(n) a reason for being; the thing
that gets you up in the morning
As a life and executive coach I’m intrigued and inspired by this Japanese idea that is said to contribute to the many healthy centenarians living on the islands of Okinawa in Southern Japan, where the word originates.
The word ikigai is composed of two Japanese words: iki (生き), which means ‘life’, and kai (甲斐), which roughly translates as ‘the realisation of what one expects and hopes for’.
Having ikigai means that you feel fulfilled and have a reason to get up in the morning. Even if it’s a dark morning, you’ll feel purposeful and balanced. Like this 100+ karate teacher.
Ikigai is a key component of a long and healthy life in addition to a plant-based diet, daily exercise and a strong sense of community. Okinawa’s population counts 50 centenarians per 100,000, compared to 5-10 in the US. They are healthy, independent and happy.
In fact, people do not retire in Okinawa. Instead, they belief that one should make life worth living no matter how old you are. You help others and continue to express your ikigai.
“Our ikigai evolves and transforms with us, just as much as the knowledge and identification of our ikigai transforms us.” Goju Karate
Everyone has an ikigai. So how do you find yours?
According to the Japanese, finding your ikigai requires a profound search of self, a natural and spontaneous process of self awareness.
The diagram shows how ikigai combines four key elements in life:
Those four key elements in turn consist of the overlaps between:
- That which you love
- That which the world needs
- That which you can be paid for
- That which you are good at
Together these make up your ikigai, which evolves and transforms over time. All ikigai are equally important and powerful because by definition they are the reason of living for someone.
It is vital to our health and wellbeing that we find our ikigai. Yet it can be a challenging process to identify, refine your awareness, and clearly communicate your ikigai to yourself and others.
Life coaching can help with just this. I’m offering ikigai sessions in which we explore your purpose of life through guided visualisation and creative conversation.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in discovering your ikigai!