Are you happy? And I don’t mean the one that comes with some big event, but just the plain everyday deep and profound happiness that one feels. I don’t know about you, but I believe that I am not the only one in search of it, for that something More out of life. What is the recipe for ideal life? This is an age-old quest that would have bugged even Adam & Eve had they not been busy deciding whether or not to eat the apple. But truly, mankind has been searching for it, and this is the mother of many ideas and concepts. What are we here for? Money, Fame, Hobbies, Family or do you feel something missing. Even after trying hygge, traveling, pursuing hobbies, you still feel hollowness then it’s time you look into Ikigai.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept, made out of two words, Iki meaning life and Gai roughly translated as Reason or Value. So as a whole it represents, ‘Reason for Life or Being’. From Okinawa of Japan where people apparently live happier and proven longer life, it means, ‘Reason for Getting Up in the morning’. So Ikigai may be new to the ears but it rings a bell deep within our souls, where we all have been looking for our purpose in life, what makes it worth living. This simple questions, the answer lies in the journey of self-discovery which takes its own sweet time. So what makes you happy, passion, but what good is a dream job that doesn’t fulfill my basic needs. So money ought to be it, but if we can’t even take the time to enjoy the spoils of my hard earned money, how will that keep me happy. Okay so both, but how about something more consistent or worthwhile like giving back to the community. Hmmm, beyond doubt it cannot be any one thing. Ikigai as my understanding is a concept of whole, wherein all these and more coalesce together, so that every day in the life, you don’t wake up with a sense of foreboding despite the circumstances. Where the reason to wake up is more than hoarding up materialistic items or pay bills. Where happiness and satisfaction are not concepts to be looked into instead is part of our being. When you know you have found the purpose in your life one that will not leave you aching years later regretting not truly living the life.
Yes, I know if it were this simple as reading an article or understanding a concept or two, we would all be Yoda’s by now. Hence to uncomplicated this intricate web, one is suggested to look into the following four questions:
What is your passion?
What are you good at (As this may not be the same as above)
What can you be paid for? (Thrown in by the West for good measure, but sensible if you ask me. Even Buddha realized he couldn’t meditate on empty stomach, we are faaaaaar less evolved)
What the world needs and how can you contribute? (you can start small by helping your neighbor and community if world seems daunting)
So, once you find the answers and where they all inter-lap is where your Ikigai is. No matter what your journey or hurdles, this is worth working for. Oscar Wilde said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist that is all.” Let’s not just exist, let’s live. To live is to hope, to have purpose and meaning, to work, to Love, to have passion and compassion, it’s Ikigai.