- in Direction , Life Purpose , Life Vision by Brian Wright
Ikigai: How to Find your Passion & Purpose in Life
Is it possible to use Ikigai to find your zone of brilliance?
How do we use ikigai to create a life where we’re firing on all cylinders?
Even more important, can we get paid to live passionately in that state of brilliance?
To make matters a bit irritating, the Japanese aren’t exactly putting courses all over the internet to share with us all their wonderful life extending secrets!
Ikigai is a Japanese word used to represent a life of value and fulfillment. Which is something you and I desire most. So ask yourself, are you living a fulfilling life, packed to the brim with value?
You can get the basic formula from a single book or video, but to really grasp this system’s power you need more than that.
“With the rising and setting of the sun, our life is being taken away.”
Ikigai is not something we can brush under the rug any longer.
A life without ikigai is one devoid of passion, purpose, usefulness and fulfillment. Do we really have time to put that off for another day?
Whenever you live a life of purpose, you wake up happy and excited to be alive. What’s your honest assessment; do bounce out of bed each morning? Did you curse sleep the night before for being a requirement in your life?
If not, then a serious restructuring of your life is in order, and to do that, you must understand the four elements of a fulfilling life.
What is Ikigai?
Means: a reason for being, the thing that you live for, your reason for waking up in the morning.
Ikigai is for those who feel they have a unique destiny. You will find your zone of brilliance, learn to fill a space that only the highest quality version of yourself can fill, and satisfy many areas of life that go unnoticed and ignored by most humans.
Ikigai allows us to live the pristine human life. Ikigai covers four sections of human life that are present and influential across all space and time (practically speaking).
Following a life based on ikigai helps you optimize the areas of life that will turn your existence sour if they’re neglected.
Ikigai is method for living life such that you have to focus on as little as possible to get everything you need. You satisfy your inner student, inner child, your need for maintanence and your sense of belonging in one congruent motion of being.
Passion is the uncontrollable excitement you feel when you are buzzing through an activity. The things that we are passionate about are things we do when nobody is watching, when we have “me time”. They’re the things we can’t shut up about.
It is a combination of What you love and what you are good at.
Your mission in life is that change you wish to see in the world. It is the tangible service attitude that all humans have to some degree. It’s a dream that is selflessly motivated.
Don’t even get all regular on me and say you don’t have one because we all do. There is something ridiculous in your heart you would like to see change the world. If you don’t know, you’ve buried it.
It is a combination of what you love and what the world needs.
Fill in this phrase:
I would like to see/help the world enjoy/behave like/understand/feel/discover __________!”
That’s your mission. You’re welcome.
Your vocation is a category above your profession. It’s your sphere of influence in the broadest sense, right before you narrow down into your niche. When you’re on stage giving lectures about your brilliant discoveries, you will be sitting next to people who share the same vocation but have different professions.
In other words, you’re both squares but one of you is a square and one of you is a rectangle!
Vocation comes from the Latin word “vocare”, which means “to call”. This is how the world calls upon you for your skills in a broad sense.
It is a combination of what the world/market needs and what you can be paid for.
This is what you do better than everyone else. Your profession will be your specific sphere. Whenever they say “_____” everyone will think your name.
Your profession is where you put your ten thousand hours and truly excel!
This is how you will be called upon in a specific sense.
It is a combination of what you are good at and what you can be paid for.
Quote credit to unknown source (book)
Why these four?
These four items are crucial when brewing your perfect life soup because:
- If you are not passionate about what you do, you give only the necessary effort, and nothing extraordinary ever comes from that
- If you are not connected to some higher purpose and being useful to the world, you will be cut off from others, make less money, and the fulfillment that comes from aiding others will not enter your life
- You need to be doing something the world needs, that you’re good at (deep domain knowledge is where excellence comes from) and that you can be paid for (worrying about your maintenance ruins the recipe)
You wake up each morning full of energy and excitement. You only went to bed last night because you had to, and today you will spend your life doing something that you love, that everyone loves you for because they need it and you provide it, and that you swim through with glee because you’re good at it and you’re getting paid to do it!
Wouldn’t that be swell?
It’s quite possible too. Let’s imagine for a moment that you are tremendously knowledgeable about something. You could put an ebook online about that topic and sell it for 29.99. To make a living of 75k per year, you only need less than SEVEN people per day to purchase it.
Out of 7.5 billion earth citizens, there are seven per day who need your help, promise. You just need to get it to them.
How to Use Ikigai
Preparation: What you do before Ikigai
Preparing yourself for ikigai means you shape your mind and vision of the world (& life itself) so that it’s conducive for adopting ikigai.
You don’t wanna be “pearls before swine” such that you reject the amazing results ikigai’s influence could provide you.
- Do you really feel you have something unique to offer?
- Do you think it’s OK to get paid for providing a service?
- Do you know what life is like when you’re always “going with the flow?”
- Do you care to live your life on a mission / stand for something?
Ikigai is about firing on all cylinders. The only way I know to describe the feeling is being high all the time. You have so much energy, no brain pain surrounding your daily activities. You’re in the mood to just squeeze and crush everything about life.
I’m fluent in french, and there’s a french phrase that comes to mind when I think about living life the ikigai way: “It feels really fucking good!” – french people
Ikigai is about being efficient. You’ve lived an entire life up until now, and there’s no use in throwing it away. Ikigai is about utilizing everything you’ve acquired up until now in your favor. The skills, ideas, mindsets, inventions, goals and accomplishments that are already a part of your life can be mastered for your own happiness, and utilized for the benefit of others.
The Ikigai brainwash is way strong. You need to drink the ikigai kool aid before you start. If you don’t how will it help you?Ikigai is about living life firing on all cylinders. Ikigai is how to make what brings in money, what lights your fire, what makes you expert and how you give back to your fellow humans the same activity. I just learned how and you can too!Click To Tweet
Ask yourself the right questions. Ikigai requires that you know yourself, and certain better than your default settings. Smart people know that very few of us know ourselves on a DEEP level, and the easiest way to bridge the gap is to ask the right questions.
- What do I love doing?
- How could that be shared with others?
- Why do I like doing it?
- How would others use it?
- How much money do I need to have money stress?
- What kind of prestigious accomplishments do I want? If any…
- On what scale do I wish to help the world? (individual, global, community, service, hands off)?
- What am I good at? What do others say I’m good at?
- What do I really think is possible for me to achieve in this life? Is that belief accurate?
- How serious am I about keeping this up if it gets hard down the line?
Constantly reevaluate your situation. Remember, this ikigai stuff is not so you can align with what everyone says is good for you, or so you can appease some elderly Japanese people.
Ikigai is for you. So when or if ever you feel it’s not working don’t be afraid to start back at square one. If you ever feel deeply that something needs to be changed, then do it.
Don’t be afraid to break the rules a little. Ikigai is a formula. Formulas are general steps that work most of the time. They don’t always work, because there are millions of time’s, places & circumstances in the universe. One of them is bound to need a different formula (or a tweaked formula).
Your life might not fit rigidly into the ikigai formula and that’s ok. Tweak things however you feel they need.
You spend your day working on things that not only fascinate and challenge you, but are important for society or large groups of people. You get paid to do this (or it takes away significant amounts of your financial stress) & you’re getting better and better.
The sense progress alone is enough to propel you forward perpetually.
You don’t live longer for having ikigai in your life. You live longer because ikigai removes things from your life that causes us to die early.
- Rat race money chasing crap
- Dull, gray, boring daily activities
- & all the shitty emotional baggage / worldview that comes with it
Ever just feel like screaming your so buzzy? It’s kinda like that.
How To Start Ikigai From Scratch
And that goes for anyone and anything. You have strengths that can turn into the expertise that someone in the world needs and is willing to pay you for.
Find out what your passion is. For some of you, the spark might be buried, so dig deep until you find what lights your fire:
- If you could design your day, and do whatever you want, there would be three areas
- What you do in the morning to prepare for the day
- What you do in the evening and unwind for the day
- What you do in the middle to create and produce wonderful stuff
- That’s probably your passion
- Your passion could be people, it could be travel, it could be objects OR Ideas
Figure this part out and then find a way to deliver it to the world. If your passion is travel: record your travels, seek out ways to stay at hotels for free, travel on the cheap and put your passion into each video and post it on the internet. (super popular these days)
A passion of mine is baking bread. Soon, I plan to take my personality and put it behind amazing breads I bake and then send it out to the world (youtube, cookbooks etc…)
Then figure out your broader sphere of influence. This will be who you buy courses from to learn more about it, read about it, watching videos and find communities to join about it.
When you are ready to start your own thing, narrow yourself down to who you want to help and make that your profession.
Your mission will be the fire behind your actions that keeps you going and connects you to something larger than yourself.
“If you’re good at something, never do it for free” – Heath Ledger as The Joker (don’t take it too far though)
If you put your sincerest effort, combine the formulas for success, and start to offer the world something extraordinary, you will be rewarded for it. There’s no reason to feel awkward about that either.
There are plenty of scammers out there, and if you offer something of actual value, you deserve to be compensated for it.
How to Repurpose / Mix and Match for Ikigai
If you are not interested in starting over completely, try to fit this into your lifestyle somehow.
Go from passion to mission by offering what you already passionate about to those who want to see/hear/view/consume it.
Go from mission to passion by understanding a change you desire to see and developing a passion within that sphere. Desire to help, and allow your mission to make you passionate about what you do.
The idea of repurposing your life takes into consideration the ripple effect your actions have on your environment.
You will easily know 1000 people in your life, which means that you are only two people away from affecting 1 billion people. You have a lasting impression on your one thousand, and those thousand as well for their thousand and so on.
Transform yourself into someone who leaves a serious impression on each interaction. Strike a nice balance based on each individual you meet, some will require more force, others need subtle prodding. Whatever you do, do not waste a single moment in letting people know what you have to offer and how they can benefit from it. You will see changes in your life that will amaze you. Honestly, it can be a little freaky the way things work out.
But none of these amazing things will ever happen if you do not embrace your unique destiny. Embrace the essence of ikigai and find your life’s purpose!
Ikigai: Understanding the Fundamentals
1. Passion: A combination of what you love and what you’re good at. Your passions are the things you do when nobody is watching. You gravitate toward these activities when you need relaxation time, during your fun time, and during your spare time.
Passions are the things you love, so you do them regardless of challenge or difficulty. You don’t need reward for them, because participating in your passion is the reward.
Because you love them so much, you focus on them, and that focus over time creates mastery.
2. Vocation: your vocation is your job. This is the practical side of ikigai that must be satisfied so you’re not living in dreamland all the time.
A vocation (as far as ikigai is concerned) is the service you offer to society in exchange for maintenance. For most of us, that means money.
3. Profession: when you combine what you’re good at and what you can be paid for, you get your profession. Ikigai defines profession as what you are literally professional at (or will be someday) and could be paid top dollar for.
Think Hattori Hanzo swords. The character was such a good swordsmith that his blade’s became legend. (I’m a huge knife guy. I love everything about them.) There are knifemakers so good at their craft that people will pay insane amounts of money just to get one.
- Your profession might be that you’re an expert bladesmith.
- Your vocation might be that you work at the post office during the day.
4. Mission: Imagine a person who’s going on a stroll. Now imagine a person whos marching to the beat of their own drum and is on a mission to accomplish something great.
Life doesn’t need to be intense every moment, but having a mission that drives each day is better than living willy nilly.
The Whole Picture: a life in “full ikigai” (so-to-speak) is one where we’ve decided on our mission in life (the impact we have on this earth) >
- We made sure that mission was also something we were deeply passionate about
- We made sure that mission was something that world (society needed it practically)
- We found a way that society would pay us for doing it
- We love it so much that we dive as deep as it will go, and become expert. Now we’re not only being paid to do what is needed by many, that we love…but we’re also seen as the go to person for it.
The Ikigai Success Formula
Step 1: Make a list of what you love (list 1)
Remember what I said about effort? The more effort you put into this the better end results you will get.
I recommend carrying the list out to at least 10 options for each of these steps.
Step 2: Make a list of what you’re good at (list 2)
Step 3: Write down a few mission statements (list 3)
If you want help writing mission statements, you can click here to read my article on writing your own personal mission statement.
Step 4: Come up with ideas about how you’d like to make money (list 4)
Step 5: Defining your Mission in Life – list one and three
Now comes the bread and butter of ikigai: taking these random lists you’ve created and combining them to create a major life area.
What you love and what the world needs creates your life’s mission.
Step 6: Figuring out your Passion – list one and 2
What you love and what you’re good at creates your passion.
Step 7: What’s your job? How do you get paid? (3 and 4)
A service that the world needs that will also bring in income is called your vocation.
Step 8: What are you a master at? What is your profession? (2 and 4)
What you’re good at combined with what you can be paid to do is considered your profession.
This is more of a mastery thing than a regular paying job. This combination figures out your craft.
Ideally, you will combine your craft and your vocation as much as possible.
Step 9: Combine everything
Now we combine those into even more exclusive groups.
First we made lists of things that need to be satisfied for life to be fun and practical.
Then we combined those things to create more abstract ideas like mission, purpose, vocation and profession.
Now we will take these ideas and put them all together.
Start with any of the 4 main areas first!
What is my passion?
What do I do for a living now that makes me money and is a safe bet?
What does the world need that I would like to offer? What gap can I fill in society?
What am I good at now that I enjoy doing and could be paid for?
Then you can make it more complicated
- What am I passionate about
- That the world also has a great need for more of
- That I’m really good at
- And can be paid substantial (relative to you) amounts for?
- What does the world need
- That I could help with
- Be paid for and
- Actually enjoy doing?
- What do i like about my job now?
- That i could do on a larger scale
- To satisfied a serious world need
- And receive monetary compensation for?
- What am i really good at right now
- That i could literally do every single day and not be tired of it
- That the world needs on a larger scale OR is already paying people for
- That it could possibly pay me for as well?
The entire ikigai process should take you a while. If you do it properly and are thorough all the possible combinations could take you a few hours to compile.
It is necessary. You want all of these different combinations to spark new ideas about how your life could manifest and to see different options. The more effort you put into this phase, the better your results will be.
Give yourself permission to do this exercise over the course of a few days.
If you want to skip creating your own roadmap, Download the one I’ve created for you here for free.
What to do if you still feel confused after doing ikigai!
1. Add Eulerian Destiny Method to the Mix!
Similar to ikigai, Eulerian destiny is an approach to finding your own personal niche. It’s a bit more practical and is good method for finding your “path of least resistance” in life.
Make 4 lists:
- What have you been doing for the last 10 years [What do you already have experience in?]
- What can you talk about endlessly with little effort [“Don’t even get me started about…]
- What did you grow up around (everything in your childhood)
- What do strangers say about you all the time? “You’re so [this…]”
2. Ask others who’ve already done it
Find people who’ve already transformed their lives with ikigai and ask them for help.
3. Simplify things with lists
Brainstorm a full piece of paper worth of ideas about what you would like to do with your life.
Then list a few ways you think you could be paid for that.
- I love horses = professional horse trainer
- I love writing about anything = paid online content creator
- I like kids and finances = helping parents save for college funds
- I like gardening and weird plants = blogging about backyard herbs
Those examples might look simple or hokey, but they’re not. There’s a guy who has a TV show called the dog whisperer…think about it people.
Content is king nowadays and companies will pay you to write for them because they don’t wanna do it.
Think it’s stupid to go for the blogging about backyard herbs idea? Well there’s already a guy who does it and he makes 100k a year from his blog.
Design your life how you see fit, and take some time to see how the pieces will fit together before you just decide it wont work.