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What is Ikigai? How can it help you choose the right career?

What is Ikigai? How can it help you choose the right career?

Ikigai is an ancient Japanese philosophy that governs the Japanese way of life. Some believe that Ikigai is the cause of Japanese happiness and longevity. Western culture has also chosen it to find a meaningful career.

In this article, we will explain the origin of Ikigai. Let me tell you – the importance and significance of Ikigai. We will also discuss finding and implementing your Ekigai and what to look for when finding it.

What does Ikigai mean?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept. Which means – your ‘reason for being.’ Or ‘reason to be.’

In Japanese, ‘Iki’ means ‘life,’ and ‘gai’ implies value. Your Ikigai is the purpose of your life or your happiness. This is what makes you happy and inspires you to go out to work every day.

It is worth noting that this traditional Japanese philosophy emphasizes finding your joy.

On the other hand, Western interpretation uses Ikigai to find your dream career.

The Western interpretation of Ikigai says that you have found the career of your dreams – it can only be said when four qualities are inserted in your career. The four qualities are-

  1.  You are good or skilled at the job
  2. You love the work
  3. The work is necessary for the world
  4. The work has economic value

That means that your career can be meaningful and joyful if you consider the above four things when choosing your career.

Ikigai method in career selection

Let us now briefly discuss applying the Ikigai method in career selection.

It is essential to consider what stage of life you desire when choosing a career. That is, will you use this method before entering the profession or in the early stages of education life?

If you want to use this method before entering your career, you can follow the following rules.

First of all, what are you reasonably good at? Please make a list of them.

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Look at the second step; which of the tasks do you like the most on your list? Leave them and remove the rest from the list.

In the third step, see if the people of the world need your favorite works? Get rid of clutter you don’t need.

Step 4 – Notice how much money the current list works. Doing so will give you the money you need to support your family? Now list the jobs that have economic value. Exclude the rest. Now choose the most preferred job from the list as a career.

It will be much easier to be happy if you choose a career or profession in this way.

Ikigai method in career selection

Ikigai method in career selection. Source: Career Intelligence

Why is Ikigai important?

Japan ranks second in the world in terms of lifespan. The average life expectancy of women is 88.09 years, and that of men is 81.91. 

Although diet plays a significant role in this, many Japanese believe that Ikigai plays a substantial role in their longevity and happy lives.

In addition to living a long and happy life, Ikigai can help you with:

  • Design your proper work lifestyle
  • In creating solid social connections in the workplace
  • In creating a balance of action and life
  • Achieving your desired career
  • To enjoy your work

When you know your Ikigai and understand its meaning, there will be a balance between what the world expects of you and what you want to do.

3 Steps to Discovering Ikigai

Here are the top three steps to help you discover Ikigai.

Step-1: Answer some questions

A. What do you love?

If you currently work:

Are you engrossed in your work?

Do you like to work every day, or leave the office early?

Do you feel emotional or tense about your job?

If you have a hobby or craft:

Do you have a hobby or craft that you often do?

Do you prioritize your hobby or craft over anything else?

Are you emotionally attached to your hobby or craft?

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B. What are you good at

If you currently work:

Do people consult you about your work?

Are you one of the best in the field?

Do you want to be an expert in what you do?

If you have a hobby or craft:

Do people appreciate you for your hobbies or craftsmanship?

Are you one of the best in your hobby or craft?

Do you want to be an expert in your hobby or craft?

C. What does the world need?

If you currently work:

Is your work considered to be in high demand in the market?

Think about next year, ten years and 100 years later – will your work still be valuable?

Are you solving a social, economic, or environmental problem?

If you have a hobby or craft:

Is your hobby or craft in high demand in the market?

Will your hobby or craft be valuable in the future?

Is your hobby or craft solving social, economic, or environmental problems?

D. Will people pay for your work?

If you currently work:

Are other people being paid for the work you are doing?

Do you make a good living / do you end up doing a good job?

Do you have good or bad competition in your work?

If you have a hobby or craft:

Have other people made a career out of the same hobby or craft?

Have the people around you ever wanted to buy what you do or create?

Is there good or destructive competition for what you do or make?

If you answered “yes” to each question in the “If You’re Working Now” section, keep doing what you’re doing!

Suppose you answer yes to each question in the ‘If you have a hobby or craft’ section – congratulations! You can take steps to turn your hobby into your dream career. Go to step 2 to get started.

What if your answer is no?

Don’t worry; Keep reading for more tips on finding your Ikigai.

Step-2: Brainstorming

Imagine a productive day you spent. What you did during the day, who you talked to, what you wore, what you liked, what you disliked, and so on.

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Trust me; this visualization will help you find your Ikigai or real you.

When you finish visualizing, be sure to write it down. Write as you imagine.

Now think about things from a slightly different perspective. Ask yourself some questions. Again, examine the Ikigai method in the light of the four questions.

Hopefully, you can come to a stunning conclusion.

Special Note: It is normal to have various doubts, fears, or negative thoughts at this time. Deciding on your future can seem like a daunting task. Remember, you are far more powerful than you might think.

Step-3: Study to find your Ikigai

You have an image in your head about what a busy day or productive day you spent. 

Now, Do study, research, attend classes, or go to a coach or mentor. This step will help you make the right decision.

For example-

Suppose you want to be a wedding photographer. Then consult a professional wedding photographer. After getting their advice, you will understand whether the matter is suitable for you or not.

Or, If you want to be a digital marketer, talk to a professional marketer. You may think that digital marketing processes will not go with you.

Suppose you go through this process and see that your thoughts meet real-life expectations – congratulations! It seems you have found your Ikigai. Conclude by writing on how to implement it.

And if the opposite is true, don’t worry; it may take a while to find your Ikigai.

Repeat one to three steps with a different work, hobby, or craft until you find your Ikigai. If you still can’t find it, consider dubbing and experimenting with different roles and skills.

Bake cakes, learn how to code, volunteer, start a book club, design a logo – it doesn’t matter. Keep rehearsing it until you can say it with conviction and confidence.

Note: Finding your Ikigai doesn’t mean you have to like every aspect of your career. Instead, it will play a role in finding suitable employment for you. As a result, your life will be happy.

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