The ‘ikigai’ concept has a lot to love. It combines individual hopes with world needs and glaring realities. Let’s explore it, at a very top level, in no particular order.
Region 1: WHAT YOU LOVE
What an important start. It’s hard to imagine a happy life without imagining a scenario where you are doing something or being somewhere that you love. Some people instinctively know what they love because it brings them joy, happiness and flow. It is the things that you are grateful for today or wish were in your life tomorrow. It could relate to tasks, people, activities or places. Doing this thing, being with these people, completing this activity puts a smile on your face. What were you last doing when you forgot time itself?
Region 2: WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS
Let’s be honest, out of the four regions, this takes last priority for a lot of us. It is for this reason that we see the modern world in disarray. We see a complete mess of global politics, lives still lost in starvation despite food wastage, and increasing layers of depression despite relatively good living conditions in much of the western world. It was JFK who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Imagine if we modernised that sentiment and as global citizens asked what we could do for our world? Have you ever asked yourself this question? If no, then why not?
Region 3: WHAT CAN YOU BE PAID FOR
Sadly this region dominates most of our lives. We have bills to pay, roofs to put over our heads and food to put on the table. Despite these basic needs being met, we have not stopped there. It is never enough. We are always looking for any opportunity to make more money, often at the expense of our health, or time with our friends and families. Whilst making money is not a shameful thing, not recognising greed in our own lifestyle is. The affects of hedonistic pursuits will only lead to a life of meaningless and unfulfillment as the precious scale of ikigai will be thrown you off balance.
Region 4: WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT
This is obvious for some. You may be particularly intelligent, gifted or trained in a particular area. You have lived your whole life with these talents or you have worked hard to achieve them. It makes sense that these traits or skills will either bring you immense joy or pay you well. If you are well on your pathway of self searching, it may already bring you both – lucky you!
How else could these regions be interpreted? Feel free to leave your positive comments below.