Ikigai – Transform Your Life And Purpose


In recent years, there has been an uncovering of a Japanese philosophy known as ‘Ikigai’, a sense of long term purpose that keeps people happier, healthier, and more actively engaged in their life. 

Throughout this essay, we aim to talk about Ikigai, and the importance behind adopting this mindset.

What is Ikigai?

Like much of the Japanese language, Ikigai does not have a single translation. The word is composed of two symbols: one that means “life” and one that means “worthwhile”. We can translate it, roughly, to mean ‘the reason for living’; It’s the reason that drives one out of bed in the morning.

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai—a reason for living. And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world’s longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life.

Having a strong sense of ikigai—the place where passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect—means that each day is infused with meaning. 

Ikigai is completely personal. Each individual has to find out their own insatiable purpose. It is our responsibility in life to find the ever changing fuel that lights the fire of our soul.

As we grow and develop, our interests, desires, and goals change – in that process, we must stay conscious about what it is in this moment that sparks our highest level of excitement, purpose, and vocation. 

Important to note, Our Ikigai does not have to be a grand ambition or highly noble mission. 

Ikigai has different elements. We can define them in terms of passion, ability, getting paid for, and fulfilling a need the world has. 


1. What you love (Passion and Mission)

2. What you are good at (Passion and Profession)

3. What you can be paid for (Profession and Vocation)

4. What the world needs (Mission and Vocation)

Passion means that it should be something you love. Ikigai is tied to an activity or idea that truly ignites you and engages your passions. 

The second aspect of Ikigai is what you are good at. When we do things that we are skilled at, we are able to offer value to the world and find meaning in our activities as well. 

The third element is more practical. We need money to live in this world, so finding something that we can do and get paid for is an essential aspect of the philosophy. 

Finally, Ikigai is concerned with what the world needs. How can we bring value to others? How can we do something that transcends us and helps others? 

At the intersection of these four elements, we can find purpose. We can find our unique Ikigai. 

Discovering Your Ikigai

You can see that Ikigai doesn’t have to be something extraordinary. You don’t need to commit yourself to a multi-million dollar quest to gain meaning. Ikigai can be found in daily life and rewarding moments.

The Japanese can tend to a garden or cook a meal with the same sense of purposefulness as writing their life’s work or being with their soul mate. This alleviates the pressure of finding the perfect purpose and makes every day enjoyable, serene, and full of reasons to get up in the morning with excitement instead of dread.

What if Ikigai is Absent?

To understand how Ikigai can improve your life, it’s worth looking at what happens when it’s absent. Emptiness and despair occur when we lose sight of what’s important.

People who do work that seems pointless feel frustrated even if they get paid. Even for good money, one would quickly tire of this task, finding themselves in a state of irritability. 

People with no meaning in their lives find it hard to get up and tackle their goals. They feel, “What’s the point?” They tend to be more isolated and lonely.

Ultimately, people with no clarity of meaning try to fill this void with food, shopping, drugs, or other vices, many of which are quite harmful. In the end, an absence of purpose translates into a lower quality of life, a shorter lifespan, and downright wasted potential. 

It takes work to find your Ikigai but it will be very important in the end. It will always pay off. The practice of seeking meaning in your daily life will make you happier and give you a new perspective. It will keep you busy in a way that feels fulfilling. 

Now that we have established what Ikigai is, what it can do for you, and what life is without it, it’s worth looking at the ways you can seek to implement this into your daily life. Let’s see the steps we can take towards insurmountable purpose and alignment. 

The Steps to Take

1. Start Small.

It’s important to set correct expectations. Ikigai doesn’t have to be something enormous or transcendent. Your purpose may lie in the home or beyond it, in a simple job and enjoyment of nature, in helping your loved ones, research, creating art, or raising your children. There is no right or wrong way to have meaning. Just as we each have our individual self, our purpose will be an expression of this unique way of being. 

2. Release Yourself.

Keep in mind is that you can’t force meaning on yourself. Activities that you need to twist your own arm into doing are probably not right for you. Ikigai is best found when you are spontaneous and let yourself follow your natural inclinations. In regards to this, the first step to take is to follow the things you enjoy, organically, without judgement. (Keeping in mind that these activities shouldn’t be vices, detrimental to your body, or toxic to the people around you.)

3. Connect to your surroundings.

Be aware that our actions can impact others around us. Live in a way that promotes harmony and sustainability, while nurturing and enhancing others, just as much as you satisfy yourself. Think of yourself as a tree in a forest – we are individual, yet we are all connected and reliant on each other for our growth. Understand this relationship to uncover what’s necessary in the world around you, and what you can do for income.

4. Be in the Here and Now.

This pillar recognizes that as we respect the present moment, we can value the abundance of what is before us. The smile on our loved ones. A laugh with a friend. A beautiful landscape. A bright flower. Vast beauty is located within the smallest details of the world around us. Don’t rush through your daily life; take time to experience it, and you will see the beauty of what goes unnoticed. 

Here are some reflection questions to help you get started:

· When I feel I don’t have enough time in life to do the things I actually want to do, what are those activities I wish I had more time to enjoy?

· What am I doing when I feel most motivated?

· What values are most important to me? What activities do I do which make me feel in alignment with those values?

· What are my natural talents? What do people come to me for advice or assistance with?

· When I am working in state of flow, what is the type of work I am doing?

· What have I always wanted to learn about but never got around to doing?

· If I could do anything at all, money and time were no object, how would I spend my days?

· When do I feel most at contented and at peace?

· When do I feel most alive?


Ikigai is the concept that aligns what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for.

We encourage you to take the time to reflect on this idea, and bring yourself closer to your alignment. It is an expression of your own unique self – so each individual is on a unique journey to find their Ikigai.

While it takes some time, the quality of life, purpose, and direction it brings will awaken your most powerful and loving self.

Ikigai can be found by being present in the here and now, connecting with your needs and desires, helping those in your community, and finding joy in little moments. Through this process, you will rise to your most purposeful state.

Share this post to your community to spread an enlightening message.

Comment below, what do you do when you feel most alive?


Delgado, J. (n.d.). Ikigai: The philosophy of life of the ultracentenarians. Retrieved from https://psychology-spot.com/reasons-to-live/

Kowalski, K. (2018). “IKIGAI: THE JAPANESE SECRET TO A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE” BY HÉCTOR GARCÍA AND FRANCESC MIRALLES.  Retrieved from https://www.sloww.co/ikigai-book/