Discover Your Purpose with Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

4/25/20242 min read

a person holding a book in their hand
a person holding a book in their hand

The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life: Discover Your Purpose with Ikigai

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to live long, fulfilling lives while others struggle to find happiness? The Japanese have a secret to longevity and happiness, and it all starts with discovering your purpose in life. This concept is known as ikigai.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese word that roughly translates to "reason for being" or "purpose in life." It is the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. Finding your ikigai means finding something that makes you wake up every morning with excitement and a sense of purpose.

Discovering Your Ikigai

So, how can you discover your ikigai? Here are a few steps to get you started:

1. Reflect on What You Love

Take some time to reflect on the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. What activities make you lose track of time? What hobbies or interests do you find yourself drawn to? By identifying what you love, you can start to uncover your ikigai.

2. Identify Your Skills and Strengths

Next, think about what you are good at. What skills do you possess? What are your strengths? Consider both your professional skills and personal talents. Your ikigai is likely to be found at the intersection of what you love and what you excel at.

3. Consider the World's Needs

Ikigai is not just about personal fulfillment; it also involves making a positive impact on the world. Think about the needs of your community, society, or even the world at large. How can your passions and skills contribute to addressing those needs? Finding a way to make a difference can give your life a greater sense of purpose.

4. Explore Opportunities for Financial Stability

While money shouldn't be the sole motivator for finding your ikigai, it is still an important aspect to consider. Think about how you can turn your passions and skills into a viable career or a way to support yourself financially. This will ensure that you can pursue your purpose without worrying about practical concerns.

5. Embrace a Growth Mindset

Discovering your ikigai is a journey, and it may take time to find the perfect fit. Embrace a growth mindset and be open to new experiences and opportunities. Don't be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Your ikigai may evolve and change over time, and that's okay.


Finding your purpose in life is the key to a long and happy existence. The Japanese concept of ikigai teaches us that by discovering what we love, what we are good at, what the world needs, and what we can be paid for, we can unlock a sense of fulfillment and meaning. So, take the time to reflect on your passions, skills, and the needs of the world around you. Embrace the journey of discovering your ikigai and live a more purposeful life.