Ikigai is a Japanese word made up of two symbols, which in English, when put together, can be translated into the meaning ‘a life worth living’. We all have our own ikigai, in other words, our raison d'être or purpose that makes our life worth living. In order to better understand this concept, it helps to think of sets or groups: our ikigai lies at the place where our passions, mission, vocation, and profession all meet. In other words, our ikigai is the reason we get up every morning. It is not always easy to pinpoint our ikigai, because realising what we really want to do with our lives usually takes time and a great deal of introspection. When we finally discover our ikigai, however, we will feel incredibly capable of pursuing our purpose.
Our job is an extremely important part of our daily life. People usually work about 8 hours per day, and this is a great deal of time, especially when we consider that there are only 24 hours in one day, including the hours we are asleep. If we are able to find our professional ikigai, it allows us to have a more authentic and profound approach to our job, which gives us a sense of fulfilment when we finish our working day, and when we think about what we have accomplished in that time. It is often said that life is too short to go to work every day in a place that we do not like, or that does not fulfil our potential. However, it is also important to remember that it is highly unlikely we will ever have the perfect job, one which meets our expectations or priorities 100% of the time. So, in order to avoid becoming frustrated, we should write down a wish-list of job criteria that we are not willing to give up, and then find a job that ticks all those boxes. The list should not be too long, and we will have to make certain compromises along the way, but being aware of what we absolutely cannot give up helps us to stay on track.