Ikigai can describe having a sense of purpose, a direction in life, as well as being motivated. In other words, what’s your reason for getting out of bed each morning.
Very often people experience conflicting desires; on one hand the desire to live a life of meaning and consequence and on the other, to enjoy the lifestyle that comes with money.
It wasn’t like that exactly for me. I was lucky to do what I love and make money from it. I was in Finance, holding Senior Global Financial Markets roles for international organisations. The cost though was paid in a different way. You see, in markets, things don’t always come/go your way. There was always a reason for history not to repeat itself and models to prove inaccurate and inadequate at the same time.
So, there was a huge element of stress. Which, as years went by, became more evident and harder to deal and compromise with. And with the global crisis, the markets were no longer what they used to be. I lost interest.
Consequently, I had no good reason to tolerate a deteriorating situation full of stress and agony for what was not there anymore. In a few words, this is how I decided to change path and go after my meaningful next.
Follow your bliss. Find where it is and don’t be afraid to follow it. – Joseph Campbell
Had to pose questions and tests to myself; What is it that excites you? What makes you lose the sense of time? What brings out your best self? What makes you come alive? Overall, I had to start looking at life from different angles and start being curious again. With focus in one goal; to obtain meaning and fulfilment in what I do daily, to find where my bliss is.
This is exactly what “ikigai” is. A Japanese term, which describes what it is to have a purpose in life and be motivated. To devote yourself in pursuits you enjoy while feeling accomplishment. What makes you come alive. In other words, what’s your reason for getting out of bed each morning.
Because of all this, nothing that one does to feel/find ikigai can be forced.
Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing – Hector Garcia
Bruettner (American author) suggests making 3 lists: your values, things you like to do and things you are good at. The cross section of the three lists is your ikigai.
To discover your ikigai, you must first find what you are most passionate about. Then you find the medium through which you can express that passion.
According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai—a reason for living. And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world’s longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life. Having a strong sense of ikigai—the place where passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect—means that each day is infused with meaning. It’s the reason we get up in the morning. It’s also the reason many Japanese never really retire (in fact there’s no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense it does in English): They remain active and work at what they enjoy, because they’ve found a real purpose in life—the happiness of always being busy.
The Japanese island of Okinawa, where ikigai has its origins, is said to be home to the largest population of centennials in the world. People there continue to do their favourite job as long as they remain healthy. (Could ikigai contribute to longevity too?)
So, what about me?
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t start reading theories, or heard about ikigai and decided to move along guidelines…
I took time and put effort towards figuring out where my future steps would take me. But I also took the decision not to overlook what was really making sense to me and made me regenerate while I was on it. Discover all those that were put to sleep during the years that time was never enough. And somewhere in between the process, I came across the concept of ikigai, read about it and discovered that I was actually working on that precisely: my own meaning of coming alive and passionate again.
What I am passionate about is fine craftsmanship, colour and unique items made with thoughtful care, objects that speak a story and bring along their share of the love and soul of their maker. This is what I decided to pursue, this is my ikigai.
LILYS Crafted Feelings is my medium to express it. Making me jump out of bed every day, even after a short night sleep. 7 days a week.
My sources for this piece – and good reading for those that would be interested on ikigai – are:
- How to ikigai – Tim Tamashiro / Tedx Talks
- Ikigai, The Japanese secret to a long and happy life – Hector Garcia & Fransesc Miralles
- The little book of ikigai – Ken Mogi