The pressure to find happiness can lead to a sense of inadequacy and disappointment.
In fact, the pressure to be happy can make you unhappy.
Instead of forcing yourself, try Ikigai. It can get you out of bed in the morning.
In the culture of Okinawa, Japan, Ikigai (pronounced “eye-ka-guy”) roughly translates to “reason for being.”
In a 7-year study involving about 43,000 adults, it was found that those adults who were able to find their Ikigai were alive 7 years after the study.
This was even after taking other factors, like diseases, into account.
Ikigai is similar to “happiness”.
The difference is that even if you are miserable now but have a goal in mind, you may still feel Ikigai.
Have you ever been so absorbed in doing something that you forget to drink and eat?
What were you doing?
You may find your Ikigai in those moments.
If you can find out what you are good at, what you can be paid for, what the world needs and what you absolutely love doing, then you have your Ikigai.
Let’s break it down:
1. What you love: It’s going to be something that you do because you enjoy doing it. Make a list.
2. Be good at it: If you enjoy it, you’re likely to be good or at least decent at it. Make a list.
3. Can be paid for: For it to be Ikigai, you should be able to make a decent living off of it. Is there a niche for it? Make a list.
4. The world should need it: It should be something people find useful. Make a list.
By now you should have four lists.
Is there anything that exists on all four of them?
That’s a really good contender for Ikigai.
Also, consider the things on the “I love doing it” and “The world needs it lists”.
Are you suddenly going to start loving doing something that you don’t enjoy doing?
It’s easier to get really good at something you enjoy or figure out a way to make a living from.
Ikigai may be an answer to the Millennial frustration
I want my life to have meaning and consequence. On the other hand, I want to enjoy the lifestyle that comes with money.
Whether it’s Ikigai or what Chris Myers calls Enlightened Entrepreneurship, find your passion and then the medium through which to express your passion.
Ikigai isn’t about working harder and longer.
In fact, only 31% of Japanese say they’ve found their Ikigai at work, which means 69% of people find it elsewhere.
Ikigai is about feeling that your work makes a difference in people’s lives.
Unlike the English term “purpose in life”, it need not refer to dauntingly large or spectacular projects.
It doesn’t need to be grand or showy.
You can find your Ikigai in doing one small thing as well as you possibly can.