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What is the Ikigai?

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

We all ask this question at some point in our lives and there is rarely an easy answer.

The coming of Covid 19 into our lives, its impacts, and its long stay with us, and all its side effects, has certainly brought us moments of uncertainty. But for many of us it is also an opportunity to pause and reflect on our lives and the world at large.

There has never been a better time to consider personal ikigai.

Ikigai is an ancient Japanese philosophy that has enveloped the Japanese way of life. Some even believe it is the reason for their happiness and longevity. No wonder Western culture has chosen to adopt it as a way to discover a meaningful career.

Research has shown that the term ikigai comes from the union of several words, for example: Iki, which means life, and gai, which is the value of life, that which is worthwhile.

What is the source of your daily motivation? Your reason for waking up every morning.

It can be applied as a practical philosophy for life, a way to find strength in difficult times and a way to identify what you want from your life, career/profession. It can give value to the "mundane" everyday things, while helping you identify what you really value.

How to find your IKIGAI?

The ikigai uses 4 main aspects that converge with each other, (what you love, what the world needs, what you can do, and what you can get paid for).

The idea of all this is that you look for that center, the point of intersection of these 4 aspects, is your Ikigai, and when you find it, you feel that your life is fully in balance, with a clear reason to live and be.

These are the four steps to find it:

1. What you love

What are you truly passionate about? What do you love to do?

These are probably the things that interest you most and will be the best way to discover your Ikigai.

Once you have identified what you love, start looking at how you can connect that feeling with what the world needs. It can be your service, your creativity, your drive, your particular way of doing something specific.

2. What they would be willing to pay you for

When you have figured out how to put into action what you are passionate about, there is a direct connection to the need that the world, your community, and people have, and from there, you could transform that movement into a way of life.

3. What you excel at

You may have lived many years thinking that you have a knack for a certain thing, a talent for another, a gift for certain tasks, although you have not exercised it or made it your source of income.

4. What the world needs

The world needs so many things, many certainly out of our reach, however, if we understand the world as the sum of the people we come into contact with, directly or indirectly, we can interpret this component as how we can support others.


PASSION: what you love and at the same time are good at.

PROFESSION: what you are both good at and can be paid to do.

MISSION: what you love and match what you can support others in.

VOCATION: doing what you are paid to do in support of what others need.

Finally: your IKIGAI (the force that makes you get up every morning), is made up of the common elements between your passion, mission, profession, and vocation.

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