Ikigai – Finding Your Life’s Purpose


Ikigai is a Japanese concept that refers to finding one's purpose or reason for being. It combines the Japanese words "iki", meaning "life," and "gai", which describes value or worth. Ikigai is about discovering what makes life truly meaningful and fulfilling, aligning your passions, values, and talents with your daily activities and work.


Ikigai can be a powerful tool for personal growth, self-discovery, and achieving a sense of purpose and satisfaction in life. It encourages individuals to reflect on their values, interests, and abilities, and to find ways to integrate them into their daily lives and work. By aligning these elements, individuals can experience a greater sense of fulfillment, motivation, and overall well-being.  Ikigai can be used as a personal development tool to help individuals find their purpose and align their professional and personal lives. It can also be applied in organizational settings to enhance employee satisfaction and productivity by aligning roles with individual passions and strengths.


The concept of Ikigai is often represented by a Venn diagram with four intersecting circles: what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. The intersection in the middle of these four elements is considered the "sweet spot" of Ikigai, where individuals can find their true purpose and meaning in life.
  1. What you love: This circle represents your passions, interests, and the activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
  2. What you're good at: This circle represents your skills, talents, and abilities that you have developed over time.
  3. What the world needs: This circle represents the needs and demands of society, the problems that need to be solved, and the contributions you can make to the world.
  4. What you can be paid for: This circle represents the opportunities for financial stability and sustainability through your work or activities.
By aligning these four elements, individuals can find a sense of purpose, meaning, and satisfaction in their daily lives and work. Ikigai encourages individuals to pursue activities and careers that align with their values, passions, and talents, while also contributing to the greater good and providing a sustainable income.

Sample Activity

To facilitate an Ikigai exploration activity, you can guide participants through the following steps:
  1. Venn Diagram: Provide participants with a Venn diagram template or draw one on a whiteboard/flipchart. Explain the four circles and their meanings.
  2. Reflection: Ask participants to reflect on their passions, interests, values, skills, and talents. Encourage them to make lists or mind maps to capture their thoughts.
  3. Mapping: Have participants list their responses for each circle, considering what they love, what they're good at, what the world needs, and what they can be paid for.
  4. Intersection: Guide participants to identify the areas where their responses intersect, representing their potential Ikigai or life's purpose.
  5. Sharing: In pairs, ask participants to share their maps, insights, challenges, and potential actions to align their Ikigai with their daily lives and work.


The concept of Ikigai originates from the Japanese island of Okinawa, known for its high population of centenarians.

Target Audience:

  • Individuals
  • Students
  • Coaches
  • Educators

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