When your alarm clock goes off in the morning, what is the first thing that comes into your mind? It can be anything from work and kids to pets or travel plans. Though what motivates each of us personally to get up and enjoy the day is unique, the concept of “life’s purpose” is universal.
In fact, in Japanese culture this concept is referred to as “Ikigai” (pronounced EE-key-guy). There isn’t a direct English translation for the concept of Ikigai, but it roughly translates to a quest for life’s meaning, or life’s purpose.
Though the pressure to find your life’s purpose sounds daunting at best and impossible at worst, the answer actually lies at the intersection of four simple questions:
- What do you love to do?
- What are you good at doing?
- What does the world need?
- What can you be paid for doing?
For example, if you love to garden, are good at cooking, know the world needs to solve the hunger crisis and can be paid for non-profit work, you can develop your life’s purpose around humanitarian work to help feed the hungry. It might not be quite so easy for you to pinpoint your own wants or needs, but answering these four questions is a good place to begin.
Through Ikigai, we’re able to see our lives as a bigger picture with plenty to fulfill us. Though we may feel bad today, having a clear sense of our purpose makes it possible to see the greater meaning of our efforts and the ability to have a brighter future.
Everyday Ikigai involves cultivating strong relationships, eating well and showing gratitude. The thought here is that by living intentionally and purposefully creating meaningful relationships, workouts and routines, we open our bodies and minds up to an overall more healthy lifestyle.
The truth is, it’s too easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of life and forget to give ourselves time to breathe and celebrate ourselves. Ikigai is an opportunity to devote part of your day to the development of yourself and therefore lead a more productive and healthy lifestyle overall.
Don’t be intimidated by the concept of finding your life’s purpose. It might seem difficult to identify your Ikigai, but once you begin to examine your wants and needs in a serious way, it may just come easier than you think.
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Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
Salman Zafar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com