Ikigai is a method used by people to help find their pathway. It is different for each individual.

What is it?

The Ikigai is a Japanese concept, translated as "a reason for being". It is the central point of a balance between different driving forces.

Based on four questions

  • What do I love?
  • What does the world need?
  • What will people pay me for?
  • What am I good at?

Why it's good:

Apart from bringing satisfaction and meaning to life, there are many benefits. You get to know yourself better, you find and clarify some positive driving forces, as well as find opportunities to have a balanced and complete life.

Preparations:

  • Environment: Perhaps the most important thing is to do this exercise in a good environment. You might want to bring a notebook and meditate in the forest, or some place where you can relax and contemplate peacefully.
  • Material: Notebook/scrap paper, pen, scissors, some kind of paper

Step 1: Brainstorming

Write down the four questions (listed above) in your notebook. Take your time to brainstorm answers for any of them. It doesn't matter which question you answer, just make a list of words/sentences. Don't worry about how good your answers are. If you're having trouble finding answers, just write the first thing that comes to mind. If it's still difficult, try it a few days in a row, and then you should definitely have a good list.

Step 2: Plotting the Graph

Now look at your brainstorming list, and find one of the words/sentences that feels most significant to you right now. Write it down neatly in the corner of a blank sheet of paper, and cut out the word/sentence from the paper. Look at the graph, and the four questions, and see how well your word/sentence answers each of them. Then place your word/sentence on the graph accordingly:

  • The more your word/sentence is something you love and NOT something you can be paid for, the more upwards on the paper you put it (and vice versa).
  • The more your word/sentence is something the world needs, and NOT something you are good at, the more to the right you put it (and vice versa).Repeat this step a few times, until you feel satisfied.

Step 3: Understanding Your Graph

Now you should have a graph. Think of the graph as having four sections: top, top right, right, bottom right, bottom, bottom left, left, and top left. See how well distributed your words/sentences are in these sections.

  • If any of the sections is empty, you might want to ponder why that is. Or you might do another brainstorm just to find words/sentences that fit there.
  • If any words/sentences are on the top left (or near it), these words/sentences make up your mission. You might find a better word/sentence that define your mission, and if you do that, use it.
  • If any words/sentences are on the bottom left (or near it), these words/sentences make up your vocation. You might find a better word/sentence that define your vocation, and if you do that, use it.
  • If any words/sentences are on the bottom right (or near it), these words/sentences make up your profession. You might find a better word/sentence that define your profession, and if you do that, use it.
  • If any words/sentences are on the top right (or near it), these words/sentences make up your passion. You might find a better word/sentence that define your passion, and if you do that, use it.

Step 4: Having Your Ikigai

Now you can pat yourself on the back! If you are satisfied with your results, you might write down (or paste) your most significant, plotted words/sentences on the piece of paper. Otherwise, if you feel you need more time for this, you may go back and repeat the exercise later. Whether you found your ultimate Ikigai or not, as long as you have done this exercise, you have taken a good step towards it!