Everyone Needs an Ikigai

Good glorious Saturday to you and your family!

Its the last term of the school year and for my grade 6ér the last term of primary school.  Even though the thought of going to high school is daunting to her, even confronting - she is also tapped into her excitement - the energy that rises her over her fear and helps her connect to those greater feelings.

Despite many setbacks in her short life, my daughter has found a purpose to her life at just the tender age of 11 (in fact even before that).  Very early on Thursday morning - the third anniversary of my father's passing - I found her at the computer pumping out lyrics to a song that needed to come out - she was passionate about finishing this before anything else.  He was also passionate about music, he was somewhere else when he was playing music and singing.

In Japanese culture it is thought that everyone has an Ikigai - a purpose for living - a reason for being.  The journey you take to find your Ikigai is not only transformational but also deeply important, as it gives meaning to why you get up in the morning despite life's many challenges.  Okinawa is considered to be one of the blue zones and Dan Buettner (Author of The Blue Zones and researcher who discovered the 6 Blue Zones around the globe), attributes Ikigai as being a strong component in the reason why people in Blue Zones live extraordinary long and happy lives.  They have connection to their purpose.

Ikigai incorporates two main elements:

  1. The source of value of one's life or things that make life worthwhile

2. The mental and spiritual circumstances required to be present in order to have a life of value

Even if you're having a tough day, when you are not forcing your actions and behaviours to feel Ikigai or life's value - you are expressing your true purpose.  This may explain why the Japanese have been so considered to be a gracious and organized community, always smiling and giving freely the gifts of their virtues.  Holding back on your virtuous gifts for others to enjoy is not considered to be Ikigai. Forcing your 'gifts' onto others is not considered Ikigai - they must find theirs themselves.

In Chinese philosophy - Íkikai' translates into the realization of what someone expects and hopes for.  Ever heard of 'be careful of what you wish for'?  Are your hopes and dreams connected to your meaning of your life's value?  Could this be why your dreams and plans are not yet coming to fruition?  Even a business plan for a company can lack the connection to a corporate purpose - what is your company's Ikigai?

Remember - someone else's Ikigai may not (rarely is) the same as yours - but the outcome is the same regardless of the method.  This may go someway to explain the perceivable unusual routines and actions of those around you in order for them to press on with their day. If you do happen to share a similar Ikigai to someone else - brace yourself for some incredibly inspiring things.