© 2018 by nnyasha.

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  • anesu M

Finding your ikigai


Image credit: Content Pixie


So as I’m slowly approaching the end of one phase in my life and entering into another, I’m faced with an endless amount of life decisions. Cue quarter life crisis! 

Now it helps that I’m not alone in this. I’m watching all my friends in full headless chicken existential distress mode. Nothing says group bonding quite like a collective crisis! I jest (kinda) but this got me thinking about something I think we all try and ignore somewhere along the way. Our ikigai. Though the term itself is probably foreign to you, the philosophy of ikigai may not be. Ikigai, put simply, is your reason for being. (Shoutout to BlackGirlBrovado Podcast for introducing me to this concept!)


Ikigai, is a Japanese concept geared towards finding your individual purpose in this life. Sounds simple right? Well not quite. We all want to make money and live comfortably, who doesn’t, but ikigai is a bit more complex than just fulfilling your material or physical needs. And this is where it gets a bit tricky, because what you want, and your purpose might not always be the same thing. You might want success and riches, but if you hate getting up everyday and your soul isn’t at ease, then perhaps that isn’t your ikigai. 



Image credits: Image by Alvin Balemesa and Justin Essah


To try figure out what your ikigai may look like for you, you need to find that one thing that intersects or meets all these criteria:

  1. What I do well

  2. What I get paid to do

  3. What the world needs

  4. What I love to do.

Finding something that ticks all these boxes might seem impossible, or foolishly idealistic, but sitting down with a pen and paper and jotting these things down might just surprise you. You might be reminded about the wild and wonderful dreams 10 year old you had about the future, or remember the ideals you held and wanted to achieve at the beginning of your career.

I’m not saying sell all your belongings, quit your job immediately and buy a one way ticket to Bali (though that’s cool too or whatever!) But uncovering the answers to the questions your inner self has been longing to be asked might just be the beginning of a beautiful journey. AND if it’s any incentive, the Japanese have one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Could it be just a coincidence or is it ikigai!


- Anesu