Itsukushima Torii as a symbol of ikigai
Itsukushima Torii as a symbol of ikigai

What is ikigai?

According to the Japanese, the answer to a meaningful and purposeful life can be attained by discovering one’s “ikigai.” But what is ikigai, and how does one find it?

Ikigai is a concept that has been deeply embedded in Japan’s cultural tapestry for centuries. It translates to “reason to live,” but its significance extends far beyond its literal meaning. Indeed, it embodies a way of life, a philosophy that the Japanese have embraced instinctively, without ostentatious displays of pride or self-aggrandizement.

Though the western idea of ikigai is often equated with one’s professional “sweet spot,” this is a misnomer as ikigai defies all boundaries or stipulations. It is a holistic, all-encompassing concept that transcends any prescribed framework. That being said, ikigai can be your profession should you choose.

Evident in the pursuit of ikigai is that it is a way of life that should demand your attention. It is a journey of self-discovery that requires one to into oneself and find the purpose that imbues life with meaning and vitality.

This article endeavors to provide a clear explanation of the concept of true ikigai and suggest methods by which one can discover their own.

What does ikigai mean in Japanese?

To many English language speakers, ikigai is heard and spoken in three syllables. However, in actuality, ikigai has four syllables as shown in the Japanese Hiragana alphabet below, and is pronounced (ee-kee-ga-ee):

Ikigai written in Japanese hiragana

Japanese Hiragana

Ikigai written in Japanese kanji

Japanese Kanji

In its literal form, the term “iki” refers to the concept of life or being alive, while “kai,” (pronounced as “gai” in this case) can be translated as worthiness, fruitfulness, or effectiveness.

It is worth noting that “kai” carries a strong connotation of challenge. Associated with passion, it implies that pursuing it requires a significant amount of effort and determination. Thus, a literal translation may not fully convey the depth and significance of the term. As a result, numerous translations have been proposed, all of which are considered to be accurate:

  • reason to live
  • the purpose of life
  • reason for being
  • the meaning of life
  • reason to get up in the morning or jump out of bed
  • what makes life worth living
  • the thing that you live for
  • happiness of being
  • a raison d’etre

and so on…

Girl expressing happiness with her arms open wide
Image by StockSnap

What are the benefits of ikigai?

Ikigai is not a destination, but rather a path, a way of life, and a journey. Therefore, the benefits of pursuing your ikigai are limitless. Each day spent following your passion is a day that holds great value, the key to a fulfilling life.

In more practical terms, your ikigai serves as the driving force behind your actions and gives you purpose. It inspires you to wake up each morning and strive for something beyond the mundane and status quo. Ikigai empowers you to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Increased well-being and happiness

Pursuing your ikigai can have a profound impact on your overall well-being and happiness. Having a clear sense of purpose in life can give you direction and fulfillment, which can be incredibly rewarding.

For instance, let’s consider Sarah, a passionate artist who has found her ikigai in creating art.

Sarah spends most of her free time painting or drawing. She becomes completely absorbed in the process and experiences a sense of fulfillment and joy that is hard to describe.

Sarah’s passion for art has had a profound impact on her overall well-being and happiness. When she’s painting, she feels a sense of direction and purpose that is incredibly rewarding. She knows that she’s doing something she loves and that it brings her joy. This sense of purpose and fulfillment has translated into a greater sense of well-being in her life.

Balance and guidance

Life is not always about ice cream, glitter, and rainbows. Just like everyone else, you will face difficulties and struggles. We all experience loss and failure, like falling off the proverbial bicycle and skinning our knees. Circumstances out of our control constantly throw life’s curveballs at us, and we get knocked down.

Ikigai does not eliminate these things from your life. However, it provides you with a real sense of balance.

Sarah’s passion for creating art can help her face difficulties and struggles in life. Creating art can be a form of self-expression that allows Sarah to process and cope with difficult emotions. When she’s feeling overwhelmed or stressed, she can turn to her art to express herself and release those emotions in a healthy way.

Additionally, creating art can be a way for Sarah to practice mindfulness and be present in the moment. When she is focusing on her art, she can let go of her worries and anxieties. She can be fully immersed in the creative process. This can help her manage stress and find a sense of calm and peace.

Moreover, Sarah’s passion for creating art can provide her with a sense of purpose and meaning during difficult times. When she’s facing challenges, she can turn to her art as a source of inspiration and motivation. Knowing that she has a passion and talent for something that brings joy to herself and others can be a powerful reminder of her own strength and resilience.

Finally, Sarah’s involvement in the art community can provide her with a sense of support and connection during difficult times. By sharing her art with others and connecting with like-minded individuals, she can build a network of people who understand and appreciate her passion. This community can provide her with encouragement, advice, and a sense of belonging that can be invaluable during times of struggle.

Increased motivation

When you are doing something that aligns with your ikigai, you are likely to feel more motivated and engaged. This can help you stay focused and committed to your goals.

Sarah’s passion for creating art motivates her in several ways.

First, her love for art inspires her to continuously improve her skills and techniques. She is always looking for new ways to express herself and develop her artistry. This motivation to improve helps her stay engaged and committed to her craft.

Secondly, the positive feedback and support that Sarah receives from others reinforces her sense of purpose and fulfillment even more. She feels a sense of pride in her work and enjoys connecting with others who appreciate her art. Knowing that her art brings joy and inspiration to others contributes to her increased happiness and well-being. She feels a sense of accomplishment and contribution to the world around her.

Reduced stress and improved health

When you are doing something that aligns with your ikigai, you are likely to feel less stressed and more relaxed. Pursuing your passion can be a form of self-care and can help you manage stress. People who have a sense of purpose in life are more likely to live longer, have better mental health, and experience fewer chronic diseases.

In addition to the relaxation benefits, research suggests that engaging in creative activities like painting, drawing, or sculpting can have physical health benefits as well. For example, creating art can lower cortisol levels, which is a hormone associated with stress. Lowering cortisol levels can help reduce inflammation, which is linked to a range of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

For Sarah, creating art is not just a hobby. It is also a form of self-care that helps her manage her stress and improve her physical and mental health. By dedicating time to her passion for art, she is able to prioritize her own well-being. Sarah can contribute to her overall happiness and sense of fulfillment.

Senior woman smiling
Image by Free-Photos

Is ikigai the secret to longevity?

It’s believed that ikigai can bring not just happiness but also longevity – the chance to live a longer life. Naturally, there are no guarantees that one shall surpass the lifespan of venerable individuals such as Grandma Moses. But the people of Okinawa, Japan, seem to believe that having a strong sense of purpose in life is crucial to living a long and prosperous one.

Having one of the world’s highest populations of centenarians, Okinawans are living proof. Okinawa is a ‘Blue Zone,’ one of a few places on earth with above-average longevity rates. It “has the oldest living female population in the world,” as Dan Buettner, a writer for National Geographic shares in his TED Talk, How to Live to Be 100+.

Buettner explains that while diet and society are essential factors contributing to the health and well-being of Okinawans, there’s something more to it. There’s an elusive element, an inner drive, a profound sense of purpose that we call ikigai.

Dan Buettner says that many Okinawans, older people in general, never really retire. They work. It’s not because they have to, mind you. They work because they want to. In doing so, they keep an active mind, body, and soul. 

Just ask an Okinawan, and they will tell you that the reason they live so long, is because they LIVE so long.

Other studies reveal similar findings that suggest ikigai is linked to longevity:

Statue of Buddha expressing happiness
Image by Alexander Stein

Is ikigai spiritual?

The ethos of ikigai is thought to be informed by the predominant religions in Japan, namely Shintoism and Buddhism, and their associated principles. However, a more nuanced understanding of the spiritual implications of ikigai requires consideration of one’s personal beliefs.

If you believe that spirituality entails adherence to a specific religious doctrine, such as Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, or any other, then the response to the question of whether ikigai is spiritual is more likely to be negative than affirmative. As far as religious scriptures are concerned, to my knowledge, there appears to be no explicit reference to ikigai. There is nothing about how it may serve to enhance one’s connection to the divine.

That being said, one could argue that if you adhere to a particular religion’s teachings and live a life of faith, then worship, as a form of devotion, would become the cornerstone of your purpose. As such your life would be filled with meaning, contentment, and direction.

The correlation between faith or the pursuit of a particular religious doctrine and ikigai is not an absolute prerequisite. Your ikigai can, however, be informed by spiritual values and beliefs, provided they are aligned with your purpose and goals. It is therefore reasonable to assert that the answer to the question of whether ikigai is spiritual is, ultimately, predicated on your personal worldview and disposition.

Happy Japanese girl with ikigai in kimono
Image by Sasin Tipchai

Does everyone​ have ikigai?

It is widely believed in Japanese culture that the concept of ikigai is inherent in all individuals. By nature, it is unique to each individual based on their personal values and beliefs. This ideology suggests that the attainment of a fulfilling life is grounded in personal reflection. It manifests through various channels such as meaningfulness, satisfaction, self-esteem, morals, and happiness.

To comprehend the essence of ikigai, it may be helpful to consider it from a philosophical standpoint. More specifically, a personalized philosophy that is aligned with your values and beliefs.

Think of it as philosophy – your philosophy.

Goals or objectives are not the primary aims of ikigai. Instead, it is a continuous, iterative process of self-discovery and growth. The journey is the focal point as opposed to the final outcome. It is a winding path that transforms and grows with you, never-ending.

It can be comparable to the complexities of life in that there are no predetermined or standardized approaches to finding it. Rather, you have an array of options at your disposal. You must rely on your passions to navigate these paths effectively.

It’s the not the destination. It’s the journey.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ultimately, it is up to you to define your own version of ikigai. It has the potential to be as grandiose or simplistic as you choose. Embrace this concept and live in alignment with your own version of it. Then it is possible to transcend limitations and boundaries to attain a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Man with binoculars searching
Image by Free-Photos

How do you find your ikigai?

Finding your ikigai involves a journey of self-discovery, where you explore your passions, values, strengths, and skills. It is an ever-evolving adventure, characterized by fluidity and change. It takes time and patience to explore and experiment until you find what resonates with you. With time and effort, you can find your ikigai and live a life of purpose and fulfillment.

There exist an infinite number of routes towards self-realization and discovery. In this regard, one may adopt either of two well-known approaches to uncovering one’s purpose in life: the holistic and pragmatic approaches. 

Notwithstanding the differences between the two approaches, the importance of self-awareness and introspection remains a common starting point for embarking on a journey towards self-realization for both approaches.

The Holistic path to finding your ikigai

In essence, the holistic approach to finding your ikigai helps one to discover the interconnectedness between various aspects of their life, including their physical, emotional, and spiritual states. This approach encourages a broader perspective on life, emphasizing the importance of harmonizing different facets of life.

As envisioned by Marc Winn in the below Venn diagram, the western representation of the concept embraces a holistic approach. The image illustrates how four distinct dimensions of your life can overlap and identify at the center, your sweet spot. 

However, it is important to note that while the framework as illustrated can accurately represent your ikigai, the relevance of each area can vary considerably. Furthermore, know that aside from the first dimension, “Do what you love,” none of the other areas are really requisites for ikigai.

Four components of the sweet spot

  • Passion: Do what you love
  • Profession: Do what you are good at
  • Mission: Do what the world needs
  • Vocation: Do what you can be paid for

Step1: Passion - Do what you love

This dimension encompasses the passions, interests, and hobbies that bring you joy and fulfillment in life. Engaging in activities that you truly love can lead to a sense of energy and motivation. This ultimately translates into increased productivity. Therefore, it is imperative to identify the activities that truly resonate with you and bring about a sense of enjoyment.

In simpler terms, what are your passions or what do you enjoy doing the most? Note the emphasis on the word ‘doing.’

Find your passion in life to find your ikigai.

Step 2: Profession - Do what you are good at

Representing your unique skills, talents, and abilities this dimension sets you apart and makes you stand out. It is crucial to understand your areas of expertise and natural inclinations to help you pursue your passions and purpose in life.

Whether it is playing an instrument, public speaking, or organizing events, you can incorporate your talents or skills into your ikigai.

Additionally, what you are good at can also be a part of your occupation. For instance, you may have a talent for sales, marketing, counseling, etc.

Regardless of what you choose to focus on, it is important to dedicate yourself to fine-tuning your skills, mastering your talents, and growing your purpose.

Step 3: Mission - Do what the world needs

What difference do you want to make in the world? What causes and values do you hold close to your heart? Is there something you wish to change about how the world operates? If so, consider how you can start your life mission.

However, it’s worth noting that the term “world” can be interpreted in multiple ways. It is either literally as millions of people or more liberally as just one person – yourself. After all, what the world truly requires is for you to pursue your ikigai. In theory, everything else would fall into place.

Step 4: Vocation - Do what you can be paid for

The fourth dimension of the holistic path may be the most challenging to attain. However, by combining your skills, interests, values, and financial requirements, you can discover an ideal career that provides financial stability and success. Indeed, getting paid to utilize your talents and passions to make the world a better place is not only fulfilling but also pays the bills, making it the sweetest of sweet spots.

It’s essential to note that volunteering or taking on responsibilities such as caring for your family without remuneration also falls under this category.

The pragmatic path to ikigai

In contrast to the above approach, the pragmatic approach is grounded in a more realistic set of discoveries. With a focus on identifying actionable steps towards achieving a fulfilling life, this approach values goal-setting, action planning, and measurable outcomes.

There are several pragmatic ways to discover your passion in life. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Explore your interests: Take some time to identify the activities or subjects that genuinely pique your interest. Try new hobbies or classes that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the chance to do so.
  • Reflect on your past experiences: Consider the experiences or achievements that have given you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in the past. Think about what made these experiences meaningful to you and whether there are any common themes.
  • Consider your strengths: Identify your strengths and talents, as these can often be linked to your passions. Think about the skills you possess and what comes naturally to you.
  • Seek inspiration: Look to others for inspiration. Read books or watch documentaries about people who have pursued their passions successfully. Attend events or talks related to your interests.
  • Experiment: Try out different things and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s okay to pivot and try something new if an activity doesn’t turn out to be your passion.

Remember, finding your passion is a journey, and it takes time and effort. By being open-minded and willing to explore, you can discover what truly drives you and leads you to a more fulfilling life.

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

In their book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” the authors, Héctor García and Francesc Miralles provide a comprehensive guide to discovering and pursuing one’s ikigai, or reason for being.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews with Japan’s centenarians, the book offers valuable insights into the secrets of a long and happy life.

The authors highlight several key takeaways that can assist readers in finding their ikigai, including the significance of having a Moai, a group of friends or social support network, maintaining physical and mental well-being, cultivating an anti-aging mindset, experiencing flow, and following the ten rules of ikigai.

With clear, concise, and captivating writing, the authors present practical exercises and suggestions to help readers identify and pursue their ikigai.

The Little Book of Ikigai: The Secret Japanese Way to Live a Happy and Long Life

Another good read that is true to the concept of living a purposeful and meaningful life, oddly enough with a similar title, is “The Little Book of Ikigai: The Secret Japanese Way to Live a Happy and Long Life” by Ken Mogi, neuroscientist, a senior researcher at Sony Computer Science Laboratories, and a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

In this book Ken Mogi presents 5 distinct pillars (in no particular order as he says) to finding one’s ikigai:

  • Starting small → focus on the details
  • Releasing yourself → accept who you are
  • Harmony and sustainability → rely on others
  • The joy of little things → appreciate sensory pleasure
  • Being in the here and now → find your flow

Starting small → focus on the details

We are encouraged to improve the way we behave in small ways.

This may mean waking up earlier in the morning or changing your daily routine just enough to find time to do what you enjoy doing. It might also be small tweaks in what you do to enhance your skills or profession. Eventually, small changes as such would become habitual and lead support your ikigai.

Releasing yourself → accept who you are

Imperative to the success of finding your ikigai is to understand who you are and what you stand for. 

That is not to say that your thoughts and actions won’t change over time. In fact, we can expect them to. Just be sure to embrace yourself and give yourself permission to be yourself, no matter what.

Harmony and sustainability → rely on others

The more we share and the more we engage, the more pleasurable life can be for us all. 

Make an effort to talk to those around you not about the goals you have, but rather the passions you have, the small things in life, the moments you appreciate, etc, etc. Strive to create common bonds with people in your community. Absorb the energy they give you and return it in kind.

The joy of little things→ appreciate sensory pleasure

Try to appreciate the things in life we often take for granted. 

Think about the amount of skill or effort put into everything you do. Find what it is that makes you feel good when you do it, then focus on doing it better. Do this often enough and much like a habit. You will find yourself more grateful for the talents you have and the people and things around you.

Being in the here and now → find your flow

Be mindful of how you feel and of your surroundings. 

Appreciate what you can through your senses and work hard at being in tune with life. Even simple actions like taking a deep breath, holding it, then releasing it slowly can help put you in the right frame of mind. You’ll somehow find things a bit clearer when you do and your next steps will be more grounded.

Woman on the ground as a metaphor for procrastination
Image by Free-Photos

The demon in the room

Whether you have a clear sense of the direction you’re heading, are just starting out and seeking your first steps, or are well-tuned to your purpose, like many others on their journeys, you too may face one of the toughest obstacles in your path: procrastination.

The allure of procrastination is universal. Many common causes are fear of failure, lack of motivation, perfectionism, and impatience. Although what affects me may differ from what affects you, the end result is the same. Unfortunately, we end up doing nothing to avoid confronting the challenges we need to overcome.

Meet the challenge head-on

It is imperative to confront challenges head-on. You must either work diligently to surmount obstacles and maintain a steady pace or pause altogether.

However, be aware of the dangers of inaction. Inaction may bear instant, albeit negative, outcomes without requiring any effort. You simply need to do nothing to avoid facing the challenges you need to overcome.

But make no mistake. The immediate relief from stress and anxiety that may accompany inaction is often illusory and fleeting. The consequence of a brief pause may lead to a lengthier period of stagnation. Prolonged procrastination may lead to a perpetual cycle of avoidance, ultimately undermining one’s potential for success and fulfillment.

Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.

Wayne Gretzky

Inevitably, all the time and resources invested in preparation and planning would become fruitless if you do nothing.

However, all is not lost, as awareness of the perils of procrastination may serve as a starting point for taking proactive measures toward the achievement of your goals.

Take as many steps as you need

Procrastination, while certainly a part of the journey, is not a path toward a fulfilling and productive life. The momentary relief from taking a break is outweighed by the detrimental effects of prolonged delay in pursuing one’s passions. It is therefore imperative to overcome procrastination and continue striving toward one’s ikigai.

Fortunately, the beauty of ikigai lies in the opportunity to start anew, repeatedly if necessary. As the saying goes, “if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Remember that previous experience can serve as a foundation for future attempts, and starting from scratch is not a hindrance but rather a chance to learn and grow.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Lao Tsu

Bamboo forest in Kyoto Japan
Image by Walkerssk

Your next steps

You may prefer one approach more than the other, or both in parallel. But whichever way you choose, you are surely capable of finding your own ikigai.

This may not happen overnight in one swift leap, mind you, but rather over time with every step that you take. Whether these steps are small or massive advances that move the hearts and minds of the world or just for you, each day, you will see your life become more meaningful.

Make no mistake, though. Identifying your purpose in life can be tough. Just know that the challenge is worth it, and you owe it to yourself to search for it.

Then, take a chance. Remember, once you have found your purpose in life, it is meaningless unless you act on it. In other words, there is no point in dreaming about doing the things you want to do and then not doing anything about it.

The only result you will achieve from inaction is regret, especially when little is stopping you from taking a step forward and actually pursuing your passions and dreams.

Nonetheless, living a life of purpose is a choice that requires deliberate action. You either choose to pursue your passion and your dreams or you choose not to. Either make that commitment to yourself or don’t.

Should you find your ikigai, you will surely find a happiness that you can carry with you throughout your life.

The best time to get started was yesterday. The next best time is now.

Embark on your journey if you haven’t started already. Get busy living, stay active for as long as you can, take care of yourself physically and mentally, be social, give thanks for what brightens your day, and live in the moment.

Books on Amazon

19 Responses

    • admin

      Hi Renata, Sorry no tests or quizzes. Just keep doing what you love to do.

  1. Steve

    I am nearly 60 and having thoughts that I need to find something more purposeful in live to do through my retirement years. I have been studying this concept and love were it is taking me. Thank you for sharing.

    • admin

      That is awesome, Steve! Ikigai certainly doesn’t stop at retirement. Indeed, you may find that you have more time for it 🙂

    • admin

      Hello Aurora,
      Thank you for your comment. Throughout the articles on the website, we always link out to the source content when available. Aside from that, I personally have years of experience in Japan where I learned much about the culture. I hope that helps 🙂

  2. Scalpel

    Does ikigai lose its shine? I am a surgeon and would like to keep it as anonymised as possible for obvious reasons. My ikigai for a long time has been making my patients better and enjoy it as well as training young surgeons. You might say that’s just my job but I have felt more attachment and I treat them more personally than most of my colleagues, I take delight in their stories of improvement in their lives.
    Recently, due to factors at work this has become almost a given. Perhaps my work is not challenging to me as I have gotten experienced. It may also be that I am more consistent in producing good results. I feel it does not give me as much joy as it did before. So does that mean I have lost my ikigai, or have I undermined the importance of what has given me happiness all my life because it is not challenging enough? I haven’t acquired another ikigai and I am observing myself with amusement currently.

    • admin

      Hello Dr. Scalpel, Does ikigai lose its shine? What a great question – one that we hear little about! The answer is, inevitably if one is not challenged and has fallen into boredom. I would however suggest that we focus on “lose its shine” as opposed to “lost my ikigai” as there are considerable differences. Ikigai, like most things, needs nourishment to thrive. While the type of nourishment depends on the ailment, indeed you may need a new challenge – which to me sounds awfully exciting. What would challenge an experienced surgeon? Research? New surgery procedures? Happiness and the phycology of patients? I have no idea, but I am sure your options are limitless. Thank you for sharing, Dr. Scalpel. Let us know which path shines brightest these days.

  3. Hp

    Thanks for the informative and comprehensive article. I had a couple of questions that I would be grateful if you could consider? In the world we live we are constantly bombarded with information, new experiences, help and support for friends n family, work and social commitments. There are also organisations that provide products and service with the sole intention of grabbing your attention and keeping it for as long as they possibly can. As human beings we are programmed to learn and develop to try and solve the problems we face but the volume of data being received and the processing effort may start to negatively impact the human brain. So would it be better to go out and search for your Ikigai and instead let it find you? And 2ndly is it possible to have more than one Ikigai in your life ?

    • admin

      Hi Hp,
      Thank you for such thoughtful questions! You have certainly got me thinking 🙂 Let’s see… Well, yes I agree that information of all kinds is flooding our lives. By all accounts, we live in the information age. Indeed, corporations, organizations, YouTubers, TikTokers, and pretty much everyone else are vying for our attention. Surely, there is a monetary incentive to do so for many, but it does feel like information overload at times. Is it having an impact on the human brain? I have not studied neuroscience or psychology, but I would confidently say (perhaps too confidently), yes. Is it a negative impact? Objectively, I do not know. Subjectively, I would say it depends – I feel that there is a lot of nonsense out there – and I often feel stupider after watching it 🙂 – but also in many ways, useful information has improved the quality of our lives and our ikigai.

      But to your question, whether or not to go out and search or let it find you – I feel that both are a part of the same road. Finding your ikigai may be unexpected and lead you to think it found you, but if you hadn’t stepped in that direction to begin with, who is to say?

      Is it possible to have more than one ikigai? Sure, why not? I would say that I love to take the unbeaten path, explore new places, and try new things. I also love being creative with art, music, writing, etc. – not that I am any good at it. I suppose one could argue that my ikigai are one and the same, but at the end of the day, it is the thing(s) that give meaning/purpose to me and my life.

      I hope my thoughts make sense. Thanks for the questions!

  4. Cassandra Wentworth

    This is new for me. I stumbled upon Ikigai from Instagram and was intrigued. I decided to look into it and came across this page. This is exactly what I have been searching for! What is my purpose in life? I am a 51 yo woman who is now just living day to day in a monotonous world and would like to find my purpose. I am going to purchase the two books you listed and do more research about myself and find my happiness. Any other suggestions would be helpful. Thank you for your article.

    • admin

      Thank you so much for sharing! I think the two books can be really helpful. Especially Ken Mogi’s Little Book of Ikigai as it captures the essence quite well in that Ikigai is simply something you look forward to in your life. It can be your job (if that is what you enjoy) but it doesn’t have to be. Your ikigai can be playing the piano, taking road trips, baking cakes, or all of them! – Even if you are just starting out. I hope you find what it is that brings you happiness. Please drop by in a few months to let us know what you are persuing. Best wishes on your new journey 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    I lost my reason to live, beginning my second half century of living. Days were just passing by, and I let them. Suddenly, something unexpected a new, exciting, and challenging opportunity presented itself. Based on my past preparation and experience, I found myself at the right time, at the right place, with the right people. This new environment encourages people to live with purpose and mention the word Ikigai. So, I am starting to reinvent myself and learn more about Ikigai.

    • admin

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Your new environment sounds truly remarkable in that it has made such an enormous impact on your life and the lives of those around you. I wish you all the very best in your endeavors.

  6. Geri

    I was on the first ship that carried US service men families to Japan after the war. There were only a few children. I was about 5 years old. We lived several places there. Including Okinawa. I loved it all. We quickly learned to love all the Japanese that cared for us. Ikigai was a constant part of our language. I have pretty much forgotten much from those years, but not the word “ikigai”. We used it in our home, and I have used it often thru these many years. It’s one of my favorite ways to share happiness with others.

    • admin

      Wonderful story! Have you written about it on a blog or website? I’d like to read more.

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

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *