Updated: Aug 8, 2021
The word "ikigai" comes from two Japanese words: "iki," or life, & "gai," which means "value or worth". Ikigai relates to how people find joy every day in small things & that the total of these things can deliver a more satisfying life.
Ikigai tends to be pragmatic rather than idealistic. A person’s ikigai might be their family/friends, work/ hobby. For example, a weekend photography trip or savouring a piece of chocolate/making the perfect cup of tea/coffee mindfully.
It can also be as a grand intention, such as a vision to make a difference in the world. It is a mindset very close to positive psychology, that helps people to align their personal values & strengths with what brings meaning into their life.
Individuals who find their ikigai see the bigger picture, have a goal in mind, & know the why behind what they do. It is an internal, thoughtful process that requires a lot of introspection – examining our own deep sense of identity & being.
For many people finding their own ikigai can help them to live a happier, more fulfilling & longer life – which is why it is linked so strongly to the ‘Blue Zone’ communities in Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), & among the 7th-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, USA.
When you know what’s your ultimate reason to live, it’s so much easier to use your time for a meaningful purpose. It also helps with life planning & can lead to a greater sense of harmony with nature, along with better relationships for inner peace.
Photo by Manu Franco