What is Ikigai?

Ikigai ("ee-key-GUY") is a Japanese concept that combines the two words "iki," meaning life, and "gai," meaning worth or value. It is often translated as "a reason for being" or "a reason to wake up in the morning." The concept is used to describe the intersection of four elements: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.

Components of Ikigai
Ikigai Vin diagram

  • What you love (your passion): Activities that bring you joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose.
  • What you are good at (your vocation): Skills and talents that you have developed and excel in.
  • What the world needs (your mission): Making a contribution to something that has a positive impact on the world or others.
  • What you can be paid for (your profession): Activities or skills that are valuable in the economic context, allowing you to make a living.

Ikigai suggests that finding the balance and intersection of these four elements leads to a meaningful and fulfilling life. It's about discovering and pursuing your "sweet spot" where these aspects overlap. 

Reasons for pursuing Ikigai

  • Personal fulfillment: Understanding and pursuing one's Ikigai can lead to a sense of personal fulfillment. It involves aligning personal passions and talents with activities that bring a sense of purpose and meaning to life.
  • Motivation and drive: Knowing one's Ikigai can serve as a powerful motivator. When students are engaged in activities that align with their passions and values, they are more likely to be motivated and driven to succeed.
  • Better decision-making: Identifying one's Ikigai can serve as a guide for decision-making. It becomes a compass that helps students make choices that are in harmony with their values and long-term goals.
  • Increased resilience: Pursuing one's Ikigai can contribute to increased resilience in the face of challenges. When individuals are connected to a deeper sense of purpose, they are more likely to persevere during difficult times.
  • Improved well-being: The pursuit of Ikigai is often associated with improved mental and emotional well-being. Engaging in activities that bring joy and satisfaction can positively impact overall life satisfaction and happiness.
  • Enhanced productivity: When students are passionate about what they are doing, they are more likely to be productive. Finding and pursuing one's Ikigai can lead to a more focused and efficient approach to tasks and projects.
  • Building meaningful relationships: Ikigai often involves connecting with others who share similar values and interests. This can lead to the formation of meaningful relationships and a sense of community, which is crucial for personal and social well-being.
  • Lifelong learning: Discovering one's Ikigai often involves continuous self-discovery and learning. This can lead to a lifelong commitment to personal and professional development, as individuals strive to deepen their understanding of themselves and their passions.
  • Career satisfaction: For students considering their future careers, aligning their choices with their Ikigai can lead to greater job satisfaction. It involves finding a career that not only provides financial stability but also aligns with personal values and interests.
  • Contribution to society: Ikigai often includes a sense of contributing to something greater than oneself. Students who find and pursue their Ikigai may be more inclined to make positive contributions to their communities and society at large.