01 Sep 2023

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to “a reason for being”. You might have seen it floating around the internet as a Venn diagram with 4 circles: what you love, what you’re good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs.

It’s a concept I’ve been wrestling with – is this something that is sought out actively or one that occurs naturally? My answer has been slowly shaping towards 30% of the first and 70% of the second.

As a bit of a tangent, there’s a famous psychiatrist Dr. Phil Stutz who popularized the idea of one’s “life force”, pictured as a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid you have body, in the middle you have relationships, and at the top you have self.

When lost or in search of meaning, focusing on one or more of these levels is a way to keep movement in your life.

Focus on your body: start eating better, run, sleep, go outside and feel the sun warm your face – anything to get the body moving and feeling good.

Enrich and strengthen your relationships with others: seek out those who you want to feel connected to, show up for each other.

And finally, work on yourself: improve your skills, learn something new, tangential, unrelated to anything else. Focus on broadening values and experiences.

I’ve really been in a rut lately and have had to remind myself that things have always happened for me when I focused on my “life force” first and that I need to trust in myself. Because it is only through doing that, that I feel I can find what my own ikigai is.