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If lately, you have been feeling empty or frustrated or directionless, I want to congratulate you. You are now in the first step of finding your Ikigai.
We feel empty and meaningless when we have the nagging feeling that we are not who we are supposed to be.
If you feel this, do not fret. Do not get depressed. Do not get agitated. Feeling this is normal. It is simply your inner self prodding you to discover your Ikigai.
What we need to do when we have this feeling of emptiness, is to decide to look for our Ikigai. While looking for it requires much effort, and sometimes even pain, we have to do it so we can find our own inner peace and joy.
Ikigai is an activity or endeavor that:
In simple terms, your Ikigai is your worldly purpose. It is your reason for being.
Most people choose not to find their Ikigai - or don’t know they need to find it.
And so when they feel empty or meaningless, they distract themselves with short-term pleasures - entertainment, accumulation of property, fame - giving them quick fixes which never last.
But for the few who push on and discover their own Ikigai, a highly enjoyable life awaits. One where life still isn’t perfect but definitely joyful.
Even when you find your Ikigai, life will still have a lot (if not more) challenges. But those challenges, can now be faced head-on. Because once you know your Ikigai (or your reason for being), then you will be bolder, stronger, and more resilient in pushing thru with any adversity that comes your way.
All of us have our own unique Ikigai. Discovering it and living a life around it is what will give us a life full of joy.
Ikigai does not have to be big or grand. The size/impact of our Ikigai does not matter. It does not matter if your Ikigai allows you to help the entire world, or just one person. For some, being the professional caretaker of one person for many years can already be their life-long Ikigai.
I discovered my own Ikigai when I was 37. Mine is:
Growing a small tech company and taking care of the people who believe in it.
It’s something I enjoy doing - it gives each day a sense of purpose. I hope to never retire from it.
Others find their Ikigai earlier, others later. It does not matter when we find it. What matters is our desire to discover it.
Our Ikigai is also not relative to the Ikigai of others. When we discover our Ikigai, we learn how to stop comparing ourself to others. Your Ikigai is yours alone. What others do is not relevant to you. We become at peace knowing that we are threading our own unique path.
We also learn that how others perceive us is not very important - since they don’t really know our path.
Ikigai is a very elusive thing to find. But once we do, we unlock a new version of our lives - or more appropriate, the true version of ourselves - the version we like being with. The one who is joyful and at peace with life.
Wishing you a life filled with your Ikigai!
- Ivan Lanuza