Among the many amazing things the Japanese have chosen to share with the world, the concept of ikigai is probably the most profound. Living a long life is largely linked to a person’s happiness, and since Japan is home to the largest number of centenarians in the world, there’s probably something to this, right?
The word ikigai is a compound of two Japanese words: iki, meaning life or alive, and kai, meaning effect, worth or benefit. These two words culminate to mean "a reason for being." The word is also used to refer to the mental and spiritual circumstances that individuals consider valuable in their lives. Finding your ikigai can be split into four parts — your passion, mission, vocation and profession — and discovering all these is said to bring fulfilment and happiness.
People discover their passions through various ways, be it a life-changing experience, by chance or through deep introspection. Finding something you feel strongly about will keep you on the path to staying true to yourself and allow you to persevere through adversity.
Do more, worry less
Most people have more than one passion, sometimes more than one that can be pursued in a single lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait for the right moment for all of them. Do something when the opportunity arises and if it does not, create an opportunity. Every small step counts towards finding your true passion, and remember that every step is worthwhile.
Communication is key
Allow yourself the pleasure of listening and learning from people who share the same interests. You’ll be surprised by the insights, observations, mistakes and even opportunities that like-minded individuals can provide. This will help to spur your own efforts to find what keeps you going.
Failure is the best teacher
They say that failures are blessings in disguise and are obstacles sent by the universe to guide you to the right track. In your pursuit, you may experience various difficulties, such as lack of support, ideas that don’t work out or financial issues. This is perfectly normal. The sooner you recognise that setbacks are part of the process, the sooner quicker you’ll be able to dust yourself off and keep moving towards your goal.