This article is about why it’s so important to find purpose in what you do for long-term development and how you can help find purpose for your family.
‘Ikigai’ – this is a Japanese concept that that combines the terms iki (“alive” or “life”) and gai (“benefit” or “worth”).
When you combine these terms, they mean that which gives your life worth, meaning or purpose.
The French term, “raison d’etre” translates into the meaning of “the most important reason for purpose for someone or something’s existence”.
Stoicism, Buddhism, some of the most ancient of cultures all preach purpose in their own unique way.
Why is It Such A Big Deal?
The point is that purpose is what gives our life meaning. It’s what gives us fulfilment in what we do, how we live our life, gives us the energy to get up every morning, put on one shoe after another and head out the door to a life of risks and challenges.
Without purpose, we are aimless and live in a cycle of stale existentialism that questions our own belief of what we are doing on this big, blue planet.
If you’re someone who feels uninspired and questioning your job, your relationships or your own self…
This article is for you.
You may find that it’s the kick up the ikigai that you need or that you really are on the path that you set forth long ago.
Whatever it is, it’s worth reading on.
If you want to find your purpose for your family, download the ‘Purposeful Parent Playbook’, it will help you find out what you need to do to find health and purpose in your family.
Helping your family find purpose will also help your kids remain focused as you can read about in this article.
“The two most important days of your life are; the day you’re born and the day you find out why” – Mark Twain
How Do You Find Purpose?
To keep this simple, we are just going to refer to one line of thinking as not to confuse the already complex and ancient cultures, Ikigai.
Ikigai is based on four questions that we will explore and then we will go into how it can have a dramatic impact in your life, not just in general happiness and fulfillment but also for general health concerns (this is a health blog, you know…).
What You Love
It is what gives you the most joy in life. It’s the feeling when you think about it or are doing it that it lights up your face and body, makes life feel timeless and fulfilled. It can reading, catching up with your mates and your family, surfing, herding chickens (maybe that’s just me…) etc.
The most important thing is that you become so immersed in it that you would do it for free and it doesn’t matter if the world needs it or not.
You Are Great at It
Ikigai encompasses the skills that you are talented at. You don’t necessarily have to be passionate about them or have found a
use for them in your paid job. Examples are; playing the guitar, being a great listener, playing sports, growing vegetables etc. You are talented at it and believe me for you self-doubters out there, YOU ARE GREAT AT SOMETHING.
The World Needs It
The “world” can be on a small or a large scale. It can be between you and your family, your community in your town or it can be the WHOLE WORLD. It can be very subjective and based on your own opinion. Examples are; a handyman, analytical, nursing, great at giving hugs etc.
You bring value to the population.
You Are Paid for It
All these skills above may be beneficial to you or to the world in many ways… but do you get paid for it?
As is the state of the world and the economy, money is a large part of society and to be able to achieve your ikigai, it’s important to get paid for it. Much of this will be decided by the market but much will also be decided by how you are able to apply your purpose.
The Grey Area
In between all these statements are intersects of purposes. It doesn’t matter that many of them are not going to correlate with all four spheres, but it’s still an important part of your life no doubt. Refer to the image (above) for reference.
In the middle of all these intersecting spheres lies the ikigai. Your ‘life-worth’, according to the ancient Japanese culture.
It’s worth noting that you do not have to have a one dimensional purpose. It’s not about living on one path and on one particular goal.
Variety is the spice of life.
Purpose should be multi-dimensional and unlimited.
You don’t want to tie it to one thing. For example, if your only purpose is your job and the company goes bust and you lose that job. Where do you go from there…? You will be purposeless.
That’s why our purpose can be tied in with our family, our hobbies, herding chickens etc.
It’s not one-dimensional.
If you want personal examples from myself, one of my purposes is to improve generational health and reverse the growing negative statistics of physical and mental health for adults and youth. I do this by working with families and individuals on a daily basis..
I also do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because it’s a really challenging learning process that I really enjoy and I’m passionate about it.
And being the best brother, son, uncle and friend that I can be to those around me to create rewarding relationships.
There are more but they are just a few examples that you can guide yourself off.
If you want to find more examples here, here is a great article also explaining it.
How Do You Want to Be Remembered?
What you can do for yourself is write down your purposes and ask yourself, what legacy do you want to leave behind and how do you want to be remembered at your eulogy?
Try. Fail. Try again. Just never give up on your purpose.
Until next time,
Sone, T., Nakaya, N., Ohmori, K., Shimazu, T., Higashiguchi, M., Kakizaki, M., . . . Tsuji, I. (2008). Sense of life worth living (ikigai) and mortality in Japan: Ohsaki Study. Psychosom Med, 70(6), 709-715. doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e31817e7e64.