How To Find Life's Purpose (Ikigai)

Since we are born, our purpose is defined by others. We finish our education and get a perfect job or maybe get married and have a perfect family. These are the things that are considered perfect and satisfying. But in spite of having them, there is a sense of emptiness and we feel incomplete. There is an itch to do something more or something new. Yet you can’t understand what you want to do. Here is something that might help you.

Have you heard about “Ikigai”? It’s a Japanese concept to find your purpose. Ikigai means a reason for living. They break it down into four circles or areas and the part in the middle where it overlaps is the Ikigai or as I like to call it, the blossom spot. So, it’s basically your purpose of life.

The first area is “What I am good at”. These are your gifts, your skills, your talents or simply something you are good at doing. The second area is “What I love”. These are your curiosity, passion and interests. Things that get you excited or spark something in you. The next area is “What the world needs”, these are the ways you can contribute to the world, the way you can help others or the way you can help the society in some way. The last area is “What I can be paid for”, so these are things you can do that people would actually pay you for.
So in between what you are good at and what you love is “passion”. Something you are very passionate about. Then in between what you love and what the world needs is your “mission”. After that, between what the world needs and what you can get paid for is “vocation”. This is a strong impulse to follow. Then lastly, between what you can get paid for and what you are good at is “profession”.

above ikigai

Now everything can be narrowed down to the middle where all the areas overlap, but before that look at the four sections besides the blossom spot. They will help you narrow down. Let’s look above the ikigai. In this area, what you are good at, what you love and what the world needs overlap. But if you are not getting paid, you’ll be happy and content but your wealth will be missing to say the least.

right ikigai

Next look at the area on the right of the ikigai. Here, what you love, what the world needs and what you can get paid for overlap. But because you miss what you are good at then you’ll be excited but there will be a sense of uncertainty.

ikigai bottom

After this let’s look at the area beneath the ikigai. This area has the overlap of what the world needs, what you can get paid for and what you’re good at. There will be a sense of unhappiness despite being wealthy and comfortable because you are not doing something that you love.

left ikigai

Lastly take a look at the area to the left of ikigai. In this area, what you can get paid for, what you are good at and what you love overlap. Now in this particular area, you will be satisfied but you feel almost useless.

The people usually think that these areas are treated separately. The key concept of the ikigai is to make these things work together. So that you have a sense of purpose and drive. Another thing to remember here is that these areas keep changing time to time and so does the ikigai so you can go through it every once in a while.

I have made a free worksheet for you guys that you can download. Just sign up below, print it out and start brainstorming and filling it in. Once you have written down in the different areas, figure out what is overlapping and narrow it down. That overlap where all these areas meet is the blossom spot. Hope you find it helpful!

Rabiya ❤

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9 thoughts on “Ikigai

  1. I love this idea.. I am currently reading a book with the same title. I love this concept and I am still really digging it deeper. Thank you for plotting out the most important things!

  2. I love this idea. The problem I seem to run into though is there’s a huge gap between what I can get paid to do and everything else. Don’t get me wrong there’s a lot of people who would love my job and feel like it completly fits with their purpose and most days I’m glad I have it. But sometimes, it feel like I’m way over due for a change.

    1. We can discuss this in detail and maybe I can help you. Sometimes you can’t see a way out and talking to someone can also give you a new perspective.

    1. I have found myself coming back to this post over and over and pondering. Thanks once again. Today, I made a post about it and included your link. Hopefully, more people will be aware of this xx

  3. I love this, and thank you for introducing me to a new Japanese word/concept! For some reason these really resonate with me (my favorite is kaizen, a continuous process of small, incremental improvements that can be applied in business or any other area of life). I like how you described the areas where 3 of the 4 spheres overlap – I lived in the space of what I’m good at, what I can be paid for, and what the world needs for many years, and you are right, there is a sense of unhappiness because there is no passion… now I’m in the space of what I love, what I’m good at, and what the world needs, but need to find a way to incorporate what the world will pay for 🙂 Thank you for a new way of viewing life and purpose.

  4. This is a perfect what to find the right zone for most people.A profession requires a skillet and some level of expertise .Children should be told about this concept to make better life choices.Great post.

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