The Power of Purpose
What is your purpose in life? Yeah, this is a big question, but whether or not you have an answer can depend on some big consequences to your health, happiness, and success. Purpose can add years to your life, make you less vulnerable to disease, surer of who you are, and offer guidance and motivation to both your long and short-term goals. You do regularly set goals for yourself, don’t you? No matter if you don’t, because guess what? Having purpose will make goals a lot easier to come by too.
You probably already realize the benefits to having a purpose, which is likely why you have already spent countless hours attempting to discover your own. You may have searched for what would make friends and family the proudest (or most envious), what might elicit the most money, success, attention, or end with your wildest vision of grandeur. As it turns out, finding your purpose is not about how big you think, but how well you understand the humble Japanese philosophy, Ikigai.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is a combination of two Japanese words: “Iki” referring to life, and “Gai” referring to one’s reason or worth. Combined, these words can be described as the interaction between the day to day things that affirm your talent, bring joy, provide a service, and open the opportunity to reward, and possibly even make a living at. If you can connect these dots to actions you do on a daily basis, paying particular attention to the ones that cross through the majority of these requirements, then you will discover purpose in life.
The Steps of Ikigai
- What Do You Love? The first step to finding your purpose is to make a list of everything that brings you joy. And these do not need to be complex, life-changing actions, but simple things, including time with friends, cooking, playing music, drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. Whatever makes you happy should all go into this list.
- What Are Your Gifts? We all have activities we enjoy, and those we truly excel at. You may enjoy playing the drums, but most people don’t enjoy listening to you. Maybe you are gifted with the ability to design and build the best bee houses in your county, make people laugh, or come up with clever ways to recycle old electronics. What are the talents you do well and consequently bring out the best in you?
- Which Talents Provide a Service? Look around you. Does the world need things like bee houses or laughter? Yeah, it likely does, so these gifts provide you with the extra incentive of providing a service that reaches beyond just your own personal happiness. And when that love, talent, and energy combine to meet someone’s needs it renews your passion for that gift and provides some reward (monetary or otherwise.)
- Which Talents Create the Opportunity to be Rewarded? (Make a Living)- Don’t let this one stall you, because many people can live a very purposeful life receiving rewards that are not monetary in nature. Ikigai can be accomplished just as easily on your days off work as it can as a career. However, if you can provide yourself with a living while checking off all the above, you will be on your way to ikigai heaven.
Ikigai Will Grow Throughout Your Lifetime
It is easy to lose purpose when unforeseen events change your circumstances in life. Such moments include changes in interest, health crises, aging, and retiring. But Ikigai has no end or finish line, only the opportunity to discover new bliss at each stage of your life. You must seek a new beginning at every crossroad you come across, and while it may take some time to discover your initial one, keep in mind that it is not something you have to work hard to achieve. If it is, you’re doing it wrong. It is a common belief that we have to wait to receive life’s greatest gifts, but that is simply not true.
The reality is, you only need to discover, accept, and embrace the loves and gifts you have right in front of you at this moment, and if you go through the steps above, you will find them. And this is only the start. These will grow, invent, and change throughout your life, and you will never know where they will take you. “Never finish living,” is the advice that the 57-year-old Les Stroud (The Survivorman) left me with in an interview, and those three words sum up the power of ikigai rather eloquently.
You will not be able to maintain the same purpose in life, but you will always have purpose if you choose to continually seek it. Ikigai is not a noun, it is a verb. It will require action to both acknowledge and nurture throughout your lifetime – but if you give it your full attention it will provide you with all the direction you will ever need.
You have a life purpose. Wondering what you’re meant to do? You won’t know until you get a life path reading with one of our talented life path psychics. A life path psychic can help you find what you love so you can love what you do.
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