Are you struggling to find your ikigai? Finding your purpose in life can be quite a difficult and sometimes even daunting task. And though there may seem to be an endless number of reasons why you haven’t found it yet, know that the biggest obstacle to finding your ikigai is not knowing the person in the mirror. You first need to figure out who you are and give yourself permission to be you. Then finding your ikigai becomes less of a challenge.
That is not an easy task. It is, however, an imperative one. Without knowing yourself, you will find yourself doing a lot of wandering. Don’t get me wrong, wandering might be your ikigai. But, to know even that you must come to terms with it.
To figure who you are, start by taking a closer look inward and be mindful of yourself. Doing so will help you to acquire a better understanding of just who you are. In turn, it will help you to identify your passions and give you the confidence to declare what is meaningful to you.
Of course, you must be brutally honest about your feelings, your thoughts, and the reason why you are you and where you are in your life. You need to reflect on the paths and turns you have taken and the decisions you have made so far. Ask yourself why you went that way and what did you learn.
In contrast, consider the things you haven’t done yet and the reasons behind it. Were you just not ready? Did you know that your destiny was down a different path? Again, ask yourself what you learned from not venturing that way.
To find the answers to some of these most fundamental questions it is important that you come to terms with a simple, inescapable truth; you are the only one responsible for your ikigai.
Ikigai is completely up to you
Whether you are just starting now or have been following your passion for quite some time, you owe your success to yourself. Conversely, if you have not started following your ikigai yet, or are not advancing, then realize that you are the only one holding yourself back. Whether or not you are living the life you want, you alone are accountable for it.
Ikigai is simple. It is your passion, your reason for living. That is it.
Failing to follow your ikigai only means that you are hurting yourself. It is, therefore, necessary to put aside any blame or resent you might be harboring towards others or events out of your control and get over it. Once you do, you will be enlightened. Only then will you be able to travel forward on a journey you design for yourself.
When you accept responsibility for your own happiness, doors begin to open. You are free to plan your journey. Whatever you want to do is at your doorstep. Turn left, turn right, go straight, or maybe even head back, whatever you consider being your mission, you can go that way.
Give yourself permission to drop who you are not
Remember that ikigai is not a competition. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others.
“Keeping up with the Jones” means that you always have to outdo your neighbor. If Ms. Jones gets a new car, then you feel as if you need to get one too, a better one at that. If Mr. Jones has green grass in his yard, you have to have grass that is even greener.
These days, it is increasingly more common, especially on social media.
It seems that everyone is out to get likes and follows to the point that they are selective when sharing their own life on social networks. Meaning, they are only showing only the happiest, coolest, or most intriguing photos. Never will these people post something unflattering or otherwise boring. It almost seems like they have a perfect life.
And, this, unfortunately, has become ingrained into our social fabric with every selfie and every “It’s amazing! The time of my life,” story on social media. In turn, this can make one feel that they are being outdone.
Don’t fall for it. It is an illusion. Not everyone has a perfect life or a perfect snapshot. Resist getting dragged into thinking you have to keep up. There is no sense in trying to do something or be someone you are not. It will waste your most precious commodity, time, and will surely lead you astray.
Give yourself permission to live without pressures of what others have or do. Say to yourself that you are going to go your own way.
Give yourself permission to lose bad habits
Are you aware of your habits, both good and bad? Do your habits help you to get you where you want to be? Consider whether or not your habits are molding you into the person you want to be. Is this who you are?
Hash out your bad habits. Do you procrastinate? If so, then be persistent. Stay active even if it is just a small step forward each day. Are you judgemental? If so, give yourself some time to consider the other person’s stance. All in all, if you notice any habits that you don’t necessarily like? Consider what you can do and how much effort it takes to change your behavior. Do everything possible to eliminate such habits from your life.
It is also important to recognize, even analyze if you will, your good habits. Identify habits that promote proactivity, thinking positively, and even exercising and eating right. Most importantly, give yourself permission to do more of the habits you like. Appreciate them and take pride in making such habits a part of your lifestyle.
Allow yourself to make some simple goals
Finding your ikigai should be a positive, fun journey. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. You have to remain committed to your purpose and that takes action.
Sometimes procrastination can set in and you might have trouble moving further. You slip away from your path and become discouraged. If this continues you may feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment as well. Try your best to not let this happen.
If moving from point A to point B becomes difficult, the best thing you can do is set some realistic, achievable goals. Break your big goals down to a more micro level. Think about what is possible and the exact steps you need to take to get you there.
As a practice, consider where you are now and whether or not you are satisfied. Are you comfortable? Reflect on what it took to get there. More importantly, think about what it will take to get to the next stage. Chances are that if you can visualize the next step, you will take it.
But, realizing your goals is not merely enough. Again, your values and beliefs are who you are and without recognizing them, you will always find it to be a challenge to go from point A to point B.
Of course, over time you may want to adapt your goals or change them completely. You may even find that while doing one thing, other interests open up before you. There is no rule that you must follow any one or all of them. You are completely free to change as you continue on.
Speaking of time
Be mindful and take a look at what you do with the time you have already. What activities do you regularly do? Is your time spent alone or with others?
Whatever your case may be, reflect on what you do and who you are doing it with. Do those actions satisfy you? Are you comfortable with what you are doing and who you are with? If not then, is that something you should consider changing?
Get rid of that dead weight and begin working on who you are. Focus on you. Even in your spare time you need to work on you.
Consider how productive you can be if you use your time wisely. That means giving yourself permission to set some time aside so that you can be you and do for yourself.
Maybe that means getting back to studying or making an effort to meet like-minded people who you can share ideas with. Understand that you don’t necessarily have to be alone. Perhaps the value you find in your spare time means spending more time with the people you love.
In other words, don’t waste time with things that don’t get you to where you want to be. Put those things down or at the very least, use them sparingly, in moderation. By ridding yourself of excess or things not in line with your passions and picking up good habits, you will be actively creating outcomes that pave the road for you, and you will work towards a more meaningful and enjoyable life.
Focus on yourself in that way and you will surely find yourself spending more time following your ikigai. Surely, you will find that you are, more often than not, in places and with people with who you want to be.
Repeat what works
Next, do what all successful people do. Repeat what works. Analyze your actions and repeat the ones that lead you forward. Be mindful of what makes you happy and causes you to laugh and do it again. Think about wealth, health, and prosperity you have accumulated and work on duplicating the actions that get you there. Whatever success means to you, make those actions habitual.
Give yourself permission to appreciate yourself
Finally, be grateful and always give thanks for what you have. Reach out to those who have helped you and make sure you acknowledge them. Go out of your way to express your thanks. It’s the little things that matter so think about how you can show your appreciation.
Importantly, remember to appreciate yourself. Make sure that you recognize your own achievements just as often as the areas you need to work on. You may make mistakes but you need to own them. Understand where you went wrong or the direction you took. Take measures to correct it. Then move onwards without regret.
By doing this you will always find yourself reflecting on just who you really are without any remorse. You will be content with the fact that you accomplished all that you could to get to where you are now, and you are ready to move towards the direction you want to be in.
Understand that this is something that you work on day in and day out. Focusing on you is a forever-thing that never stops. Give yourself permission to find and follow your ikigai. The quest is constant. The journey is infinite.