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Ikigai: meaning, easy explanation & tips to find your Ikigai

Ikigai: meaning, easy explanation & tips to find your Ikigai

What is the meaning of Ikigai? And how can you determine your Ikigai? In this article you will find examples and a clear explanation of the Ikigai model. Read along…

Let’s find out exactly what this means …

What is Ikigai? A brief explanation …

What is Ikigai actually? You can ‘find your Ikigai’ if you combine the following four things …

  1. What you like.
  2. What you are good at.
  3. What the world needs.
  4. What you can get paid for.

What does the word ‘Ikigai’ mean?

The Japanese word Ikigai means a lot at the same time. It’s four things put together into one word. We don’t actually have anything like that in Dutch. The closest Dutch ‘word’ is to ‘find your reason for being.’ What does the world need and what is your mission to fulfill it with the utmost joy?

Our calling is where our deepest joy and the world’s hunger meet.
– Frederick Buechner

And those books about Ikigai?

The books in the ‘Ikigai’ series (Miralles & Garcia) have become bestsellers and are completely on the subject of Ikigai.

  • Book 1 answers the question: What is Ikigai and why is it important?
  • Book 2 answers the question: How do you like your Ikigai?

Ikigai is not (necessarily) about getting rich and financial success

Ikigai isn’t about getting rich: it’s about living happily . For example, it could also be that someone is happy by watering the plants on his balcony.

If you enjoy working in your garden, and if you are more involved with your Ikigai, you can, for example, create a vegetable garden and work on it 4 or 5 days a week. Then you will be happy. Not necessarily rich!

Earning money doesn’t even matter that much. It is not a main focus. That will be fine if you live your Ikigai. Brian: ‘My Ikigai is helping and inspiring people with the knowledge I have. I don’t necessarily see it as earning money, as a job, or as an entrepreneurship. I look at it on a completely different level. ‘

How do you like your Ikigai? Step-by-step plan to make it easy for yourself

Now that we know what Ikigai is, the question arises: how do you find your Ikigai ? Brian: ‘How I did it isn’t the only way it’s possible. Below you will find step by step how I found my Ikigai and how you can make it easier for yourself. ‘

The first thing you can do now? First get the Ikigai symbol …

ikigai meaning and model

You can then find your Ikigai in a number of steps:

  1. Start with the top circle by making an inventory of what you love:  make a list of all the things you like to do. By the way, never stop doing that. Always try out new things to find out what you enjoy doing. It is important that you start with these. If you started looking at what you could get paid for, you would start with an oversized list.
  2. You should now have a list of all the things you love to do. This can be just a few A4 pages. They can also be contradictory things. That does not matter. It’s all about doing a brainstorming session. Now do the same with what you are good at. This too can be anything. You can start from things that you think you are good at and ask others what they think you are good at.
  3. Now start combining the things you enjoy doing and the things you are good at. This will be your passion . Make a list of this again.
  4. Now do the rest and do exactly the same with the other two areas of the model: what does the world need and what can you get paid for?
  5. Complete the entire model. Check which overlaps there are so that you can always fill in a number of things at Passion, Mission, Profession and Vocation.
  6. Now look at which things are mentioned under Passion, Mission, Profession and Vocation. And so see if you can narrow it down to a few things that are your Ikigai. You don’t have to have one Ikigai. You can keep going and find multiple Ikigai’s.

Why does Ikigai work?

Why are you good at things you enjoy doing? Why does Ikigai work? Because you no longer ‘try to try’.  When you have found your Ikigai, everything is just right and everything goes by itself. Then you enter a kind of flow. How do you get into that flow? The Ikigai book goes deep into that.

It is striking that so many people who have not even turned 30 years old get burnouts. They put too much pressure on themselves and they think that a lot is expected of them. Because they try too hard to get it right.

That pressure is often the big problem with burnouts. That pressure is no longer a problem when you live your Ikigai. Even if you can live off your Ikigai, you will sometimes be under pressure with deadlines to meet, but if you live your Ikigai, you work for pleasure , so you do n’t have to worry as much.

How do you actually live your Ikigai? 6 tips! (Let your intuition and your mind guide you)

How do you like your Ikigai? However, there are a number of things you can pay attention to to make your Ikigai even better:

  1. You can also fill in the Ikigai schedule intuitively . Consider also consciously why your intuition has led you to a certain choice. So also use your mind to supplement your intuition . “Should I quit my job or continue?” You can make that decision entirely by feeling. But also think about it with your mind.
  2. Keep a close eye on whether a choice was actually intuitive , or whether it was an automatic association ( conditioning ): “My grandmother had that cup too, so I don’t want that cup.” This is not an intuitive decision. Also, emotional decisions are not intuitive decisions. Where intuitive decisions are often correct, you have to watch out for emotional decisions. There is a difference between decisions based on intuition and decisions based on emotion. Consider, for example, when you were in love: we make some decisions out of emotion. And emotion is a very variable factor.
  3. Use action and logical thinking. So on the one hand, it is powerful to respond with action to the opportunities you get in life, and on the other, thinking is also a step. So also thinking will bring you closer to your Ikigai , but taking action can accelerate it and you will walk a lot faster towards your goal.
  4. Do n’t try to make your Ikigai come true. Then it becomes very difficult. Forced search is not the solution. It will come naturally, but know what to look at. “Don’t try to try.” You do this by sometimes letting go of things (read more about this in the article about the law of attraction ).
  5. You can also link your (intuitive) choice to your Ikigai: you decide to stop doing something, so that you can do more of your Ikigai .
  6. Be open and test new things. Stay open to what you love and stay open to new hunches.

It may take a long time before you live your Ikigai


It doesn’t have to be ready in a month or a few months. Brian: ‘It took me two years. Subconsciously, on intuition, more and more puzzle pieces fell into place. And at a certain point it accelerates. ‘

An example of Ikigai? Brian’s story …

Brian: ‘My Ikigai is to inspire. It was a long search before I found him. I now work in engineering. That’s fun to do, but not for the next 60 years. Then I came across this book (Ikigai) at a shop in our street. This book taught me that you can also get paid for what you like: your Ikigai. For me that was: communicating what I want to convey to groups, coaching and team building. When I found out that I could also make money with it, all the puzzle pieces fell into place.

Can you just go and do your Ikigai? Do you never have to do other things again?

If everyone lives their Ikigai, it does not mean that the garbage will no longer be collected. In fact, I think the world will get better. The only thing we have to watch out for is that you don’t  just do the things you like. That is a big pitfall. There are other things besides your Ikigai too. Those things have to be done too.

We also need to do the things that need to be done. Washing the dishes, ironing, tidying up… But luckily we can also make that fun. You should still be able to be satisfied with the daily things in your life that just have to go on. If you can be satisfied and happy with that too, then you can live a happy life.

In addition: there are people who can find innovation in their Ikigai: making machines, making dreams come true, inventing new things … It could very well happen that they can come up with innovations that make household chores easier and more fun.

Good luck finding your Ikigai

Use the tips and steps in this article and find your Ikigai. Good luck!

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!