The Secret To A Long, Happy, And Fulfilling Life: Ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that essentially means “the reason why you get up in the morning.”

Did you know the Japanese island of Okinawa, where ikigai has its origins, is home to the largest population of centenarians?

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai (pronounced “eye-ka-guy”) is a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual and the practical. Most of us deal with the struggle of finding a profession that satisfies both self-fulfillment and financial needs. Ikigai solves this problem by merging the following four elements:

  1. What you love (your passion)

  2. What the world needs (your mission)

  3. What you are good at (your vocation)

  4. What you can get paid for (your profession)

Ask yourself these four questions to help you find your Ikigai. Start now, don’t wait for the right time. Find your Ikigai and pursue it relentlessly. Life is way too short to live it meaningless and unfulfilled.

Stay Curious

Don’t forget to trust your intuition and curiosity as internal compasses that will help you achieve Ikigai. What makes you curious? What makes you excited? What makes you come alive? When we start to follow a linear career path founded on society’s expectations, we enter into monotonous routines. This leads to dissatisfaction and boredom. Our sense of wonder disappears and we stop being curious. How will we ever truly discover our life’s purpose if we stop being curious? Don’t be afraid to follow your curiosity. Do it and it will unlock your Ikigai.


As mentioned, Japan has some of the longest-living citizens in the world. According to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, women average at 87 years, while men average at 81 years. In Okinawa, the older half of society is celebrated, and they feel obliged to pass down their knowledge to the youth. In addition to their own Ikigai, they have a purpose in life outside of themselves, to give back to their community.


Fulfillment is becoming the main priority for most of us. Millions of us still struggle to find what we are meant to do. It’s time to take action. Take a few minutes to write whatever keywords, phrases, and ideas come up for you in each circle, then look for areas of natural overlap. Reflect on the sum total of these elements and how they may relate to each other. Bring yourself quietly to the center of the circles and leave space in your mind for whatever impulse or calling may emerge naturally in the coming days…

What is one simple thing you could do or be today that would be an expression of your ikigai?


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The Japanese Formula For Happiness - Ikigai

How to Ikigai | Tim Tamashiro | TEDxYYC

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Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

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