What is it that makes you get out of bed each day? Is it obligation? Habit? Or purpose? If it is the latter, you are very fortunate. A sense of purpose is the single most powerful contributing factor to one’s health and vitality.
A significant health factor
This claim is made by Oscar Serrallach, an integrative medical doctor. He suggests “[those] who transcend common health challenges despite not having lived by the book, in terms of healthy lifestyle factors … seem to be the most aligned or ‘called’ towards some primary focus of meaning in their life“.
There is a Japanese word for this – ikigai – which means having purpose or a reason for being. It’s our raison d’être. It is suggested that having a sense of purpose affects our mental and spiritual state. This call to purpose enables us to have clarity of our intentions so that we work towards our goals more effectively.
Finding your ikigai
Finding your purpose is not a simple answer to a simple question. It requires soul-searching and an examination of a deeper sense of who we are and what is important for us. When determining the things you do in your life you tend to focus on education, professional/work life directions and other lifestyle choices. These can be quite rational and logical decision-making processes.
Finding a sense of purpose is deeper than that. It is more about finding your “passion”. I sometimes cringe when asked what my passion is – mostly because I am not sure I can really answer it. I admire people who have passion for something. It energises them and enables them to pursue it despite challenges and obstacles that may present.
Some things to consider
Here are some questions to ponder that may help you to find your ikigai. Use these with the ikigai diagram provided here to help arrive at the sweet spot at the intersection of your mission, passion, vocation and profession.
Passion – What are you great at?
What unique skills do you have that come most naturally to you?
What talents have you cultivated and what do you excel at even when you aren’t trying?
Vocation – What cause do you believe in?
What breaks your heart or pulls at your gut?
What change would you most love to create in the world?
What would you give your life for?
Profession – What do people value and pay you for?
What service, value or offering do you bring, or could you bring, that brings real value to others?
This could be something people need and are happy to pay for or share some value in exchange.
Perhaps you already have your ikigai sorted? Well done. For those that don’t – I wish you well on your quest. It is an ongoing search for me. There are moments that I think I get close, then things change. Perhaps I am looking too hard, and not letting intuition serve me?
I would love to hear your story below if you would like to share it.
Ikigai: Finding your Reason for Being by Chip Richards, in Uplift – 14 May 2016