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Ikigai: A Japanese method to find happiness and fulfillment

By Marie-Pier Hamon – on in Life
There is more and more talk of Ikigai in the field of personal development. Do you know, however, exactly what this term from Japan refers to?

If you walk through a bookstore or library and browse the “psychology”, “personal development” and “well-being” sections, you are most likely to come across a book about Ikigai. Indeed, this concept is more and more widespread in the field of personal development. However, it is relevant to ask what exactly this Japanese word refers to.

1 Ikigai comes from Japan

Fujiyoshida, Japon
Photo by David Edelstein on Unsplash

As mentioned above, Ikigai is a word that comes from Japan. As such, it refers to “the joy of living” as well as “the reason for being.” However, this word may have a different concept depending on the culture or way of seeing the life of the person who uses it. For example, for people who live in Okinawa, Japan, Ikigai is seen as the reason to get up in the morning. In other parts of this country, however, this concept is much less philosophical. However, Ikigai has raised many questions when it comes to personal development.


2 Ikigai and personal development

As a result of all these questions, the Ikigai circles were created. They are a tool that allows you to find what gives meaning to your life and therefore, allows you to flourish. In other words, you can use it to reflect on your personality and question your life choices in order to achieve happiness. To achieve Ikigai (a reason to live), your activities must meet these four conditions:

  1. You have fun doing your activities.
  2. Your activities require your talents and skills.
  3. They enrich the world or match your values and your way of thinking.
  4. Your activities have value for others and meet needs that go beyond your own. In short, your activities help others.

However, it is important to know that you can own several Ikigai and that it can change many times during your life. After all, you can have many ambitions and life projects throughout your life!


3 How can you find your Ikigai?

Calepin
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

There are several ways to find your Ikigai. You can try to find out what your talents and skills are by writing down all your qualities in a notebook. You can also ask yourself about your ambitions. Do you have any goals that you have always wanted to achieve, but have put aside? What were your dreams when you were a child or teenager?

Finding your way through this Japanese concept is a way to become aware of your aspirations and to be happy. However, this requires introspection and sometimes even going out of one’s comfort zone to flourish.


Cover photo: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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Marie-Pier Hamon

A journalist by training, Marie-Pier is passionate about writing on cultural and entertainment events and content creation. Always listening to music, she probably writes more words in a day than she says out loud.