The Japanese have developed a philosophy to help people find their own ikigai, or “reason for being”. This can be especially helpful for those grappling with uncertainty in the economy and are trying to decide what road to take next.
This philosophy helps people zero in on livelihoods that meet four main criteria: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. All four of these tenets must be fulfilled in order for someone to achieve their ultimate ikigai.
This isn’t to say that everyone is expected to hit the bullseye on this target right away. Rather, achieving ikigai requires much introspection and some experimentation.
On the diagrams in the slideshow below, you’ll see where three separate circles are able to intersect. Touching upon three of the four components of ikigai is already a solid step up on the ladder to finding one's true purpose. Mouse over each image for a more detailed explanation, or read on below.
#1: The intersection of what you are good at, what you love, and what the world needs. These people are very happy with what they are doing, but do not make much money and may be financially unstable.
#2: The intersection of what you love, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. These people generally feel excited about what they do, but may feel like they are personally not contributing as much as they’d like to. This can lead to uncertainty.
#3: The intersection of what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and what you are good at. These people are able to achieve great financial stability and feel like they are contributing to the world, although they also feel a degree of emptiness, since their heart is not in the game.
#4: The intersection of what you can be paid for, what you are good at, and what you love. These people feel a great level of satisfaction in what they do, but may also feel like their efforts are not having a relevant impact in the world around them.
It can take a lot of time, thinking, and experimenting, but it is well worth it to identify and pursue one’s ikigai. As Lao-Tzu believes: Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
While on this path, feel free to consult Pruuf as a resource for all those questions you may have about careers, overcoming obstacles, insider tips, and more. Pruuf is launching its beta app this month, so stay tuned for more information! And if you would like to help others while also advancing your own professional goals, please consider serving as an advisor on Pruuf's platform.