IKIGAI- Japanese way to find your Raison d’être with 10 rules

The clock striked twenty one and a man knocked my door to serve milk. With extreme professionalism he entered my room and kept glass on my table without making any noise and was about to leave.

I stopped and asked him, “Bhaiya(Brother in english), where are you from?”.

He responded, “From the village, Sir”.

Further I asked, “From how much time are you here?”.

Calmly he responded, “3 years Sir”.

I enquired, “How much do you earn?”.

This time he responded with a big smile on his face, “Enough to take care of my family Sir” and left the room.

I started noticing him on a daily basis- everyday he would softly knock at my door and with utmost professionalism put milk on the table and leave my room with a smile. One day I stopped him and asked, “How come you are so happy every time?”. He responded, “I love my work, Sir. I never get tired cause of it and I relish the responsibility to take care of my family and customers. It gives me a purpose to live”.

It got me into a state of retrospection, and I asked myself – “When did I feel the same for the last time?”. I called up few of my friends to just to check. I asked them, “How is work? How is life?”. Most of the answers were, “Going on. Problems. Family Issues. Relationship Issues.”. Not even single person responded that they were satisfied, happy or passionate.

I started talking to people about it to get into core of it. Recently, one of my expert advisor suggested me to read Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life– Japanese way to find your Raison d’être. Japan is known for its longevity. Average life expectancy in Japan is almost 75 which is highest in the world. It is said its due to their passion towards work and cause they keep themselves busy in what they love and are passionate about their life expectancy is best in the world.

Oops, for readers who didn’t already google, Raison d’être is a french word meaning “the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence“. IKIGAI as science talks about your Raison d’être (purpose in life) and how could it help to keep you busy and increase your longevity.

First lets try to understand meaning of IKIGAI with help of a diagram, later we will jump to 10 rules which will help us practice IKIGAI.

Lets pick up pen and paper and start answering following-

  1. What is your passion (What you love)?
  2. What is your mission (What the world needs) ?
  3. What is your vocation (What you are good at)?
  4. What is your profession (What you can get paid for)?

Take your time and jot down whatever comes to your mind before we proceed. I always thought writing was useless being from technical background but trust me once I started doing it it granted me lot of superpowers to express myself. So, if you are checking this blog just casually and are short on time come back later and finish this exercise.

Now lets analyse, where do you fit in above diagram? Ok, lets make it simple. If your profession and passion are same, you may feel satisfied but there could be feeling of uselessness.

Similarly, if you are a kind of person who is on a mission which is also your vocation, say you are are a gymnast are you are willing to participate in Olympics. Your life will be full of excitement & complacency but there will be sense of uncertainty.

“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing,” says Hector Garcia, the co-author of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. Understanding of where you fit or are willing to fit is very important to practice 10 steps of IKGAI. As you can see in diagram, IKIGAI is blend of everything, you can’t cook good meal unless you have all the ingredients. Just having best quality burger buns are not suffice to make awesome burger.

I hope you got crux of IKIGAI and now understand why its important and how can it help to increase your life expectancy and keep you content while following your passion.

10 Rules of IKIGAI

Even though am not a philosopher to review but this image describes 10 rules of IKIGAI perfectly. It means if you do things of value in calm and composed manner surrounded by friends while keeping yourself physically and mentally fit with feelings of gratitude and no regrets of past, is when you will be able to follow your IKIGAI.


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