Attention: Writers Seeking More Fulfillment – Read closely!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we find our purpose and passion in life. For this reason, I will share with you how to find your purpose using a concept called Ikigai, your “reason for BEING.” I cover this concept in one of my most recent books Digital Age Sage: Finding Purpose In Digital Chaos.
Digital Age Sage is a response to witnessing how many of us have been losing track of our ultimate vision, mission, and life goals.
Post-pandemic, people entered a state of languishing, where they weren’t really passionate about setting goals and moving forward with a new vision.
Phoro Credit: @nytimes
Most of us have not been flourishing. We are so caught up with digital instant gratification, that we forget the highest and best use of our time. It is clear that monopolistic big tech companies use persuasion technology, but it’s no excuse to give up.
They distract us and steal our attention with algorithms, but it is up to us to not sell our souls and give up our highest and best contributions. Not only are we lost in terms of forward progress. We are also lost in terms of staying present to enjoy the simple things in life.
A few years ago, my work was fun, but it didn’t make me happy. I wanted to write more, travel more, and get more fulfillment out of life. I worked in the fitness industry for about ten years.
Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed my work, but it wasn’t the ultimate work that would give me the freedom and satisfaction I wanted.
For example, being self-employed is great, but we are still trading our time for money. When we create products, package our expertise, or build businesses we create unique ways to serve the world. Some of these function without trading hours for dollars.
Now, I do a lot more writing, product creation, and building my business. That’s more meaningful and challenging — but it wasn’t always that way. I had to learn the fine line between doing what I love, doing what I’m great at, doing what the world needs, and doing what the world pays for.
During my journey, I had seen the Venn Diagram with the four circles, but I had never had a name for it. It was just “that purpose diagram” that helps an entrepreneur clarify the difference between doing something you love and selecting valuable products and services to share.
For now, I will explain the main components of Ikigai, if you’re not familiar with it. But, first of all, let’s clear up a misconception that has been surfacing online. The Venn Diagram framework many people find online with Ikigai in the center was not the original creation of Ikigai. It is a hybrid diagram that unites two different principles: The Purpose Diagram + Ikigai.
Here on Ikigai Tribe it’s clarified that: “Full credit for the Venn diagram of Purpose goes to Spanish author and psychological astrologer, Andres Zuzunaga, who created it in 2011. It first publicly appeared in the book Qué Harías Si No Tuvieras Miedo (What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?) by Borja Vilaseca in 2012.”
The diagram by itself is an effective representation of entrepreneurship. However, we have to be clear that this is a Westernized representation of Ikigai. This is why I was a little confused when I heard the diagram referred to so much as a term from Japanese culture.
It turns out the diagram is a mash-up of three things. A TED Talk by Dan Buettner who studied Japanese Culture, The Spanish Venn Diagram, and the remix by Marc Winn.
The confusion of origin came when blogger, “Marc Winn wrote an inspiring post titled “What’s your ikigai?” after watching Dan Buettner’s Ted Talk on How to Live 100+. In his blog post, Marc used a translated version of the Zuzunaga Venn Diagram of Purpose with ‘ikigai’ replacing the word ‘purpose’.”
Marc Winn wrote in his follow-up blog post:
“In 2014, I wrote a blog post on the subject of Ikigai. In that blog post, I merged two concepts to create something new. Essentially, I merged a Venn diagram on ‘purpose’ with Dan Buettner’s Ikigai concept, in relation to living to be more than 100. The sum total of my effort was that I changed one word on a diagram and shared a ‘new’ meme with the world.”
To add clarity, I’ll explain what Ikigai is and how you can use it to understand your passions better. Then I will go back to the Venn Diagram of Vocation, Passion, Mission, and Profession to show you ways to apply it in your writing.
Keep in mind, that I’m sharing a little bit of both sides, the western philosophy of purpose and goals, and the eastern philosophy of being and presence.
You can study further into the depth of both, but for now, rest assured that these principles, will at the minimum, give you some clarity on your writing career.
Some find themselves off center of your purpose and this info can help you stay on track with the highest success and fulfillment for you.
Photo: Ken Mogi: https://twitter.com/kenmogi
In Ken Mogi’s book The Little Book Of Ikigai, the word Ikigai is a Japanese concept that encompasses 5 Pillars. They are:
Pillar 1: Starting small
Pillar 2: Releasing yourself
Pillar 3: Harmony and sustainability
Pillar 4: The joy of little things
Pillar 5: Being in the here and now.
“Ikigai is a Japanese word for describing the pleasures and meanings of life. The word literally consists of ‘iki’ (to live) and ‘gai ’ (reason).”
After doing so, your writing can be enhanced By your Ikigai. Ikigai is a simple concept, not always easy to apply, but it’s one that can change your life.
The Japanese word Ikigai (pronounced “ee-kee-guy” – it sounds like “icky guy”) is a very clear concept, but it’s one that can change your life.
Ikigai is all about finding your reason for being—and it’s something we should all be seeking to experience in subtle ways.
It also means that if you are doing something “only for the love,” it may be time to turn PRO, by embracing the patience of self-mastery. Find out how the world will pay for it, and fulfill a demand that gives you a greater sense of mission.
Once you’ve discovered your Purpose in writing and entrepreneurship (or even started to think about how to find it), the possibilities are endless. Imagine how so much clarity can affect and improve your life.
While you are living in this way, you will also have a greater sense of well-being with the pillars of Ikigai.
As an example, right now the world is in demand for useful and applicable content. The world needs wisdom.
The world will pay for short-packed, productized, and step-by-step info. If you love writing, and you are good at it, then self-publishing books, creating products, and marketing them online could be your unique purpose as an entrepreneur!
You can then layer it by applying Ikigai principles, once you’ve found that purpose.
Pillar 1: Starting small – You would create small articles for a blog or decide to write 1,000 words everyday consistently.
Pillar 2: Releasing yourself – You would write with freedom and allow yourself to express whatever you want to express.
Pillar 3: Harmony and sustainability – You would think long term and write content that could be evergreen and be useful for years to come.
Pillar 4: The joy of little things – You would not be overly focused or overwhelmed by outcomes, but enjoy the act of doing each little thing well, even to the detail of typing one word.
Pillar 5: Being in the here and now – You would be present and enjoy your writing and the entire process of the journey just as much as the achievement.
According to Anthony Raymond in his book, How To Set Goals With Kaizen & Ikigai: Focus, Cure Procrastination, & Increase Personal Productivity“The exact origins of Ikigai are not known. The word can be traced back to Japan’s 8th century “Nara period.” But most present-day Japanese citizens do not commonly use the term. However, for the residents of Okinawa—a small island located 400 miles south of the Japanese mainland—the word is very important to their culture and personal wellbeing.”
This was noted in Beuttner’s Ted Talk. Okinawa Island has garnered attention from the west because it’s part of the so-called “Blue Zone.” Blue zones are areas where the populations live much longer than the average lifespan globally.
Excerpt From: Anthony Raymond. “How to Set Goals with Kaizen & Ikigai: Focus, Cure Procrastination, & Increase Personal Productivity.” Apple Books.
- LOVE: you have to enjoy what you do,
- COMPETENCE: it must be something you are good at,
- DEMAND: it must be something that other people need from you or find valuable, and
- VALUE: it should bring the person financial stability.
This four-part model that has a lot of overlap with other concepts like the “soul work” and self-actualization. It includes:
- Passion (what you love doing + what you are good at)
- Vocation (what you’re paid to do + What the world needs )
- Mission (what you love to do + What the world needs)
- Profession (the work you do to pay the bills + what you are good at)
- Purpose (the overlap of what you love doing + what you are good at + what you’re paid to do + what the world needs).
To get closer to finding a clearer purpose, think about what you love doing. If you enjoy working in the garden, consider becoming a landscape architect.
If math is what gets your heart racing, consider becoming an accountant or financial advisor?
Passion is important because it will keep you engaged and motivated to pursue a certain career path. You should also be good at whatever task it is that appeals to you most. Doing what you are great at ensures that time spent learning and practicing this skill will result in skills development.
Working on weaknesses that don’t improve quickly results in frustration and failure.
Whether we apply ourselves to our passions with skill makes all the difference.
Even more so, when it comes down to finding purpose within what we do every day of our lives!
Your mission is about making the world a better place. It’s about doing work that has an impact. It is about knowing that your actions are having an impact on people’s lives and the world at large.
It’s about doing work that you’re proud of. When you know you’ve done something great with your time on Earth, it helps you find peace in this life.
It’s also about doing work that makes you feel good—not in the sense of feeling accomplished or proud.
Thinking healthy and energized by what you’re doing every day is psychological income. It boosts your self-esteem and worthiness. That way, when things get tough (and they will), there’s still some joy left in life!
Lastly—and perhaps most importantly—your mission is all about making a difference. If it is yourself or someone else; if it is big or small; if it is personal or professional—the goal is always to leave this world better than how we found it.
Your vocation is what you’re paid to do. It’s usually a job or career, but it could also be a hobby or other type of work.
Your vocation is who you are as a person and how you spend your time, energy, and money.
How does it fit into the Ikigai framework?
The word “vocation” comes from Latin roots meaning “calling” or “calling out” – so your vocation is what calls out to you.
It is usually something unique and different from everything else in this world. This is why we have such diversity in marketplaces and the world. Everyone has something to offer.
Yet, despite all this, people are suffering. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report 2018-2019: “One in three employees worldwide said they were disengaged at work.”
What good is it to keep sloughing away at a job that you hate to pay the bills? All it takes is a little personal development, courage, decision-making, and new action to live a completely different life.
You may think that your profession is the work you do to pay the bills. But it turns out, the word “profession” has several meanings.
- Passion: Simply doing what you love, have strengths in, and find enjoyable.
- Profession: The act or process of gaining knowledge and skills through study and experience.
- Vocation: A calling to a particular type of work. According to Merriam-Webster, “vocation” comes from a Latin word meaning “to call.”
- Mission: A task or purpose that someone is meant to accomplish; also an organization’s reason for being (e.g., finding cures for diseas
Your Purpose Is The Center Of The Storm. When You Do All Four By Becoming Great In One Marketable Skill. Finding what works for you takes time and energy — and it’s worth it.
Finding what works for you takes time and energy — but it’s worth it.
You have to be willing to try new things, change your mind about what works for you, and do things you don’t like. Taking these actions will help make room for something that does work.
The Merging Of Eastern + Western Principles. Using The Venn Diagram + Ikigai can give your work and life meaning.
Keep in mind, it takes time to figure out how all the pieces fit together for you.
First of all, accept and acknowledge that the diagram is not a magic formula that will automatically work perfectly.
Accept the eastern qualities of Ikigai. Accept the western qualities of entrepreneurship and goal setting.
Read great books and biographies to hear the unique life paths of others.
Watch inspiring films to gain insight into other lifestyles and careers
Take new courses and try new hobbies, you may be great at something and you never knew.
Most of all, love yourself and pay attention to what is working and what is not working in your life.
In Summary, When You Discover Your Purpose and Live with Ikigai, You Will Live A Lot More Fully, Feel More Successful, And Attain Greater Levels Of Fulfillment.
I hope this look at purpose and Ikigai has been helpful and informative. Think about this question, “What is my reason to get out of bed in the morning.” That is Ikigai
By observing these simple qualities and evaluating them, you can gan greater insight into yourself, and live a life you are truly proud of.
As a writer, this translates into writing that is deeply meaningful, also valuable, enjoyable to create, and also has an impact.
Always remember that you are better off exploring these ideas than not taking action and waiting for life to “get better.”
Being 100% responsible for everything in your life, including your goals, your work, and what you want to contribute is a decision that creates ultimate success.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the information above and want some guidance on how to put it into practice in your own life, please check out my book Digital Age Sage: Finding Your Purpose In Digital Chaos