Far too many of us in the Western world are stuck in an pattern of endless office work and long commutes. Our stress levels are high, our relationships are strained, and our physical health is somewhere between questionable and intolerable. We may be depressed and complacent, or irritable with a quick fuse and a sharp tongue, none of which are good for our professional or personal relationships.
We are exhausted and burned out with limited options of how to pay our monthly bills AND spend our days doing something we love.
Yet, that’s exactly what we need to figure out.
This suppression of the heart may be one of the most common and devastating health issues of our time, resulting in countless maladies of body and mind, personal and social relationships, leadership, and our ability to live gracefully with kindness and compassion.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau
Ikigai translates into, “a reason for being”. It’s your purpose, dharma, what excites you, gives you energy and meaning to your life. What you were “made to do”. It’s your special gift to your family, community, profession, and perhaps the world.
As the above graphic portrays, Ikigai requires a combination of basic traits: love, skill, need, and income. These traits, in different combinations, result in passion, mission, vocation, and profession. You can also see in the graphic that it is an incomplete and probably unsustainable dynamic if one of the basic traits is missing. As with all aspects of life, we need proper balance.
Why is this important? Well, frankly, life is short! If we live according to “our reason for being”, we will likely feel improvement in our physical and mental health, and in our sense of well-being. Our energy levels will increase, our relationships will be enriched, and we’ll feel more happiness and satisfaction. Who doesn’t want more of this?
“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
So how do we figure this out and make it happen? It’s a process that will likely include a bit of introspection, self-knowledge, and prioritization. What do you love? What skills do you have that the world needs and values enough to pay you a living wage? And how much money do you truly need to live a happy, fulfilled, and meaningful life?
“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.” – Ben Stein
Once you have some ideas, how do you distill them down into plausible options, choose a path, and then transition from your current situation into your imagined future? We all likely need some help figuring this out as it can be a daunting task, and it helps to have some outside perspectives and support.
We need more people to apply their passions and natural talents, shifting our society into valuing and nurturing the best aspects of our human-ness. We need more people to live fully, as inspirational examples of lives well-lived, with radiant, vibrant health. This shift will take time, but we all need to start moving towards our ‘reason for being’. It will motivate, energize, and inspire us, and change us collectively for the better. After all, we all want to be joyfully savoring the things in life that we love!
Are you living a fulfilling, joyful, and satisfying life? Do you need help finding your deep purpose? Send me a message or just schedule an appointment – I’d love to work with you!