The secret to a long and happy life should equate to your reason for being. It’s about that thing makes you happy , sets your soul on fire and makes you jump out of the bed in the morning. It’s about finding, creating and leading a purpose-driven life that goes beyond just a vocation. It’s a bit like Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” And although Confucius was Chinese, the Japanese have a practiced an art that endures today to help you do just that. It’s called Ikigai.
Ikigai in Japanese literally translates to “reason for being”. It refers to the meeting point of motivation and sense of purpose. If you want feel a little more alive, clear the muddy waters of motivation, quit the rat race and climb off the hamster wheel, then read on.
Scientific studies by the Global Journal of Health Science, refer to Ikigai as more of a feeling than anything else, living with joy and purpose leads to longevity and vitality. According to the science, Ikigai can be attributed to the prefrontal lobe of the brain, that part of the brain that sits just behind your forehead and which is responsible for complex behaviours and personality development as well as planning.
Have you ever heard that phrase, ‘trust your gut but always take your brain with you’? Well this is what Ikigai suggests. Finding the sweet spot. It’s a diagram created by four overlapping circles and where they meet, you find your Ikigai.
Ikigai is a simple yet effective tool. Like all things motivation related it asks you to do three things before starting. First, you need to begin like a child would, with complete naivety by unlearning everything you think you know about yourself. Second, it asks you to find your Zen. Calm down, find your centre by remembering that you cannot see your reflection in a boiling pot of water. Water only provides a truthful reflection when it’s glassy and unperturbed. Self-reflect. Thirdly, it requires brutal honesty. You wouldn’t be able to dream it, if you aren’t able to achieve it. However, always follow the path of effortless ease. It’s about finding your purpose with minimum input and maximum output and is about more than only money. Speaking of which, consider how you measure your success in life and try to find other yardsticks.
Let’s find your Ikigai.
The four overlapping circles are your starting point. We work from the outside in as outlined by jotting down whatever comes to mind under these headings. Most people list three things under each point. Some people take a week, others a month. The point is that we’re asking you to start. Print out the image. You’ll also need a notebook and some dedicated time each day to work on it.
LOVE. List all the things that you love. Go beyond people to activities and things with a short reason why next to each of them. Do you truly know yourself? The ancient Greeks were onto something with the Delphic maxim “Know thyself” - tit’s often attributed to Socrates.
NEEDS. List what you think the world needs more of or less of and why. Do you see a gap in the market? Do you see another product or service? Do you see more humanitarianism? Write it down.
PAID FOR. Now list all things that you feel you could be paid for. Whether it's a skill or a product or a service, it doesn’t matter. Write it down. Even if it doesn’t immediately make you happy, write it down.
GOOD AT. Now list all the things that you are good at. Almost back to square one but not quite. What are you good at? Is it growing roses? Is it sewing? Is it working with the elderly or children? Ask friends and family too if you feel it might help.
Let that stew. Take a breather and let’s move onto Phase 2.
MISSION. Create a personal Mission Statement. These are generally used by companies to describe their intent or purpose, principles and ethics. A good Mission Statement generally has three parts. WHO, are you looking to serve or sell to? WHAT, are you looking to offer them? WHY? Describes your unique selling point or point of difference and answers the question ‘why me?’ as opposed to the next person.
VOCATION. List all the things you do out of choice, things you like to do that please you. A vocation is not a profession. Where vocation meets profession for example is a teacher (profession) who constantly works after hours without extra pay due to love of learning and seeing others flourish (vocation).
PROFESSION. What are you currently doing today to pay the bills? What did you study? What hard skillset do you have? How do you answer the question, ‘so what do you do for a living?”.
PASSION. This is an overlap between what you are good at and what you truly love. If you’re constantly told that you have a green thumb and you love to work with plants then your passion would be gardening or landscaping for example.
Take these steps one by one and in your own time. Let all the information filter down and forget about it for a few days. And then, see what bubbles to the surface of your prefrontal lobe when you least expect it. And then, drop what you’re doing and shout IKIGAI!
Remember a purpose-driven life is found when we are deeply grateful for our successes. It starts with a healthy body and mind…including the prefrontal lobe. To make sure that your brain and heart are in tip-top shape, consider supplementing with Cellnutrition’s Omegabiocell369, which contains the highest concentrated dose of 100% plant-based, ultra-pure Omega-3, 6, 9 fatty acids isolated from a unique mixture of four plant oils.