I stumbled across the concept of ikigai in Japanese culture – loosely translated as “reason for being” – in this Medium post. The Venn diagram above appears to be taken from this Toronto Star article (which is based on another work, and so on…). The graphic suggests that we asks ourselves these questions to find our ikigai:
- What do you love?
- What are you good at?
- What does the world need from you?
- What can you get paid for?
In other words, Ikagai is not just your passion or something that makes you happy. I searched for deeper explanations and found this BBC article with the most satisfying one:
Ikigai is what allows you to look forward to the future even if you’re miserable right now.
I was reminded of this previously-mentioned Venn diagram by Bud Caddell regarding finding the right job:
In essence, the question “What does the world need from you?” is collapsed into “What can you get paid for?” above. If you’re looking for the ideal job, then I suppose that is a good shortcut.
However, not everyone’s reason for waking up every morning involves money. The BBC article cites a 2010 survey of 2,000 Japanese men and women where just 31% of participants cited work as their ikigai. That means for 69% of Japanese people, their ikigai is something else. Family, friends, community, a hobby, a volunteer position.
Food for thought.