Ikigai or the Japanese secret to find the meaning of life

Did you know that in Japan the word “retire” does not exist?

They say that ikigai is the secret that the Japanese have to live a long and pleasant life. That having a life purpose is very beneficial and that losing it is not good for your health because it is what motivates you to live.

Being always busy with what you like brings happiness.

This is why in Japanese culture, ikigai takes center stage and this has allowed many of the Japanese to continue working doing what they love all their lives.


In the Japanese country is the island of Okinawa (沖縄本島 Okinawa-hontō ), one of the blue zones of the planet Earth.

A place where the largest population of centenarians in the world is concentrated. Specifically in Ogimi, “the village of centenarians” which is located in the north of the island.

It is believed that the cause is due to their way of life: being in a community and dedicating themselves to what they like until their health asks them to stop.

The feeling of feeling useful and being able to help each other provides the fuel that keeps them active.

And you, do you know your ikigai?⁣

It’s not easy, we know, but the benefits of incorporating them into your life are incredible.

In fact, look how the search trend for this word has risen since it was introduced in the West.

people looking for what is ikigai
What is ikigai: every day thousands of people seek information about this concept


Every day more and more people are looking for that “other way of life”.

Therefore, if you are also one of those people who is looking to improve your life, redirect it towards a purpose that comes from your heart, stay.

In this article we will tell you what Ikigai is and the steps you have to follow to discover it.

Let’s start!

what is ikigai

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese word or philosophy that translates as the reason for being or living, why get up every morning. That is, it is the purpose or meaning of a person’s life.

The term comes from a combination of two concepts:

  • Iki: ” to live”
  • Kai: “the realization of what one hopes for.”

The combination of both created the concept of ikigai or “the reason or purpose to live”.

The people who own it apply it as a philosophy of life; that is, when you know your ikigai it influences everything you do, it is your reason for being.

And there are so many benefits of keeping it in mind that it is associated with longevity, happiness and self-realization.

People with ikigai live longer and better.

Do you believe us when we tell you that it is important to pay attention to it?⁣

1. What gives meaning to your life and makes you get up every day?

“Only in activity will you wish to live 100 years.” Japanese proverb.

This is how the Ikigai book begins. The secrets of Japan for a long and happy life, by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles.

One of the most read books on this subject and a guide to apply this concept to your life. That’s why we had to quote him.

We all have an ikigai and to discover it we must patiently search within ourselves, without haste, get to know ourselves in depth and thus bring it to light.⁣

It is normal for us to wonder if existence is just letting one day pass after another and fill them with daily activities that do not contribute to you, or is there something more…

Is there a higher mission for each of us?

We think so.

The key is to find it and stop performing “activities that do not contribute to you” to fill your life with actions with which you feel fulfilled or fulfilled.

Enriching your life with a mission, that’s what it’s all about.

Mystery revealed.

It is believed that, beyond food or the simple and natural life, ikigai is the key to longevity.

Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love to do, according to Héctor García and Francesc Miralles.

They translate it as “ the happiness of being always busy ”.

The concept of happiness is very important because being happy is what guides you towards a long and pleasant life. The absence of stress and joy are part of the mystery of longevity.

What would make you wake up in the morning happy and fulfilled?

That’s your ikigai.

And what happens if you are not clear, if you have blocked yourself at that point?

Do not worry because later we will tell you techniques with which you can find your reason for being.

2. Yuimaaru: the benefit of belonging to a community

One of the key components of this ikigai philosophy is the feeling of a group or community.

Helping others makes you feel useful, something very important to be happy.

Ikigai: the community is important within this philosophy of life

If you look at it, it is the problem that many people suffer when they retire, they see themselves as no longer good for anything and they become depressed.

But feeling that you belong to a group and that you contribute increases life expectancy.

How to discover your ikigai

There are many techniques, but you can start by answering these questions:

1. The 4 questions that will give you the secret of life

  1. What do you love?⁣: try to discover what you could always do and that makes time fly by. That is your passion.
  2. What do you think the world needs from you? That is your mission.
  3. What are you good at and do you find it easy to do? That is your calling.
  4. What would other people pay you for?⁣ That’s your profession (or at least it should be).

Your ikigai is the point where all those answers come together.

find your life purpose
What is ikigai: find out with these 4 questions

Don’t worry if you can’t see it at first; It’s not easy, but it exists.

Just give yourself time.

2. Good daily practices that will help you incorporate ikigai into your daily life

These practices are based on the 10 rules to find your ikigai from the book by García and Miralles.

  1. Don’t back off and stop. You have to stay active doing what you love.
  2. Get rid of stress, take life easy. The slow and relaxed rhythm provides us with a better state of health.
  3. Avoid filling yourself up when you eat. The best thing is to stay with a small feeling that you could still eat more. Don’t do it, it’s the best for your health.
  4. Find your friends and spend time with them.
  5. Get some light exercise, don’t be 100% sedentary.
  6. Smile. ?
  7. Connect with your wildest and most natural side, go back to the roots.
  8. Practice gratitude. It is one of the rituals that can bring more benefits to your life.
  9. Live in the here and now. Fill your existence with mindfulness.
  10. Look for your ikigai and follow the path that marks you.

Surely you already knew many of these recommendations, right?

The important thing now is that you incorporate them into your routine. ?

3. Unlock your inner self to find the ikigai

There are people who think they have no skill or passion, no mission in life.

Is it so or is it that they have not searched well within themselves?

If this is your case, it is most likely that you suffer from some type of blockage or limiting belief.

Forget judging and do the 4 questions exercise.

Don’t think why you ask, just ask. Albert Einstein.

It often happens that, over the years, leaving childhood behind, many of us lose the curiosity to live new experiences.

But sometimes life gives you back those desires to know “what you feel you lack”, and you can do it by remembering your childhood.

When do you feel the urgent need to know your ikigai?

Normally, when you have to make important decisions such as:

  • What career to study.
  • What job should I look for?
  • Where in the world to live.
  • How could I reinvent myself?
  • What do I do with my life.

That is why in our school, the Digital Nomad School, where many people reinvent themselves professionally, students must find their life purpose and their ikigai before starting anything.

What is ikigai: Luisi & Eze created this template to discover it

This is one of the works that Luisi & Eze, 2 of our students at the school, shared with us as an exercise in finding ikigai.

You don’t know how beneficial it is to do this exercise until you complete it and discover things you didn’t know about yourself. ?

Ikigai applied to business: how to find your professional sweet spot

We spend and will spend most of our lives working; if not all, at least most people in the world.

Surely you know that there is a high percentage of job unhappiness in the world, and it is precisely because of this.

When you have to spend so much time doing something that doesn’t fulfill or motivate you, unhappiness takes over your life.

Even if you make a lot of money, it’s not worth it.

In this sense, every day more people seek to apply this concept to the world of work. And from here also comes the rise of entrepreneurship.

Through a project or business, you can channel your passion by dedicating yourself to helping other people. The economic remuneration will fill you much more because you will feel fulfilled.

And this does not imply that in the end work is the center of your life.

Be careful with that because you won’t find happiness here either, and it’s a trap that many people fall into (especially entrepreneurs).

It’s about finding a balance between your life’s work and everything you care about (and need) to be happy).

Ikigai is synonymous with feeling joy, satisfaction and balance in all the main aspects of our lives: our “I”, family and work.

Sometimes they separate and that is when a gap occurs that gives us feelings of frustration.

Why am I not happy if I have the job of my life?

Surely there is some imbalance hidden there that prevents you from finding happiness.

Ikigai should be part of your life and connect everything with meaning.

One more step: implement what you have discovered to close the circle

If you don’t do or act, solving the 4 questions will not get you to your Ikigai.

It is important that you make a plan.

So if you already know the answer and how you could do it, the next step is to take action.

If, for example, you decide to lead a healthier life and eat better, plan how you are going to do it, do not leave it in the abstract.

Create your exercise routine, include in your shopping list the new foods that you are going to incorporate into your diet or prepare recurring meetings with your family or friends.

Don’t let all your good intentions stay in your head. ?

One final tip on ikigai

There are still millions and millions of people in the world who are lost and searching for the secret of happiness.

But the solution sometimes lies in simplifying things.

In filling your daily life with details that give well-being (such as smiling, giving thanks or being with friends) and harmony (playing sports or freeing yourself from stress).

For our part, we would like to give you one more piece of advice.⁣

Do this exercise from time to time, every year, for example.


Because each person’s ikigai can change, due to personal situation or age, that doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t have to be the same all your life.

So, if you want to renew that engine that gets you up every day, spend some time exploring your interior.

Ask yourself the questions and find that sweet spot that makes getting up each morning meaningful and makes you happy.

Our intuition and curiosity are powerful internal compasses that help us connect with our ikigai. Garcia and Miralles.

Leave a Reply