Do you look for meaning and passion outside of your career? The truth is, we spend most of our lives working. Thus, looking for meaning outside of your 9 to 5 may make the days, years, and decades feel a bit long.

The key to happiness and well-being is simple; look for meaning inside what you do daily. This is what the Japanese are doing with Ikigai.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being” or “a reason to wake up in the morning.” It is a combination of two Japanese words: “iki,” meaning life, and “gai,” meaning worth or value.

The concept of ikigai suggests that each person has a unique purpose or reason for existence, and finding and fulfilling this purpose brings satisfaction, happiness, and a sense of fulfillment to one’s life. It involves discovering what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, and then finding the intersection of these four elements.

In essence, ikigai encourages us to pursue activities or endeavors that align with our passions, strengths, and values, and contribute positively to the world around them. It’s often represented as a Venn diagram, with the overlap of the four elements forming one’s ikigai.


The concept of ikigai offers several potential benefits:

Sense of Purpose: Ikigai helps individuals identify and understand their purpose in life, providing them with a clear direction and motivation to pursue meaningful goals.

Increased Happiness and Satisfaction: By aligning one’s actions and pursuits with their passions, strengths, and values, ikigai can lead to a greater sense of fulfillment, contentment, and overall happiness.

Improved Well-being: Living a life by one’s ikigai can contribute to enhanced psychological and emotional well-being. It may reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by providing a sense of meaning and satisfaction.

Enhanced Resilience: Having a strong sense of ikigai can make individuals more resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks. It provides them with a deeper sense of purpose and resilience to overcome obstacles and persevere through difficult times.

Better Health Habits: Pursuing activities aligned with one’s ikigai often involves engaging in behaviors that promote physical health and well-being. This can include activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management, leading to overall better health outcomes.

Increased Productivity and Creativity: When individuals are engaged in activities they are passionate about and enjoy, they are likely to be more productive and creative. Ikigai encourages individuals to tap into their innate talents and interests, fostering innovation and productivity.

Stronger Social Connections: Pursuing one’s ikigai often involves connecting with others who share similar interests or values. This can lead to the development of strong social networks and meaningful relationships, which are crucial for overall well-being.

Overall, embracing the concept of ikigai can lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying life, with benefits extending across various aspects of well-being.


Practicing ikigai involves a process of self-reflection, exploration, and intentional action to align your daily life with your purpose and passions. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to practice ikigai:

  1. Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your values, interests, strengths, and aspirations. Consider what activities make you feel fulfilled, energized, and engaged. Reflect on moments when you felt a deep sense of satisfaction and purpose.

  2. Identify Your Passions: Explore the activities, hobbies, and interests that bring you joy and fulfillment. What do you love to do in your free time? What activities make you lose track of time? Identifying your passions is a crucial step in discovering your ikigai.

  3. Discover Your Strengths: Reflect on your skills, talents, and strengths. What are you naturally good at? What activities do you excel in? Consider seeking feedback from others to gain insight into your strengths and areas of expertise.

  4. Assess What the World Needs: Consider how you can contribute positively to the world around you. What problems or challenges do you feel passionate about addressing? How can you use your talents and skills to make a difference in your community or society at large?

  5. Find What You Can Be Paid For: Explore potential career paths or opportunities that align with your passions, strengths, and the needs of the world. Consider how you can monetize your skills and interests while making a meaningful impact.

  6. Identify Your Ikigai Intersection: Use the insights gained from self-reflection and exploration to identify the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. This intersection represents your ikigai—the reason for your being.

  7. Set Goals and Take Action: Once you’ve identified your ikigai, set specific, actionable goals to align your daily activities with your purpose and passions. Break down your goals into manageable steps and take consistent action towards realizing them.

  8. Embrace Continuous Learning and Growth: Stay open to new experiences, opportunities, and challenges that align with your ikigai. Continuously seek ways to develop your skills, expand your knowledge, and deepen your impact in areas that matter to you.

  9. Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude: Cultivate mindfulness and gratitude in your daily life. Take time to appreciate the small joys, accomplishments, and moments of fulfillment that contribute to your sense of purpose and well-being.

By following these steps and actively practicing ikigai, you can lead a more fulfilling, meaningful, and purpose-driven life. Remember that ikigai is a journey of self-discovery and growth, and it may evolve over time as you gain new insights and experiences.