It is a shame there is not an English equivalent to the word Ikigai. Akin to the existentialist Victor Frankl, I believe that meaningfulness is a more important pursuit than seeking happiness (happiness is an outcome from one finding and pursuing their meaningfulness and purpose). Frankl believed that the pursuit of happiness actually thwarts happiness (ugh..)
Similarly, Emily Esfahani Smith posits that happiness comes and goes, but having meaning in your life such as contributing something beyond yourself and developing the best within you, gives you something invaluable to hold onto. Smith’s research includes an exploration of psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy that evidences that having meaning in one’s life increases resiliency, and success (work, school), while also contributing to longevity.
….And yet: Many us of in the Western world bemoan, “I just want to be happy”, as if it is something that just magically happens to us.
Tap into that thing that ignites a fire inside of you! It need not be something mainstream – in fact, the weirder it is, may be a better indicator that this thing that excites really is your true calling.
But taking chances is scary, you may be thinking.
Yep, it sure is. But staying in the same place having never taken any chances is much scarier in my books.
Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what they did, but rather for things they did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.
Have your found your Ikigai?