Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means a reason for being.

Ikigai signifies a purpose in life, something that makes life worthwhile. Ikigai makes you get out of your bed earlier than you need to.

Purpose is one of the four soul values. All souls need purpose. How do we find purpose in life? By pursuing a career, by having a family, by buying a home, and by cultivating friends and hobbies.

As it happens, social pressure tempts us into necessity careers. Necessity careers earn a living but serve no purpose. They are just means to ends. Did you know that more than seventy-three percent of all college grads end up in a job that is not related to their major, the thing they wanted to spend their lives doing?

Hence, we compartmentalize. Career goes into the necessity compartment. Family and home and friends and hobbies go into the Ikigai compartment. But this must not be so. There is a thing like an Ikigai career.

Originally, Ikigai conceptualized the sacrifice of personal desires for the greater good of society – the great vice of the Japanese people. But that lead to a collective purpose crisis. For that reason, Ikigai shifted towards self-realization and following one’s dream. Living the dream is the same thing as pursuing one’s heart’s desire. The heart’s desire is the one thing we want to be and do in this life. I want to be an inspiring writer. What do you want to be?

If you turn your heart’s desire into a career, you get an Ikigai career.

Find a work you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Mark Twain

The pursuit of a necessity career and family and your own home takes you all the way into your forties. That’s the time your necessity career will get boring and you will realize that it has no purpose. High chances, your marriage got boring too by then, and your kids are about to get lives on their own. Life begins with forty but it also throws people into a purpose crisis. And sometimes into depression. 

In South Korea, suicide is the second most common cause of death of men and women in their forties, cancer being the first. Of those, sixty percent suffer from depression. What do you think causes depression in the forties? High chance the void within plays a role, the lack of Ikigai.

Ikigai fills the inner void. Ikigai creates a lasting mood of well-being and fulfillment. It cures depression. It thwarts off suicide. It extends life expectancy.

People who turn to Ikigai, usually find a hobby and cultivate their circle of friends, the latter conceptualized in Japan as Moai. But a hobby and friends don’t take Ikigai all the way. The ultimate Ikigai is pursuing one’s heart’s desire.

The discovery of the heart’s desire is an integral part of the Native American culture. When Native American children reach adolescence, they go into the wilderness, have a vision, and discover their purpose in life. That’s how they get their adult name, which, incidentally, makes their heart’s desire public.

I believe we should teach our children the pursuit of their heart’s desires from age six. Are you a parent? Have you helped your child to discover its heart’s desire? It’s not policeman or firefighter. It’s a unique calling your child’s soul brought with it into this life. And it comes with a talent that will help your child to express it. Have you given your child opportunities to pursue its heart’s desire and hone its talent?

And what about yourself?


Holistic self-realization is a free video course on the realization of one’s heart’s desire.

Your heart’s desire is the most important thing in your life. Not the most important person, but the most important thing. Or experience. That’s what Steve Jobs meant when he said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

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Image attribution: Free-photo @ Pixabay.

#Heart's desire#Ikigai#Longevity#Moai#Purpose#Self-realization#Well-being

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