The Power of Ikigai

A powerful concept that will change your life


Ikigai is a powerful concept for finding purpose and clarity to unlock growth in your career, startup, business, writing, or relationships.

A thread on its meaning and how it can change your life...

Ikigai is a combination of the Japanese words “iki” (or “life”) and “gai” (a term to describe value or worth).

It roughly translates to “reason for being.”

It is all-encompassing - it is not simply about work, money, or success - it is about the full scope of your existence.

Ikigai is the point of balance and harmony in your life and work.

It is found at the intersection of:

  1. What you love to do

  2. What you are good at

  3. What the world needs

  4. What you can be paid for

Importantly, it is at the nexus of passion and practicality.

The concept of Ikigai can be traced back to 12th century Japan, but its exact genesis is unknown.

It gained a mainstream following after Dan Buettner’s famous 2009 Ted Talk on his research on Blue Zones (regions where people live longer than average).

In his research, Dan Buettner found that purpose and fulfillment led to improved longevity.

Put simply, embracing the concept of Ikigai contributed to enhanced health (mental and physical) and longer lifespans.

To implement the concept of Ikigai in your life, create your personal Ikigai Venn diagram.

Start with the passions: What do you truly love to do? What are you really good at? What can you become good at?

Now get practical: What does the world need? What will it pay you for?

The elegance of the concept of Ikigai is in its blend of passion and practicality.

Life is a multivariate problem. Simple, uniplanar solutions and one-size-fits-all mantras fall short.

Ikigai recognizes this and forces a dynamic, systems approach to finding purpose.

Separately, for those of you who are interested in growing your audience on Twitter, I will be co-hosting a cohort-based course with my good friend Julian Shapiro that will teach you tactics for building an audience. You can sign up here to be on the list and learn more. Stay tuned - it’s going to be great.

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Until next time, stay curious, friends!