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The Japanese philosophy that I have been living by UNKNOWINGLY

Introduction: In a world where many seek meaning and purpose, the Japanese concept of Ikigai offers a compelling framework for aligning our passions, skills, and contributions towards a better future. This article explores the four components of Ikigai and illustrates how it can guide those searching for their life's calling, pursuing innovative ventures, or simply seeking to create a more meaningful existence.

The Power of Ikigai: A Driving Force for Creativity, Innovation, and Positive Change

Ikigai is not merely a meditation technique or a Zen practice. It is a philosophy that has inspired creatives, innovators, and entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo and work towards a better future for humanity.

Disclaimer: I am not an Ikigai expert. This article presents my personal views and understanding of the concept, which resonates with my earlier observations of human behavior and aspirations.

Humans are wired for dissatisfaction, making it essential to channel this feeling constructively. Ikigai offers a framework for living a purposeful life, comprising four key components:

  1. Do what you love: This is not limited to specific tasks or jobs; instead, it encourages a more abstract, passion-driven approach. For example, an aspiring doctor might focus on saving lives, which expands the scope of their actions. Pursuing what you love brings happiness both in the present and the future. The challenge lies in balancing financial needs with personal fulfillment, as many creatives and artists struggle to monetize their passions.

  2. Do what the world needs: Discerning between the world's needs and wants is crucial, especially when considering society as a whole. To identify what the world truly needs, consider the impact of your actions on others and the environment. Recognize that everyone has a role to play in contributing to the greater good. Humans evolved within tribes, where individual contributions led to collective satisfaction and success.

  3. Do what you are good at: This goes hand-in-hand with pursuing what you love. Dedication, hard work, and constant improvement are vital for developing and refining the skills that you are passionate about. There is always room for growth, so channel dissatisfaction into self-improvement. This doesn't necessarily mean specializing in one area; a combination of skills can be equally effective.

  4. Do what you can be rewarded for: Financial rewards and recognition are essential for sustaining your efforts and maintaining focus on your contributions. It is crucial to find a balance between pursuing your passion and securing financial stability, as the struggle for survival can impede long-term thinking and hinder the pursuit of a higher purpose.

In conclusion, Ikigai encourages us to be part of something larger than ourselves by focusing on social good, personal improvement, and sustaining our efforts through appropriate rewards. By embracing this philosophy, we can find our life's calling, venture into innovative domains, and work towards creating a better world for everyone.


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