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Ikigai - A Reason for Being

According to Japanese culture, we all have an ikigai, a ‘reason for being’ or a 'path to life fulfilment'. The ultimate goal of Ikigai is not happiness - it’s about a life practice towards fulfilment. The aim is to define what you can best contribute to the world, the things you’re good at and that give you pleasure while doing.

There are four questions which can help us find our path. If you write them down somewhere where you come across them regularly, you can use them as a compass bringing you closer to your purpose. Whenever something new surfaces, just take the moment to jot it down.

1. What is my element?

Do you see yourself more as an extrovert or an introvert? Do you find yourself enjoying activities in groups or on your own? Sometimes it’s a mix, but be sure to write down the type of company you enjoy in various situations.

2. With what activities do I experience flow?

When does your time fly? What it something you could spend hours actively doing? This is an activity in which you will feel fully engaged, and won’t be thinking about anything else while doing.

The seven conditions for achieving flow:

Knowing what to do

Knowing how to do it

Knowing how well you are doing

Having a sense of clear direction

Perceiving significant challenges

Perceiving significant skills

Being free from distractions

3. What do you find easy to do?

Is there anything which you personally find easy that others seem to struggle with? Some people find organizing documents in a clear manner easy, while others are great at understanding different viewpoints.

4. What did you like doing when you were a kid?

This question helps establish the basis of your ikigai. Are your strengths intrapersonal, interpersonal, logical, physical (kinesthetic), linguistic, aural, or maybe visual (spatial)?

So, go ahead! Find your Ikigai.


Shivangi Gupta

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