Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “reason for being.” It is the practice of meshing what your soul and heart want, with that of profession and practicality.
I practiced the ikigai exercise when I was undergoing chemotherapy in college. At this time, as you might know by now if you have been following my journey, I felt depleted and like I had no life purpose. I was young and confused. All of my independence was taken from me as I had to drop out of school. It was a rough period of time as I often thought to myself, “who am I, and what is my purpose?”
Despite the ambiguity of my future, I was able to find a sense of hope and purpose from ikigai. This practice made things more clear for me. Although I was unsure of how everything would come together, I trusted in it all. I was able to visually see all of my soul-sparking traits and activities on paper. I have manifested a lot of what I put down on my chart (and boy do I wish I was able to find it so I can upload a photo of mine).
Evidently, the point of ikigai is to ask yourself what makes you happy and how can that transfer to benefiting the world?
How to Practice
There are a set of four main questions that you need to answer. You can create a chart or diagram as seen in the photo above, but the most important thing is to make sure there are four separate sections where you can jot down your ideas. I also added in some supplementary questions that might help you below:
- What do I love?
- What makes you excited and does not bore you?
- What was your childhood hobby or activity you always go back to to this day?
- What brings your soul joy and you light up?
- What do you do that you lose track of time?
- What am I good at?
- What are my skills and talents?
- What do people come to me for help with?
- What are the things I practice and put energy into?
- What can I get paid for?
- What have I been paid for in the past?
- What do I love at work?
- What would I do if it was not for my current job?
- What is my dream job?
- What does the world need?
- How can I benefit my community?
It might take you a day, week, or even a year to complete your list. I did mine in about an hour. After, you will start to see little puzzle pieces starting to form together. You will slowly feel everything you enjoy mesh and blend beautifully.
There is a reason for your being. Just trust in it.
You can listen to my podcast episode on this here.