Saying that “I know myself” was easier said than done, but that is after I took on the activity of finding my Ikigai.
If you are now at that point in life where you’re taking second thoughts about your current path, then I’m sure that doing this quick exercise will help you.
You probably know this already, but there is more to life than what you are doing right now. What you might discover can be your very own key to the success that you’re yearning for.
And yes, I believe that there are still things within you that you are yet to find. Don’t worry, because the digging won’t take you more than 20 minutes.
Finding my Ikigai taught me that…
I’ve been to numerous reflection sessions, recollection sittings, and retreat trips. While they all have self-learning activities, none of them gave me the self-discovery that Ikigai did.
Here I am, sharing the things that I learned about myself after I went on my short journey to find my Ikigai.
1. I do love writing.
I’ve been writing in some way or form for over 14 years now.
In my primary school, I was part of the school paper publication team. I never submitted an application, but somehow, I was handpicked to complete the application process and eventually became a member.
To my surprise, I earned a gold medal and a new position as a Feature Editor after my first year of doing it.
I tried doing poetry and fiction writing in secondary school, but I lost my zest for it for a while.
Still, I took a relevant program for college which is Bachelor of Arts in Communication. I almost dove into Journalism, but my heart wasn’t strong enough for it.
After graduating, I tried to venture into freelance writing. At the time of writing this blog, I’m onto my third year of doing it already.
I never declared it out loud, but I can now say that I really do love writing. And I was only able to confirm it after learning my Ikigai.
2. I’m good at communicating.
Part of me thinks that this is the subconscious reason I took up my bachelor’s degree; I just didn’t know it back then.
I perceive communication as something that is not as simple as receiving a message and replying to it, may it be verbal or written.
For me, being good at communicating means listening fully and responding in a way that’s more than what is expected. It’s the capability to read between the lines and give more than what’s being asked upfront.
You might think that it’s too simple to be a skill and might even dismiss it as merely “talking.” But if you do think that way, then communicating might not be on your list.
3. My skills scare me.
After reading number 1, you might wonder. “If you were already writing for your primary school’s paper, then why did you not pursue it in high school and college?”
I’ve never admitted this before, but a recent discovery taught me that I was afraid of my own skills.
Yes, it’s possible; it happened to me.
I was scared that the words that I put into writing might offend people or inspire them to take actions that I never intended to mean.
But most of all, I’m afraid of what they might think when they see my name on the by-line.
You see, writing is like spilling your brains into the paper. I felt like it was too much to expose myself like that.
Thankfully, I’ve somehow overcome this fear to the point that I’m now doing it for a living.
4. I was under self-doubts for too long.
This discovery is directly linked with number 3.
When I say that I was scared of my skills, it also meant that I doubted myself. Sadly, I didn’t realize that it has gone for too long, even when I’m already working as a writer.
Due to this issue, I avoided rereading any of my works, which means I’ve never proofread anything that I wrote for years! (embarrassing fact alert, haha, sorry, mentors!)
Maybe it was out of pure luck that I was never called out for it. But what’s important for me now is I’ve finally gained the confidence to listen to my voice in the way that I know best.
5. I can be paid for doing things that I love.
One of the many toxic beliefs in Filipino culture is that your passion won’t make you money.
People in the creative field have received more criticism than anyone when pursuing “high-paying careers.”
Even I was under that misconception for a while and have shrugged a few times at the idea of being a “writer” for a living.
It took me several rejections and failures. But now that I’m here, I’m happy that I learned how I could earn money for doing the things that I love.
6. The world needs me.
This last part is more of a personal affirmation, but I still think it’s worth adding.
In finding my Ikigai, I also found that what I’m good at and what I love doing is essential for a person to have.
It doesn’t make me as unique as the author of the bestselling novel or the most famous talk show host/interviewer in the world. Still, it equips me to fulfill my mission.
As long as I’m still able to lend a helping hand to those who need my superpowers, I know that the world needs me.
But first, what is Ikigai?
I’ve shared my journey of finding my Ikigai.
But first, what is even that word?
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “reason for being.” It originated from the words “iki,” meaning “life,” and “gai,” meaning “value or worth.”
As the translations suggest, finding your Ikigai is your journey to finding your purpose in life.
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life co-author Hector Garcia once wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
How to find your Ikigai
By now, you should already be curious as to how you can find your Ikigai.
If not, then I’ve failed myself – my Ikigai as I know it is wrong. Kidding aside, it only takes answering four questions to find your Ikigai.
But here’s the catch:
You must spend no more than 20 minutes doing this activity, or you’ll drown yourself in unnecessary overthinking. Worse, it can lead to self-sabotage instead of self-development.
1. What do you love doing?
Your answer to this leads to what we call “passion and mission.”
When what you love doing is similar to what you are good at, then you’ve found your passion.
Meanwhile, when it coincides with what the world needs instead, then it’s your mission.
2. What are you good at?
As mentioned in number 1, when you’re good at what you love doing, you have succeeded in finding your passion.
On the other hand, when you can be paid for what you are good at, then it is what we call your “profession.”
However, that tiny space between your passion and profession can sometimes lead to satisfaction with the feeling of uselessness.
3. What can you be paid for?
I understand if you’re struggling to answer this part. It takes time to unlearn the limiting beliefs that we’ve once cast upon ourselves.
But if you’ll think more deeply, you’ll find that you can also be paid for doing things that the world needs. That right there is your vocation.
Somewhere between your vocation and mission, you might find yourself getting excited and complacent. Still, there can also be some sort of uncertainty.
4. What does the world need?
You don’t have to be Superman or Albert Einstein for the world to need you. Your life matters, your story matters, and your ability matters.
It took me a while to learn this, too. But when you come to find that you have a place in fulfilling what the world needs, you’ll know that your mission and vocation are calling.
There might be no wealth in those two alone, but you’ll reach the kind of fulfillment that money can’t buy.
After filling these questions, look for the most common answer. And that’s precisely how I found out that writing is my Ikigai.
Why you should also find your Ikigai
If the six things that I’ve learned in my journey and shared with you above are not yet enough, then here are a few more reasons why finding your Ikigai is the life-changing experience you need.
- Discovering your passion and mission
- Waking up in the morning with a sense of excitement
- Reducing the Monday blues
- A better understanding of yourself
- Balance and guidance
- Longevity (not scientifically, but you get it)
So there you go!
I’ve listed the things that I learned about myself, what Ikigai is, and how and why you should find yours, too.
Now, I’d LOVE to hear from YOU!
Have you found your Ikigai?
Share it with me through the comments below or by sending me an email!