The Japanese Purpose of Life: Ikigai
That's Philosophical #32
This philosophy might have what it takes to help you understand what to do in life.
We often have no choice and it’s necessary to find something we will commit to at a certain age. But it’s not the same for everyone, we all have different timelines.
Ikigai is something that gives a person a sense of purpose. It's a motivation to keep going. It also can be explained as the reason to get up in the morning.
Feeling ikigai usually refers to the feeling of fulfillment that follows when people pursue their passions. Ikigai activities are not forced. They are pursued willingly, ignited by passion and that's why they are personal. They depend on a person’s inner self.
Dan Buettner suggested ikigai may be one of the reasons for the longevity of people’s lives in Japan. Japanese people have less desire to retire, as long as their health can handle it.
You probably heard about the diagram of ikigai. It sums up the principles in one place that could be used to find meaning. That’s how people use ikigai.
There are 4 principles that have to be pursued to achieve a perfect state of ikigai (it’s not required to have all 4).
Something you love.
Something you are good at.
What the world needs.
What you could be paid for.
Overlap of these principles gets you different results, you can see them here:
I love how ikigai can describe the feeling you will have if you pursue each possible scenario. As you can see, true fulfillment can be found in the intersection of all the areas.
My favorite film director is Christopher Nolan, I believe that he is a person who found his ikigai and has been enjoying it for a long time. I liked his approach to one of the most important movies he made- Batman Begins.
He once said that he shot Batman for his own pleasure, and it’s rare to see such approach movies of this scale. When no one believes in you, you should find your own motivation, and Nolan found his.
He is just doing what he believes is right, it's easier to have yourself as your main motivation. Nolan says that he is not looking for approval, he just has to finish the movie. If you shoot something you love, you are not doubting it.
It’s ok if you decide to change the course of your life later in life, everyone has different timelines, and changing for the better should never be something shameful. People around might drag you down and want you to stay the same. It’s always okay to quit.
I love how the Japanese were so far ahead and didn’t only focus on physical health. Mental health was just as important. Finding your ikigai might even improve your health better than any medicine.
Thank you for reading about ikigai, have a great rest of your week!
Let me know if you enjoyed this week’s edition!