Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.

Ikigai, consist of 4 questions and their intersection. The questions are “What you love?”, “What the world needs?”, “What you can be paid for?”, “What you are good at?”. The intersection point of “What you love?” and “What you are good at?” will be you passion. The intersection point of “What you love?” and “What the world needs?” will be your mission. The intersection point of “What the world needs?” and “What you can be paid for?” will be your vocation. The intersection of “What you can be paid for?” and “What are you good at?” will be your profession. The lack of an answer of the questions will lead some negative effect in your life.

Please, look at number 1 at the figure above. If the answer of “What the world need” lack, it makes you feel useless. For number 2, lack of the answer of “What you can be paid for”, deligh and fullness but no wealth. In number 3, lacking makes you feel uncertainty. And number 4, the lack of the answer makes you feel emptiness.

The history of IKIGAI

According to Hasegawa, the origin of the word ikigai goes back to the Heian period (794 to 1185). “Gai comes from the word kai (“shell” in Japanese) which were deemed highly valuable, and from there ikigai derived as a word that means value in living.”

There are other words that use kai: yarigai or hatarakigai which mean the value of doing and the value of working. Ikigai can be thought of as a comprehensive concept that incorporates such values in life.


Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles break down the ten rules that can help anyone find their own ikigai.

  1. Stay active and don’t retire
  2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
  3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full
  4. Surround yourself with good friends
  5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
  6. Smile and acknowledge people around you
  7. Reconnect with nature
  8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive.
  9. Live in the moment
  10. Follow your ikigai

For More Information

There are many different resources about IKIGAI, you can find various deffinations and explonations. I don’t reccomend to read books about IKIGAI because there is enough information in webpages and blogs. Also, you can watch videos like “How to Ikigai | Tim Tamashiro | TEDxYYC”.


Time flows and everything changes. Some writers think that IKIGAI should be changed and they named the main IKIGAI informations as IKIGAI 1.0 then create new style named IKIGAI 2.0. If you wonder, you can read also IKIGAI 2.0.

Doğukan Sever





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