Ikigai: The Intersection of Your Strengths and Passions

A Japanese Concept To Find Career Happiness

By: Veronica Pistek

Discovering your ikigai, or your reason for living, in four steps. (Credit:

Part of being young and human is feeling lost and scared to commit to doing one thing for the rest of your life.

Though there is no way to predict your exact path of life, a secret Japanese concept found a way for humans to hone in on some clues that can help you lead the most fulfilling and practical lifestyle.

As we go through life, we stumble upon new skill sets that build upon our already established strengths and talents.

The practice of ikigai reinforces the idea that we are all meant to follow a career path that we truly love, but also a utilize this career to help to others and sustain a comfortable living for ourselves.

To break it down, ikigai means your “reason for living.” This concept branches off into four parts: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you could be paid for.

By first diving into what you are good at, you can focus on your main skill sets, talents, and your innate gifts. Spending time to realize the strengths that you already possess might help you gain insight into what you can contribute to a specific area in life.

Once you determine the arsenal of skills that you have stored, start soul searching to figure out the things that you love. Dig deep to find your passions and and curiosities.

This practice might help you ignite a spark within you that has been waiting to be set ablaze. Whether we stimulate that fire or put it out, as humans we need to indulge in the things we love to do in order to live a healthy and happy life.

Once you have figured out the things in life that make your heart race, focus on the what the world needs. While we all have different ideas of what the world is lacking, brainstorming the world’s weaknesses leads us one step closer to taking the initiative to help society.

Though financial success should not be the only goal in life, finding unique things that can be paid for might allow you to gain more money to ultimately fulfill your main passions in life.

Conjure up some practical, and even fun ways to make money.

Once you feel that your brainstorming session is complete, you will have a sense of your ikigai, or the sweet spot that all of these four circles will overlap.

Sounds simple, right?

Finding your ikigai can be as simple as following these four steps, but you can also implement key lifestyle tips to help you feel comfortable in that sweet spot.

Living in the moment and being aware of the present may help you feel grounded. By stretching too far into the future, it is easy to feel wrapped up in a state of daydreaming, rather than reality.

Acknowledge the people in your life that support and appreciate you. Though your ikigai should only reflect your personal desires, we are influenced by love ones since birth.

Thanking the people who truly want to see you flourish will remind you of your main reasons for living and help you continue being the person that you are.

Try to neglect the things that make you feel overly anxious. Adapt a slower-pace lifestyle and try to exercise your body, mind, and spirit.

Ask yourself what makes you feel most alive. Don’t build monotonous routines that suck the spark out of you.

The only way that you can truly find your meaning and fulfillment is by asking questions and letting your curiosity run wild. Try contemplating life’s mysteries every so often, and you might find yourself comprehending more and more each day.

Remember, there is not one thing that you are supposed to do for the rest of your life. There are endless opportunities and paths that you are suited to discover.

If you feel like the one thing you thought you loved most is no longer making you feel alive, it is always an option to change your reason for living and continue soul searching.

Like many have said, life is not one straight path‒there are loops and turns that we all must go and grow through.

Tapping into your internal compass, or your ikigai, will remind you that finding your purpose and pursuing it with every ounce of your being is the most important part of your reason for living.

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