For many of us, happiness appears to be elusive. A mystery even. It’s not often found in riches, achievements or even relationships. We pine after the things we don’t yet have but when we do acquire them we remain lost at sea, still scrambling for the shore of contentment. There is, however, a philosophy in Japan called Ikigai, which is centered around finding a “reason for being” (its literal translation).
The Japanese philosophy is about combining all the correct elements in your life and striking a balance. It involves deep introspection and self-reflection, which help to identify your true wants and needs, leading to a calling in life that keeps you motivated. And it is with this aspect of living that many of us struggle with the most. From an early age, we are taught out of trusting ourselves and continue this self-neglect while we fulfill the desires and expectations of others. The longer we spend neglecting ourselves, the further we fall from ourselves, and the harder it is to claw back up (if we ever resolve to). So, we must be profoundly honest with ourselves when finding our Ikigai, as it is the one thing our soul requires the most.
Finding Your Ikigai
When finding your reason for being, the Japanese philosophy requires you to consider four things:
- What you love
- What you are good at
- What you can be paid for
- What the world needs
Achieving Ikigai is when all four of those answered questions overlap in your life – when you’re able to pursue your heart’s desire and still prosper financially. Seems like a challenge, right? Well, it is, but the pursuit itself is what gives you strength to continue, and the positive relationships you cultivate down the road will cement you in your path. It is a pursuit that will uplift you and increase your self-esteem.
All it takes is a decision and trust.
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