An intro to Ikigai And Addressing Its Misconception
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is a unique Japanese word that has no direct literal meaning in any other language. 生き甲斐 (ikigai) is derived from two words 生き(iki) means to live and 甲斐(gai) that means reason. To put it simply, Ikigai is reasons for us human to live our everyday life.
Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling so energetic about the day? Stop and ask yourself, what makes you feel that way? Is it your daily routines that you feel happy to do? Maybe the job you feel passionate about? Or just the thought of feeding your cat and pet them in the head makes you happy? Hobbies and meeting people you love? That can be and most of the time is an Ikigai.
In the midst of all current trends of self love and mindfulness, Ikigai has its fair share of popularity worldwide. The concept even made its way to the west. Countless books and publications made by western authors has been made. There is though, some misunderstanding about Ikigai being the combination of what you love, what you paid for, what you can contribute to the world and what you are good at. We can easily google and find a lot of venn diagrams with this contexts. Yet, it is not the Ikigai that Japanese people has followed as jargon this whole time. Ikigai is much more simpler and surprisingly basic.
Misconception of Ikigai
The idea that “western Ikigai” has is fundamentally correct but the way they approach it limits the reach of Ikigai being something merely in the realm of work or profession. It’s true! You can find your will and reason to feel truly alive from your work but not solely from it. Japanese people can even consider waking up in the morning and feeling the sunshine on their face as a form of Ikigai.
Ken Mogi, the author of A little Book of Ikigai even made his own version of the diagrams that actually doesn’t exist in it’s origin as something like this:
Source: Ken Mogi’s YouTube Channel
Instead of focusing on the small sliced area in the middle of the graph, Ken Mogi insisted that the whol diagram could be Ikigai. All the big, small, public or even private is a valid Ikigai material.
Why should we care about Ikigai?
Truthfully, Ikigai is just a jargon and a fancier way of saying that we should slow-down and take care of ourselves. Ikigai is also synonymous with happiness and even the little joy we could have in out life that truly impacted our way of looking at life itself. However, as it is a part of Japanese culture, by knowing about Ikigai we could implement the value of Japanese work culture and how they perceive life. It is a great introduction if you are interested to find balance in life in the midst of our busy days.
Go ahead and ask yourself, what makes you survive this whole time? Start with that and own it as your Ikigai or Ikigais (you can have more than one, of course!). Hold dear to it, and keep your mind open to any other concepts of self-development. Hopefully, you will wake up feeling a lot better starting from today.