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Finding your ikigai

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Ikigai is a Japanese concept to describe the reason for one to be , the value for our existence, our purpose for being and what makes living work worthwhile. The Japanese believe that once people find their ikigai, they find true happiness.

The ikigai is a combination and culmination of a number of factors. It is a sweet spot that consists of passion, mission, profession and vocation. To understand this more comprehensively let us start with identifying what you are good at. All of us have natural talents, abilities that we are bestowed with at birth and affinities at succeeding in certain arenas without much effort. It is important we are self-aware enough to be able to identify what we are good at as well as recognize it when other tell us, affirming that we are talented in this particular arena.

When what we are good at is also what we love to do, this result is known as a passion. Passion, the Japanese believe, gives great satisfaction but what you are good at is also what you love, it can be simply useless as it is of no service to others. When what we are good at is also what we are paid for it gives rise to a profession. It is believed that this provides a feeling of being comfortable but still empty, as there is not love for what you do.

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When what we get remunerated for is also what the world needs this is referred to as vocation. When there is a vacuum in the world for the services we offer, which fill that void and we are compensated for it, the Japanese believe that this gives rise to excitement and complacency as well as a sense of uncertainty. When what the world requires is met by what you love to do it gives rise to a mission. This culmination of what one loves and what the world needs is believed to give rise to delight, fullness, contentedness and also unfortunately no wealth.

The combination of what you are good at, what the world needs, what you love and what you get paid to do can arise in a mixture of passion, profession, vocation and mission. This culmination is known as ikigai. When one finds one’s ikigai it is believed that one will find fulfilment, a sense of purpose, comfort, contentedness, exhilaration, delight and wealth.

It is my hope for all of us that will pursue careers that positively impact the world, that solves a problem for our continent. Work that displays our natural God-given talents that we all have a vocation we love and can be handsomely paid for. That is true happiness. May you find you find such happiness, may you find your ikigai.


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