Ikigai is the Japanese art of finding your purpose in life. The diagram above shows deep questions of life, and the intersections of these areas show us where we have difficulty or where we are struggling with our lives. The translation of Ikigai into English is the happiness of being busy. This is in direct opposition to our Western cultural belief that you should be busy working for 40 years to enjoy doing nothing when you retire.
The four intersecting circles of the Ikigai model are.
1. What you love.
2. What you’re good at.
3. What you can be paid for.
4. What the world needs.
At the intersection of these circles is where we find the real magic of ikigai and where it can be of use as a coaching tool. This gives us our passion, mission, profession, and vocation. You can find out where there may be conflicts in your life. Perhaps you’ve found in some area of your life, there is a push and a pull of equal strength, and you’re stuck in the middle, not being able to move on.
There are similarities between ikigai and mindfulness regarding being in the flow, which is an elusive state that many of us seek to find. That place between being overstretched and bored between overexertion and underperforming. It is sometimes difficult to put the finger on exactly how we get into that state, but it is a state we have all experienced at some time in our lives, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find out how to get there more often.
We have become fixated in Western culture to take short cuts, life hacks, and do everything faster. What if we could achieve more efficiency in our work by slowing down and being more conscious and purposeful of our behaviours? This is the very essence of Ikigai, which is a key to longevity and health in Japanese culture.
Some of the fundamental rules of Ikigai are as follows: stay active, take it slow, don’t eat to fill your stomach, reconnect with nature and be thankful. While it can be challenging to question yourself and your life through the model of Ikigai, the results can be gratifying. You really could use it as a flashlight or a torch to illuminate areas of your life that you haven’t considered for some time. For many centuries the Western world has drummed and beaten their ideas, their philosophies, and societal expectations on the rest of the world. I remember I was told as a child that we have two ears and one mouth and use them proportionally, perhaps culturally, we prefer to shout than to listen, and this could be the time to reverse the trend. Looking into the art of Ikigai, you could once and for all, find out your real purpose in life.