IKIGAI – a reason for being

July 2, 2018

A conversation with my client inspired me for writing this article. We spent an hour on a very thought-provoking discussion with the aim of findng out if and in what manner passion is important in our life.

Anna brought to my attention that “the whole Internet” is full of very convincing articles about brining passion into our professional life. It made me upset in a way. So far I noticed that according to “the Internet” we all have to eat avocado for breakfast, avoid gluten and read Orhan Pamuk and Elfride Jelinek (preferably in the original language) before going to bed. Now I learned about a new obligation – to make work a passion.

I will be very honest with you. I am not the biggest fan of these modern-days Instagram/Facebook/blog trendsetters that tell us what is and isn’t good. In the times when most people fight to pay bills it can be a bit annoying when they are told that being good at job, and liking it, is suddenly not enough.

But if we take it from the positive side, why not to try? The idea of making the work our passion is great, and even if somebody has to work as a garbage – collector, at the end, maybe the effort and strive is what really matters?

Then I realized that actually I know one concept that, in my opinion, may be the realistic answer to the need of work-life-passion-balance. It came from Japan, but probably other cultures use similar concepts. I know it under the name IKIGAI – a reason for being.

In short Ikigai is an intersection of what you are good at and what you love to do and can be seen as the convergence of four primary elements:

  • – What you love (your passion)
  • – What the world needs (your mission)
  • – What you are good at (your vocation)
  • – What you can get paid for (your profession)

It is beautifully explained on the picture that shows us how complex and easy the concept is at the same time.


The idea behind Ikigai is that instead of building routines, we should ask questions, never stop being curious and try new experiences. Never stop learning who we are and who we want to be. Listen to our intuition and inner voices that can help us find the way. Try to comprehend a little more each day.

We can start our journey towards Ikigai by preparing a list of our values, things that we are good at and things that we like to do.  The cross section of the three lists is a good starting point for discovering own private reasons for being. And do not forget about money, it is of the same importance as other components of Ikagai.

As a reword of this long, and not always easy process of searching, we have a chance to become fully alive. Alive for ourselves and for the world to make positive difference.

So make a work passion – yes, but do not forget to live.

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