“She who has a why to live can bear almost any how”

For centuries philosophers and humans alike have been debating the meaning of life. At Girls of Impact, our plight for the existential pursuit of purpose has led us to the age-old Japanese philosophy of Ikigai, which offers philosophical frameworks that contribute to one’s individual flourishing.

Theoretically, Ikigai is defined as the intersection of: what you love, what the world needs, what you can be paid for and what you are good at (refer to the diagram below). The activity/job/hobby/career that sits at the center of where these four factors intersect is one’s ikigai that enables a sense of meaning to the direction and actions one may take in life.

Whilst ikigai is a great philosophy that provides actionable steps towards ‘finding your why’, it is important to note that it is not a recipe for happiness. Instead, it acts as a reminder to find moments of happiness and joy in the small, day-to-day activities that make up our wonderfully messy lives. 

How to incorporate Ikigai in your life:

Tip 1: Understand the 5 key pillars

When exploring the philosophy of ikigai and how to incorporate it into your life, Ken Mogi, a neuroscientist and author of Awakening Your Ikigai, suggests us to first focus on what he coins as the five pillars

1. Starting small

2. Accepting yourself

3. Connecting with the world around you

4. Seeking out small joys

5. Being in the here and now

Once you have set your intentions by mentally sitting with the five points above, you’ll be ready to start incorporating ikigai into your way of life!

Tip 2: Time to reflect 

Reflect on the 10 things that you have spent most of your time on this week. Then categorize these activities based on the four components of Ikigai:

  • Is it something that I love doing?
  • Is it something the world needs?
  • Is it something I’m good at?
  • Is it something I can get paid for? If it’s not something you can get paid for, is what you can get paid for a good trade-off for really financially supporting your ikigai?

Tip 3: The worlds your oyster

Worked out what pathway or activity that is your ikigai? Go on, seize life by the horns and follow your why!