Ikiagi- “A Reason For Being”

Ikiagi- “A Reason For Being”

Ikigai – (ee-key-guy)

A new decade is upon us. Probably most of are trying to focus and keep our new year resolutions which involves a positive consequence on life. Perhaps eating healthier, dieting and focusing in mental heath and physical health.

In our daily life we often deal with stress and hardship, limited time and not enough time to focus one’s hobbies. This is how it is for the most of us. Stress and work can lead to increased probability of mortality. Life is to short for us not to work on our passion, however, for some of us, life is a bit longer.

The people who live on Okinawa Islands are among the longest living people in this world, additionally the women live the longest than anyone on this planet. Residents of Okinawa Islands are less likely to contract cancer, heart diseases and dementia. The way of life a longer life is not following their diet plan which would be consisting of bitter melon, sea kelp, seaweed, cumber-like gourd, soybeans and jasmine tea but additionally exercise, finding a purpose of life (Ikigai), and forming social ties.

Working out and social ties is something you have heard about before. But what is this ikigai?

The concept of Ikigai was created on the Okinawa Islands and roughly translated into English as: A reason for being or ‘Life’s worth’.

Iki =Life – Gai = worth

Ikigai = Life’s worth

It has 4 directions: 

  • Do what you love
  • Do what you’re good at
  • Do what you can be rewarded for
  • Do what the world needs

This is the vital parts of ikigai. To help you find out your personal purpose in life. These 4 directions should lead you on a great journey.

It is not only the people on the Okinawa Islands that lived longer, people who practise Ikigai outside the Okinawa has a decreased risk of mortality from all causes in the long-term.

Additionally, higher well-being was reported with less depressive symptoms. There was a positive correlation found between ikigai and leisure enjoyment and leisure effort. Through ikigai, leisure pursuits become more enjoyable.

It is not too early, neither too late to start to find your reason of being. It does not happen overnight or within a day. Think of it as a job. As a part-time job, as there is no need to immediately quit your daily job. Eventually you’ll have ikigai as a fulltime job and eventually you will own the company. Working on what you love to do will eventually lead you to gain sustainable rewards.

You could start right now, once you are done reading this by writing three list. The first is your values, the second is things you enjoy doing, and things you are good at. The cross section would of your three list is your ikigai.

 “The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”


By Nicholai Randolf Martin

Assistant Psychologist @WeAreHumanCounselling


García, H., Miralles, F., & Cleary, H. (2017). Ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. New York: Penguin Books.





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