had to achieve a purpose.
A friend of mine single-mindedly set up a boutique through her efforts, sacrificing time and other domestic issues for more than three years.
Some people take up social issues, even disregarding security concerns, to bring in a change in society.
Some jobs, after their completion, give you the utmost satisfaction. I experience contentment after writing at least 1000 words every day. One of my friends feels a sense of satisfaction after planting 10-15 saplings on weekends in the neighborhood.
Try to understand what you feel is best to keep your soul happy. Adopt it at the earliest.
Know that your purpose is already existing, waiting to be discovered by you. To find it, deliberate if you loved doing a particular task and wanted to do it forever?
For example, you may love telling stories to young children. If so, storytelling is your calling.
Maybe you love holding motivation sessions for employees in organizations. Then look for opportunities as a motivational speaker.
Look into your past when you were in school, college, or just starting in your career. Did you enjoy doing some tasks so much that you remember it even today? Then it denotes your purpose.
For example, did you enjoy it…
- Responsibilities as a school rep
- Guiding relatives touring your city
- volunteering at a nursing home
If you had enjoyed taking responsibility, you could prepare yourself for managerial jobs. If you found satisfaction guiding relatives, seek opportunities in the Tourism sector. Start or join an NGO or nursing home if you enjoyed helping others the most.
Explore things that you enjoy doing
Watch what things you like doing. For example – some people may find teaching interesting. Others may enjoy playing football or some other game.
The tasks or activities you enjoy doing most could be the purpose of your life.
Let your inner GPS set the route.
Meditate for some time. Contemplate why you have taken this birth. Understand your inner thoughts, which will communicate to you what you were born for.
Explore your inner GPS – your heart, which will tell you your innermost desires and goals. It will help you create the route-map between the present to your ultimate destination.
Analyze which quality of yours you would want to highlight to the world.
Did you ever get praised for your looks, painting skills, or writing skills or any other quality of yours? If so, did you want to make yourself more popular by using your skill? If yes, then you are very close to finding your purpose.
Determine what drives you. It could ultimately be your calling!
- Are your parents’ musicians? Exposed to music, you would want to make a career in the same profession as your parents.
- If you are pained by the sufferings you see around you, then you may be driven to serve the society in different ways.