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Find your Ikigai. Do You Have One?

I have worked with thousands of people in my time as an occupational therapist, and one thing that nearly all of them have in common is that they have no idea about the direction they want to take in life.


The Struggle with Uncertainty


You feel lost when you don't have a clear sense of direction.


There is an uncertainty that looms over you like a storm cloud, casting a shadow of doubt over your future.


Your mind races with possibilities and what-ifs, leaving you feeling anxious and stressed.


Without a clear direction, it can be challenging to find motivation and purpose in your life.


You may feel like you're going through the motions but with no real aim or target.


The abundance of choices and possibilities can be overwhelming, leading to indecisiveness.


As you look around and see others with clear goals and direction, it's easy to feel inadequate.


Comparing yourself to others makes it even harder to find your path. This sense of disconnection from oneself can be a lonely and isolating experience.


The Distraction Era

These overwhelming feelings drive many to seek distraction, which is easy to find in our society.


We have access to endless forms of entertainment, such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, PlayStation, and Netflix.


Consumer culture is keeping you stuck and directionless.

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone," said the French philosopher Blaise Pascal in the 1600s.

This quote rings even truer in today's society.


Many people feel lost and directionless because they have trouble facing their emotions.


The answer is within you, but you haven't taken the time to explore it.


Unlocking Your Inner Compass


You possess the power to discover what you truly want to do in life.


It's an inner feeling that signals when something is the right choice.


Unfortunately, many people don't allow themselves to connect with this essential part of who they are.


This inner compass is your intuition.


We've all experienced that gut feeling, that inner knowing that something isn't right or that a decision is the correct one.


But it's subtle and easy to overlook unless you take the time to listen.


To listen to your intuition is to spend time alone with your thoughts.


Ask yourself questions and take the time to listen to what answer feels true to you.


Navigating Life's Course


One common objection is getting bogged down in the "how."


People become so preoccupied with 'figuring out' the details that they fall into analysis paralysis.


Here is the best piece of advice I have received:


You don't need to know the how; you need to know the direction you're going.

Think of it like a sailboat adjusting its course based on the wind and currents.


As long as it keeps moving in the right direction, it eventually reaches its destination.


To do this, start by asking yourself the right questions.


Remember, the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask yourself.


Discovering Your Ikigai


Envision your ideal life:

  • Where do you want to live

  • Who do you want to be

  • What do you want to do


To do this, you can use an ancient Japanese philosophy called Ikigai.




How to Use Ikigai to Find Your Direction


Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means your 'reason for being.' 'Iki' in Japanese means 'life,' and 'gai' describes value or worth.


Ikigai is a powerful framework that can help you find your direction in life. It offers a way to uncover your true purpose by examining four key elements.


Let's delve into these elements and the questions you need to ask yourself to discover your personal Ikigai.


Do this in a quiet room with no distractions. Grab a notebook and a pen and find a comfortable space where you can focus for the next 30 minutes.


  1. What you love (Passion): This element focuses on your interests, hobbies, and activities that bring you happiness and joy. Reflect on the following questions:

  • What activities make me lose track of time?

  • What tasks or hobbies bring a smile to my face?

  • What do I look forward to doing in my free time?

  1. What you're good at (Profession): This section is about your skills, talents, and strengths. Ask yourself:

  • What tasks do I excel at, both in my personal and professional life?

  • What skills have I developed over the years?

  • What do others frequently compliment me on or seek my help with?

  1. What the world needs (Mission): This element focuses on the impact you want to have on the world and the needs you can address. Consider these questions:

  • What problems or challenges in the world am I passionate about solving?

  • What causes do I deeply care about?

  • How can I use my skills and passions to make a difference in the lives of others?

  1. What you can be paid for (Vocation): This section is about finding the intersection between your skills and the market's needs. Reflect on the following:

  • What job or career could I pursue that would utilize my skills and passions?

  • How can I turn my talents and interests into a sustainable income?

  • Are there any industries or markets where my skills and knowledge are in high demand?

As you explore these questions, look for the common threads that weave through your answers.


The intersection of these four elements – your passion, profession, mission, and vocation – is your Ikigai.


Once you've identified these guiding posts, they'll become the target you're aiming for, much like a baseball player tracking a fly ball.


When you have your eyes on the prize, your body and mind will naturally move toward it without overthinking.


Embarking on Your Journey

Now is the time to embrace your intuition and unlock the potential within you.


Don't let distractions and self-doubt hold you back any longer.


Start asking yourself the right questions and begin your journey towards a more fulfilling, purpose-driven life.


One step at a time.


I wish you well.


Stefan.

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