Four unknown silhouettes in front of many pictures as a metaphor for each having a mission

Find your mission in life (ikigai)

posted in: Ikigai | 0

Have you ever wondered what your purpose in this world is or in what ways can you make a meaningful impact? Do you ever question whether or not you are on the right path, doing the right thing? What is meaningful to you and how do you find your mission in life? 

These are just some of the most fundamental questions you might ask yourself when you reflect on your life. They are the type of questions that help you to build self-awareness and instill values within your life. It is a form of mindfulness meditation that directs you on our journey and breathes vitality into your mission. A form of self-reflection that can inspire you to get up and get living in pursuit of happiness. 

They can also be some of the most difficult questions to answer, especially if you feel unsure about what your purpose in life is. 

Depending on how you answer those questions, you will either feel motivated to follow your passions or recognize that unless you make some changes, you run the risk of spiraling towards uncertainty, questioning yourself and your motives. 

In Japan, such passion or purpose in life is referred to as ikigai. It is what gets you up in the morning. And each of us has their own. 

Three women blowing confetti symbolizing their mission to make the world happy
Image by Sheila Santillan

Your mission in life can bring happiness to the world

Your mission in life can be whatever makes life enjoyable to you. It can be as simple as planting a garden for yourself or placing a few flowers at your local park, or as complex as to include hundreds if not thousands of people such as organizing a beach clean.

It is said, however, that if you truly find your passion in life, it is only natural that you will explore ways to share what makes it enjoyable for you to those around you. Ultimately, it is the value your happiness can bring to the world.

This level of purpose stems from a deep understanding of yourself and your values in life.

Whatever your ikigai might be, by extending your passions beyond just yourself and contributing to the world’s success, you will find yet a deeper level of purpose and enjoyment. You will affect not only your life but the lives of others around you.

Your mission blossoms into reciprocation, the idea of giving back or paying it forward.

But, how much can you give back? What can you do to change the world? If you could make a positive impact on one thing in your immediate surroundings, what would it be?

Don’t overthink it

Indeed, such questions should be taken seriously, but it is also important to not overthink them or place unrealistic expectations on yourself. It is easy to get caught up in the philosophical merits of your life thus overwhelming yourself so much that it becomes difficult to see clearly enough to make a positive choice.

Sure, it is important to think big and it would be absolutely wonderful to change the entire world overnight, but as any well-known leader will tell you, it takes a concerted effort and managed approach that starts simply within the magnificence of daily life.

The truth is, even the smallest of choices with the least amount of resistance can make a world of difference. Your mission may simply start by adhering to your values and living your life setting principled, unwavering examples. Perhaps it is by volunteering in your community, helping your neighbors, or starting a donation drive.

Whatever it may be, consider how to apply your passion and talents towards a specific mission or purpose. However small, that is what the world really needs from you. From there you can begin to build your legacy.

Volunteering as a mission in life

A simple internet search such as “volunteer organizations near me” will result in hundreds of programs for which you can volunteer. Below are some notable international organizations you might want to investigate as well:

Woman choosing a path as a metaphor for choosing a mission
Image by Pixource

It is your mission, yours alone

As you set out on your path, consider how you will commit yourself to your mission. Remember that finding your mission in life is completely up to you and under your control. You either choose to make an effort to apply your talent in a certain way that is directed towards a purpose other than yourself or you do not. It’s that simple.

Realize though, ikigai is evolving in nature. There are peaks and valleys, changes and constants. You do not have to regiment your lifestyle. You can scale back just as much as you can scale forward. Again, it is your choice.

Understand, however, taking your passion beyond yourself requires action. Just thinking about how great it would be to do these things is really not enough. The key to this is understanding how to begin.

Know where to begin your mission

Indeed, the next consideration you should make before you commit yourself is to identify where you are now and acknowledge what is manageable to you. There is no use in trying to change the world in a day if you aren’t in a position to do so – right now anyway.

Consider your resources outside of passion and skill, such as time and money. Consider the ways you can realistically take on your mission. You may find that by starting with small steps, only once or twice a month is more manageable for you. In time you may very well get into the habit of making minor adjustments or taking on larger actions. Before you know it you find that your simple passion has snowballed into something much bigger and much more important than a simple hobby.

This is the “something” that is inside each of us. It is what drives our mission. It is our calling.

Bulletin board saying make things happen
Image by Gerd Altmann

Should you accept your mission

We all have a unique calling. There are millions upon millions of people out there every day who take it upon themselves to serve each other doing the things that are meaningful to them. They put their hearts and souls into making the world a better place for themselves, their friends and family, and the people in their communities. So really, why not you?

Your mission in life is not elusive. It is right in front of you should you choose to act on it. But, all in all, how you find your mission in life is under your control. If you take a few moments to reflect on yourself and what you value, you will begin to understand more about yourself you will surely recognize a starting point where you could focus your efforts. 

Best of all, purpose-driven life is not life forever unchanging. It is quite the opposite in fact. Ikigai is not only unique to everyone, but it is flexible as well. What might be your mission today may have transcended from what was before. What might be your mission tomorrow may not be the one you are on now. There are no rules saying it must be one way or the other. 

So take a little time to digest what is meaningful to you. There is no need to take huge leaps if you are not ready for it. Take it slowly, step by step. And then, share your ideas with the people around you, maybe at work – maybe at home. But move forward and pass on what you learn. Get involved. And above all and take action now.

We welcome your comments and would love to know your ikigai!

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