Have you ever had a bad day, stopped what you were doing, took a deep breath, and wondered what you were doing with your life?
No matter our life goals, we all aspire to the same things: living a fulfilling life and being happy.
If you regularly wonder if you made the right choices in life and need help to find your purpose in life, this post on how to find your Ikigai will help you.
Let’s start, shall we?
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What does “Ikigai” mean?
“Ikigai” is a Japanese concept resulting from the combination of “Iki” and “Kai” (pronounced “Gai”) which can be translated as “Life” and “worth”.
In their bestseller, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret To A Long And Happy Life, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles describe how finding a purpose in life can help one live a long and happy life.
Staying busy and giving their lives a purpose seems to help the Japanese people to live long and healthy lives.
Japan had over 80,000 people aged older than 100 years old in 2020, which represented roughly 0.05% of its population.
This doesn’t seem like a big number, but it makes Japan the country with the most centenarians on the planet!
Having a purpose and staying active is the secret of the centenarians they met.
Finding our Ikigai seems like the secret to designing a life we love.
How can you actually find your Ikigai?
The four components of your Ikigai
Your Ikigai is at the intersection of these 4 elements:
- What you love and What the world needs = your mission
- What you love and What you are good at = your passion
- What you are good at and What you can be paid for = your profession
- What the world needs and What you can be paid for = your vocation
- The intersection of all the above in the diagram below = your Ikigai
What you love
Finding your ikigai will start with finding activities you love.
Your Ikigai needs to be something you love doing. It needs to be an activity that makes you lose track of time and gives you a feeling of fulfillment.
In most cases, your Ikigai will be linked to a hobby: you do one activity, enjoy it, and stick to it until you become good at it.
And being good at it is the next component of the Ikigai.
What you are good at
Figuring out what you are good at will give you a strong indication of your ikigai.
It can be something you are excelling at effortlessly, something you practice until you become an expert at it, or something you are willing to work hard to learn.
If you don’t mind working long hours on something, chances are that this activity is linked to your purpose in life.
You are getting really close to finding your ikigai. You just need to figure out how this activity can help others and how to monetize it.
Your Ikigai needs to be something you can be paid for.
The ultimate goal is to replace your current 9-5 with this new activity in order to unleash your full potential and live a fulfilling life.
What the world needs
The next component to take into account when looking for your Ikigai is how it can be useful for others.
This doesn’t mean that you, through your Ikigai, should aim to save Humanity and change the world…
But that it needs to be something other people will need or enjoy so you can later monetize it.
Being helpful will help you feel empowered and fulfilled.
And this is what will make you jump out of bed every single morning.
What you can be paid for
The last component of the Ikigai is that it needs to be something you can be paid for.
We spend on average 8 hours per day at work. Living a fulfilling life while doing a job you hate is simply impossible.
To live a life of purpose, you need to work a job you like and have a clear vision of why you do it…
And no, “for the money” is not a valid answer.
This is also why your Ikigai has to be something the world needs.
Since your Ikigai is something you love doing and don’t mind spending hours practicing, you will become excellent at it. It’s inevitable.
If you are good at something the world needs, with perseverance, you will make money. Again, it’s inevitable.
Why do you need to find your Ikigai?
Life is full of ups and downs.
Finding your purpose in life and having a clear vision of where you want to be headed will help you trust the process.
It will also make you jump out of bed every morning, even when things get tough.
If you feel demotivated and often wonder if you made the right choices in life, you should definitely focus on doing more things you enjoy in the upcoming months.
There is more to life than work.
Doing activities that make you happy is important for finding balance in life.
It will also help you discover yourself and better identify your strengths and weaknesses, which is important to create a life you love.
How to find your Ikigai?
Find a passion
The easiest way to start finding your Ikigai is to think about your passions and how they can improve other people’s lives.
If you already have a passion, then congrats!
You have completed the hardest step toward finding your purpose in life.
If you don’t know what your passions are, the 2 steps below will help you identify them.
Step out of your comfort zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing new activities is key to better understanding yourself and finding your purpose in life.
New activities will help you develop new skills.
And practice will make you better, which will be highly motivating.
Finding out that you are good at something you never imagined can truly change your life.
We often think of art as a means to self-discovery, but you can find yourself through a lot of different activities.
My own transformation started with working out.
And this activity has nothing to do with my Ikigai, which is: helping women unleash their full potential to create a life they love.
I used to be unhealthy and suffered from anxiety. Working out 5 times a week totally transformed my life because I realized that with perseverance, anything is possible.
I used to be the biggest procrastinator.
But ever since I committed to working out, I run 4 miles before 7 am, 5 days a week.
Believe me, if this is possible, anything is because I used to be a couch potato.
Despite not being linked to your Ikigai, some activities will help you transform your mindset.
If you have no idea what your passions can be, try as many things as you can.
Start a new sport, learn to play an instrument, start drawing, painting, writing, visit new places, meet new people…
To better understand yourself and find out what brings joy to your life, you need to make new experiences.
Find the flow
The flow is a mental state in which a person performing an activity loses track of time and gets immersed in a feeling of energized focus.
The flow, also referred to as “being in the zone” is a state defined by complete absorption in what we do.
To find your flow, you need to be engaged in an activity that is a little challenging and requires a high level of concentration.
The key is to find the perfect balance between challenge and comfort.
This activity needs to be challenging enough so completing it is rewarding, but it should not be too much of a challenge, or you will rapidly get demotivated and quit.
If you already have passions, you probably have an idea of the activities that put you in the zone.
If you don’t, the 5 pillars below will help you.
The 5 pillars to finding your purpose in life
When it comes to changing our lives, we often want to make it fast.
How amazing would it be if we could transform our lives overnight and wake up to a brand new, perfect life?
Truth be told, big changes take time.
The key to success when it comes to transforming your life is to take baby steps and implement one change at a time.
You can transform your life in 3 months, but it will take a lot of small steps to get there.
And this is perfectly fine.
Taking small steps is the best way to ensure you stick to the changes you implement so they actually transform your life.
If you have no idea of your Ikigai, you need to start small.
You can, for instance:
- Take a new online course
- Read books about a field you have always been interested in
- Join or create a Facebook or Vibely community on a subject you would like to learn about
If you already have an idea about your Ikigai, starting small means doing research.
You will then need to create a plan to monetize your passion so it can replace your current 9-5.
Stop comparing yourself to others
This pillar is probably the most important of the 5 pillars to finding your Ikigai.
Comparing yourself to others is a form of self-sabotage.
No matter what you dream to achieve, you need to stop letting your potential go to waste because you don’t feel ready yet to make a move.
There are thousands of people out there with half of your talent already making it.
And a few months from now, you could be doing it too.
But you need to allow yourself to be a beginner because no matter what you are trying to achieve, chances are that you will not do great from the start.
If you want to launch your youtube channel, your first video will probably suck.
If you want to write a book, you will have to rewrite your first chapter (or the whole book!) many times before you get it right.
The thing is that you will never be great at anything if you don’t allow yourself to suck at first.
Your first Youtube video will probably make you cringe a few years from now, but if you don’t make it, you will never make any progress.
If you hesitate to go back to college because you will be 30 years old 4 years from now and will probably be older than most of your classmates, do it anyway.
Because guess what?
Do it or not; time will pass, and you will still be 4 years older 4 years from now.
The only person you should compare yourself to is your old self to ensure you make progress.
Be more mindful of your impact on others
To make a living from your passion, you need to be more mindful of your actions and their impact on your environment as well as on others.
How can your actions, products, ideas, or services help others make a positive change?
If you want to change the world and save Humanity, go for it!
But you can change many lives without aiming that high.
To be useful, you can either create a service or product that will tremendously change society or offer something that will improve, even just a little, the lives of many.
Books are a perfect example of how something simple can improve the lives of millions.
The book Rich Dad Poor Dad written by Robert T. Kiyosaki, is a book about the importance of accumulating wealth and escaping the rate race.
More than 32 million people have bought this book since it was first published in 2002.
It is safe to say that this book has changed thousands of lives, helping readers transform their finances and reach financial freedom.
This is why being an author can be such a great Ikigai.
But to make it happen, you first need to be conscious about what you can bring to the world and how it can help others improve their lives.
Find joy in the little things
To find your ikigai, you will probably have to operate a few lifestyle changes.
If you have no idea of what your Ikigai can be, start a new hobby, do new activities, and meet new people.
Although making changes is necessary to find your purpose in life, you should not try to change everything.
Sometimes, being more mindful of the little things can help us operate a major mindset shift.
Take time to enjoy your morning coffee, eat mindfully, take care of yourself, and enjoy the time spent with your family and friends…
Being more present can help us better understand ourselves, which will lead to making better choices in our lives.
Begin here and now
The last point to help you find your ikigai is to start today.
Don’t wait until next Monday, next month, or next year to start making changes.
Start making small changes today. Because these small changes will compound over time.
Acknowledge your reality, where you stand right now, and what you need to implement to make it happen.
Start today and aim to improve yourself by 1% every day. One year from now, you will have made tremendous progress, and you will be on your way to excellence.
One year from now, your life could be totally different!
How I found my Ikigai
You will need to experience many different things in order to find your ikigai.
To show you how literally any activity can trigger an Aha moment, here is how I found my purpose in life.
If you have read other posts on this blog, you probably already know that I have always had a busy life.
I graduated from a 4-year curriculum in college while working full-time as a Finance Specialist in a very demanding environment.
At that time, I worked/studied for a minimum of 80 hours a week.
I struggled a lot during my first year in college and saw a lot of my classmates quit because finding balance was hard.
Since I was used to working hard and always being busy, when the first covid lockdown hit in March 2020, I didn’t know what to do with my life anymore.
I was suddenly locked in my home and realized that being busy had kept me away from giving my life a purpose.
I was so busy I never took the time to actually ask myself what I wanted to do with my life.
And realizing that after all the hard work was … devastating.
Keeping myself busy had kept me away from others, and I suddenly felt the need to connect with other people.
This is how I started sundayrainday.com.
I read a lot of books about personal growth and self-sabotage during my free time and realized that these self-help tips could have changed my life if I had read about them in my early 20s.
I wanted to share these tips with others and soon realized that my life purpose had nothing to do with making a shitload of money working in finance.
Connecting with others and helping them unleash their full potential to create the life they deserve is what makes me feel alive.
This is my Ikigai, and I found it by reading books.
The secret to finding your Ikigai when you don’t know where to start is simply to try something new today.
The Ikigai is more than a Japanese concept; it is a true way of life.
Finding your purpose in life will help you live a more balanced and happy life. It will also help you trust the process through the ups and downs of life and give you the motivation to move mountains.
Finding a passion and how it can help others improve their lives is at the core of the Ikigai concept.
There is more to life than money, but making money thanks to your passion will help you design a life you will be in love with.