“Ikigai” is a Japanese concept that translates to “reason for being” or “life purpose.” The book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles explores this concept and its application to finding happiness and meaning in life.

At its core, ikigai is about discovering what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, and finding the intersection of these four areas. When you find your ikigai, you have found your reason for being, your life purpose.

The concept of ikigai originated in Okinawa, Japan, a region with one of the highest life expectancies in the world. The people of Okinawa have a strong sense of community, purpose, and connection to nature, and many attribute their long and healthy lives to these factors. By uncovering your own ikigai, you too can find greater meaning and happiness in life.

So how do you go about discovering your ikigai? Here are some steps to get you started:

Reflect on what you love:

Take some time to think about the things that bring you joy and fulfilment. What activities do you find yourself losing track of time doing? What topics do you love to learn about? What makes you feel most alive and energized?

Consider your skills and strengths:

What are you good at? What do other people come to you for help with? What are the things that come naturally to you?

Look for ways to contribute:

How can you use your skills and interests to make a positive impact on the world? What needs do you see in your community or in the world at large that you feel passionate about addressing?

Explore potential career paths:

While ikigai isn’t solely about making money, it is important to consider how you can use your skills and passions to create a sustainable livelihood for yourself. Think about what kinds of careers or businesses would allow you to do work that aligns with your ikigai.

Experiment and adjust:

Finding your ikigai is a journey, not a destination. It’s okay if your ikigai shifts over time, or if you need to try out different paths before you find the right one. Stay open to new opportunities and be willing to adjust your course as needed.

In addition to these steps, there are a few key principles that can help you live a more ikigai-centered life:

Stay active:

Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and social engagement are all important for maintaining physical and mental health.

Embrace the present moment:

Focus on finding joy and meaning in everyday activities, and be fully present in the moment.

Eat well:

A healthy diet, rich in whole foods and plant-based options, can help support a long and healthy life.

Cultivate positive relationships:

Surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you, and cultivate strong connections with family, friends, and community members.

By uncovering your ikigai and living a life guided by purpose and meaning, you can find greater happiness and fulfillment in all aspects of your life. Start exploring your own ikigai today and see where it takes you.