Ikigai & Finding Inner Peace

As a young person I often feel like time is slipping away from me and it seems like this is the general consensus across the board. We worry we’ve left it too late to start a new career path, left it too late to get married and have children. The ever encroaching deadline that is our thirties looming over us as if life ends there.

As someone with older friends (I won’t name any names because I would probably end up with a slapped wrist) I realise that it is never too late or too soon to do anything as it is simply our social constructs that dictate our paths in life.

I don’t have the inclination to follow a path set out for me by the rules of society, I am quite content with making this up as I go along, following my heart and my head combined for a complete happiness package.

There’s a Japanese word for this wholesomeness: Ikigai, a word which has no direct English translation that simply means “a reason for being” which I think is utterly brilliant and thought provoking. It’s thought to be achieved when one has balanced what they are passionate about, what they excel at, what positively impacts the world, as well as something that provides an income.

Thomas Oppong puts eloquently that “Millions of people still struggle to find what they are meant to do. What excites them. What makes them lose the sense of time. What brings out the best in them.” Which is completely true, especially when we hear about someone who has succeeded in life, it brings out our inner demons that want to be snide and snap, as if a reaction like this was some how going to cause a positive response.

When I think about Ikigai, I look to it as a final goal, something to achieve, as opposed to something I have in the present moment. Instead of allowing social paths to lead us down a supposed route to happiness, we need to find our own happiness, our own Ikigai.

Ways to achieve Ikigai:

1. Ask yourself what you’re passionate about and what you excel at.

2. Consider how you can plausibly create an income from that which you love doing.

3. Think about what the world needs.

Lastly, never give up the hope that one day you will be content with life.

Until next time.

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