Ikigai is on the path to becoming a buzzword for people seeking a deeper understanding of what motivates them. But when truly understood, Ikigai can be a very useful tool when considering career changes.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is a Japanese term that stems from the verb Ikiru = to live and the suffix gai = fruitful, worth doing.
The Ikigai symbol
In katakana: いきがい
In kanji : 生き甲斐
- Ikigai’s pronounciation in English phonetics: Ick-ee-guy
- Ikigai’s pronounciation in French phonetics: i-ki-ga-i
- Ikigai’s pronounciation in international phonetic alphabet: i kiˈgaɪ
What is Ikigai’s meaning
Ikigai is a motivating force that gives you a sense of purpose.
It can also describe your mental state when you live a meaningful life
It is found at the intersection of what you are passionate about, what you are good at, what you want to contribute to society and how you see the world.
An ikigai chart is made of intersecting shapes, each representing an aspect of your life: passion, skills, contribution and world view. Each intersection provides some meaning and satisfaction but might not be completely fulfilling. The middle of the chart is where you will find your ikigai.
In order to get you started on your ikigai journey, here are a few examples of ikigai elements for various career profiles.
- Passion: Being outside, building new things
- Skills: Operating complex machinery
- Contribution: Offering better living conditions for families
- World view: Comfortable housing is necessary for families to flourish
Child book illustrator
- Passion: Developing and using my artistic skills
- Skills: Drawing colorful pictures
- Contribution: Helping children have fun while learning
- World view: Happy kids will create a better world
Host of a cooking program
- Passion: cooking for family and friends
- Skills: Inventing tasty recipes with healthy ingredients
- Contribution: Helping people enjoy healthy habits
- World view: Healthier eating with lead to happier and longer lives
Whether you consider a career change at 30, 40 or 50 starting building your ikigai can be a very helpful step in identifying possible career orientations. It can also uncover job options that are off the beaten path, but will provide you a fulfilling professional future.
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do."
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
Ralph Waldo Emerson or Henri Thoreau
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”
With half of the American population identifying food as one of their passions, we designed a test that could help foodies, entrepreneurs and those passionate about hospitality find their ikigai.