IKIGAI: THE JAPANESE SECRET THAT GIVES MEANING TO LIFE

By Aditi Korgaonkar
The Japanese secret

Have you ever wondered about your purpose in life?

I am certain you would have contemplated the above subject while deciding on your major life choices or during the difficult times in your life.

A Japanese concept called “Ikigai” has become a topic of interest among people in the recent times due to a famous book which was published in the year 2016, “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life”. This awe-inspiring book written by Hector Puigcerver and Francesc Miralles has enlightened millions of readers on how individuals can live a longer and happier life by taking the simplest of measures.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”; it is what gets you up and going in the morning. A combination of the Japanese words ‘iki’ (生き), which translates to “life,” and “gai” (甲斐), which is used to describe value or worth, ‘ikigai’ (生き甲斐) enlightens us on finding joy in life through purpose.

Ikigai is indeed a vast concept but it has been broken down into four components below. You can focus on these four components while you are on your search for fulfillment in life.

Four components of ikigai :

• What you love –

The activities or people that erase your despondency come under this component. These are the few elements that make you take your mind off of your stressful thoughts just for short periods. Dancing, drawing, reading, singing, and spending time with the people you love are some common examples. Ikigai asks us to invest time in the things we love and work with passion in our hearts.

• What the world needs –

The sense of belonging and being needed in a community falls under this component. Nowadays, we all work to feed our families and ourselves but we don’t work towards the development of society. Most of us are given small roles in massive companies where it is hard to decipher the effects of our hard work on the world. Ikigai motivates us to do something the world needs as well.

*This illustration consists of only a few examples*

• What you can be paid for –

Indeed, money is not equivalent to happiness but money is necessary to establish a stable life. Without adequate money, you are going to stress over how to earn more money to meet your expenses. Every person will want to earn enough money to establish a comfortable life. Ikigai lays down the fact that money is essential in life and we need to try our best to earn as much money as possible.

• What you’re good at –

This need not be talents you are born with. This component talks about your potential, time, and effort to improve a skill. When you are able to overcome obstacles and improve your skillset that is when you are truly good at something. Improvising your skillset by tremendous hard work arouses a sense of fulfillment in you and that continues to motivate you in any activities you undertake. Ikigai asks us to chase something we are good at and work hard towards achieving success in that job.

Interestingly, you can understand where you stand in life and what you need to work on by looking at the components you have so far. With the help of these four components established by “Ikigai”, you can calculate the distance between your present life and your ideal life.

“Essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

– Hector Garcia Puigcerver

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We would like to have your views on this and would also appreciate it if you let us know other topics you would like us to work on.

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Written and Designed By — Pranhavya Karthikeyan

About the Author

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Ph.D., Career Coach, Social Psychologist, Counsellor, Head - Behavioural Sciences, creative artist when not working :)

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