Sometimes we can look at somebody and just know that they have their life purpose figured out.
That’s how I felt when I met our fellow Mosslet, Shannon. Currently a designer at Mossery, she told us how she’s known her purpose in life since kindergarten.
“...I decided to get it tattooed on right arm because I'm certain making art is my Ikigai and I use my right hand to do it” - Shannon
So much so, that after two years of first hearing about the concept, she had the words 生き甲斐 (pronounced as Ikigai or iki-guy) tattooed on her arm, which is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”.
And her reason for being? It is to draw and create.
Now when asked the same question, we’re sure only a handful of people can answer with the same conviction like Shannon can.
However, we looked into the Ikigai concept and realised, it’s completely possible for you to discover your life’s purpose too. But before we dive into that, we first must ask:
What is Ikigai and Why Does It Matter?
It’s a concept that dates back to the 1960’s
A concept originated from Okinawa, Japan, Ikigai helps people discover their life purpose through four simple questions.
In fact, it’s often translated as “a reason to wake up” or a direction of life that makes it worthwhile.
Although it’s tempting to think that Ikigai would answer all your life’s questions, it’s important to note that finding your Ikigai is a continual process of self-discovery.
With that, we hope that the answer you get by the end of this article may surprise you and lead you to make decisions that could possibly change your life for the better.
Read on for a step-by-step tutorial or watch the video below to have a voice guide you on your way.
Ask Yourself These 4 Questions And Dig Deep
Try not to overthink it—just write down whatever that comes into mind.
As mentioned, the concept exist through answering four questions:
• What do you love?
• What are you good at?
• What can you get paid for?
• What does the world need?
At first glance, these questions may seem easy to answer but once you get into it, it may prove to be difficult. So, grab your notebook and take your time. Make a cup of tea, go for a walk, and really think about it.
Ask yourself questions upon these questions and repeat the exercise as many times as you want. This is just the beginning so don’t feel restricted and feel free to change it up as long as it makes sense to you.
The key is to answer these questions as genuinely as possible.
Discover Your Purpose Through Your Answers
Once you’re done with your answers, it’s time to plot it out and make it make sense. Here we’ve created a template that may be useful for you.
First, get your notebook and draw a horizontal line across two pages. This will divide the pages into four sections.
Starting from the top-left section, write down the same questions as headers in every section in a counter-clockwise manner.
Next, you can start filling the sections one by one. Try to take just around 3-5 minutes to complete every section.
What do you love?
What are you good at?
What can you get paid for?
What does the world need?
Once you’re done, find one thing that's common in all four sections. That will be your Ikigai.
Don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time! Not all of us are meant to find our ikigai immediately. Some will take days, others might take months—and that's all perfectly okay. As long you start the template on your notebook, you'll eventually find the answer.
This is to find your life purpose after all, it’s not going to be easy so give yourself time. In short, we hope you found this to be helpful in getting to know yourself better.
This exercise is intended to help you discover parts of yourself that you may not realise and we hope one day, we could all eventually answer the question “What's your life purpose?” with as much confidence as Shannon can.
For those of you who have found their Ikigai, share your answers with us! Even those that have not, we’d love to see your progress anyway. Make sure to tag us @mosseryco and start conversations!
Follow Shannon @whamonster to see her Ikigai in action.