The Japanese way to uncover your purpose in life

2 min readJul 16, 2018

Need some help finding your purpose? Then look no further.

Stuck in a job you don’t enjoy? Have a nagging feeling that you’re not fulfilling your life’s purpose?

The first piece of good news is you are not alone. The second piece of good news is that there is a handy tool that can help you figure out your calling once and for all.

Ikigai is a Japanese word which literally translates as a ‘reason for being’. It is similar to the French phrase ‘raison d’etre’.

The word originated in Okinawa in the South of Japan; an area noted for its large number of smiling people aged over 100.

Could finding your ikigai be the key to living a long and fulfilling life?

As the image above suggests, it’s all about identifying that sweet spot where ‘what you love’, ‘what you’re good at’, ‘what the world needs’ and ‘what you can be paid for’ intersect.

It is here that lies the answer to unlocking your life’s true purpose.

Fortunately, this is something you can easily uncover by asking yourself the following four questions:

1. What do I love? (your passion)

2. What am I good at? (your vocation)

3. What can I be paid for now ? (your profession)

4. What does the world need? (your mission)

When you are thinking of your answers try to trust your own instincts. What are the things that truly excite and motive you? What are the things you have a genuine and irresponsible sense of curiosity for?

If you’re interested in learning more it is well worth checking out the brilliant book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.

Other books worth a read on this very important topic include Finding Your Element by Sir Ken Robinson, How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clay Christensen, The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau and, last but not least, The Passion Test by Janet & Chris Attwood.

Good luck on your journey!




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