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your purpose, your ikigai

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” Buddha

For so many years, I walked around blissfully unaware of how truly lost I was. I was ambitious, with dreams, aspirations, and plans for the future, but something was always missing. In everything I wanted to achieve, a small part of me still felt that I was aimless despite having tangible goals. What it took me years to realize was that there is a difference between goals and purpose. Regardless of the many goals I wanted to accomplish, it would never be enough until I found and understood my purpose behind it all.

Discovering your purpose in life is necessary. Purpose points you in the right direction and adds meaning to your life. It gives you a source of motivation and fulfillment. It helps you prioritize your time and energy, forces you to focus on what truly matters to you, and prevents you from getting sidetracked by things that do not matter to you. Knowing your purpose helps guide you through challenging periods of life. Ultimately, understanding your purpose can lead to a more purposeful and satisfying life, one that is aligned with your values, passions, and goals.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to "a reason for being" or "a reason to live." It represents the intersection of four key elements in life: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. When these four elements align, it creates a sense of purpose, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life.

In essence, ikigai is about finding a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives, and it encourages us to pursue activities that bring us joy and are meaningful to us. The concept has gained popularity in recent years to promote wellbeing and happiness, and is often associated with the idea of longevity and a healthy, fulfilling life.

Here is how I recommend you come to your purpose, or ikigai, based on how I came to mine:

  1. Reflect on your values: What is most important to you in life? What do you stand for? What kind of person do you want to be?

  2. Explore your passions: What activities make you lose track of time? What do you enjoy reading or learning about?

  3. Identify your strengths: What are you good at? What do others compliment you on? What tasks do you find easy or enjoyable?

  4. Seek feedback: What do your loved ones think you are good at? What qualities do they admire in you? Sometimes others can see things that we cannot see in ourselves.

  5. Experiment: Try new things and take risks. Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and explore new opportunities. You may discover something you never knew you were passionate about.

Remember, discovering your purpose in life is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process. Your purpose may evolve and change over time as you grow and evolve. Be patient and kind to yourself on your journey, and don't be afraid to seek help or support along the way. What gives you purpose now may not be the same in ten years. Knowing your pet relies on you for food and necessities may get you out of bed today. But fast forward fifteen years, your love for your career may be your driving factor in starting each morning. As you evolve and grow as a person, allow your meaning to evolve and grow alongside you.

Whatever your ikigai is, identify it and run to it.

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