How To Find And Do Work That You Love (Ikigai)

Ravindugunarathna
3 min readMay 30, 2021

WHAT IS IKIGAI?

Ikigai, is a Japanese concept about finding your individual purpose, or in other words: “what is worth living for”, or “your reason for getting up every morning”. It covers 4 aspects that will help you find a job to love.

The combination of words mean:

“iki” (life/living) + “kai” (value/result)

The four circles in a Venn diagram, best illustrate this concept in order to find the point of intersection between your: mission, passion, calling and career.

The 4 areas every person should explore are:

  1. What do I love?
  2. What am I really good at?
  3. What does the world need?
  4. What can I earn money with?

So how can you find a job to love?

You can start by drawing the diagram and filling it out with keywords, ideas or pictures that suit you best.

What are you really good at — is there a job that reflects these skills? What can you do that is of use to others? Is there something you can contribute to the world?

Try to analyze the point where all your answers meet together. If you look at the complete diagram, you will find connections. Take your time answering these questions. You could also include a second person and compare results. It is important to keep an open mind so that your ‘ikigai’ will become clear.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

This section is about exploring what you love doing, what brings you joy.

When we choose a field of study and a job, we go for the convenient, the known, the recognized. We do it to please someone else. But that makes us overlook what we truly love doing in life.

DO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT

This bit of the map covers what you have learned to do thanks to your training or experience. Your skills are what you CAN do whereas your strengths are what you ENJOY doing. They might be the same, they might be different. If you’re stuck, have a look at this list of skills and this list of strengths.

DO SOMETHING THE WORLD NEEDS

This aspect of Ikigai is quite an important one. It makes you think about the impact you want to have on your community.

DO SOMETHING YOU CAN BE PAID FOR

This last part of the Ikigai map is about securing an income — yes, we need one of these. Think broadly and don’t limit your possibilities when answering these questions. Who knows, one of these ideas could be your future job!

After That?

After reflecting on the first 4 questions, try to find the point of intersection? It can be a mix of concrete activities and abstract principles that could guide you.

Finding your ikigai can be helpful in many ways, in knowing what profession to look for, what to improve in order to reach your goals and discovering what is important to you. You’ve just dealt with perhaps the most crucial questions you will come across in your life.

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Ravindugunarathna

Software Engineering Graduate at University Of Kelaniya | Software Engineer |Tech Enthusiasist