All these are great in terms of 1 year to 5 year goals. But how about 10 year goals? Or even farther? Wouldn’t it be great if you can somehow have a target for the next decade or so and work your way back and see what you need to achieve along the way to get to that goal? That’s exactly what im going to talk about here.
Now these types of goals may not necessarily be related to your studies. its possible that it may not even have anything to do with your current career, and thats perfectly fine. I personally believe that's a good thing. Like i said in a previous post, your career is not the game, life is. Your career is just a part of it, and possibly a means for you to achieve your life goals.
Ikigai means “a reason for being” or could be interpreted as “a reason to get up in the morning”. Now you may have thought about this one way or another. You may have asked this question to yourself a dozen times. You probably are at the stage of your life where you feel stuck.
Ikigai is a concept which helps us assess ourselves and find out what most likely is a good path to take in our lives, specially if you are confused. Sometimes we just don’t know what we want to do, sometimes we want to do so many things. Overall, Ikigai helps us to reach a point of self-realization. It could also teach us to check on ourselves every once in a while and make it a regular exercise (more on this later).
If you’re going to try this out, I suggest do it in a quiet place. Set some aside some time to do this. It’s going to require a lot of thinking and diving deep into your inner most thoughts. It will guide you to answer some of the most difficult questions about yourself, and your place in the world. It will help you reflect and become more self-aware. Take your time, you may not even be able to answer all these questions immediately, but it will stick and will keep you thinking about it. Which is a good thing, that’s what we are after in this exercise.
How it works
What you need to do is go through each circle surrounding the middle part, the Ikigai. List down the things that apply to each one - what you love, what you're good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs. It sounds simple but let me tell you it's not. Once you're done then you can identify which of the things you listed appears in all circles. It's possible to identify one, a few, or many. You can then place them in the middle, and whatever you have there, that's your Ikigai. Again, it sounds simple, but let me tell you that it's possible to keep going back and forth with this. This is perfectly normal, as this could lead to fine-tuning your Ikigai, hence fine-tuning your life. I hope you get that "aha" moment once you get this. If you happen to find yourself not having anything to move towards the middle, go through it again, give it another thought. You are not required to get it in the first try. What's important is the process of discovering yourself and becoming more self-aware.
Now don't be surprised if the result of your Ikigai is not exactly the long term goal you are looking for. Let me just make it clear that it's not meant to be like that. But it's easy to realize that whatever appears in the middle of that diagram will form your long term goal, you're reason to get up each morning and start getting to work. It could consist of multiple things, all these things you love, and it's really up to you how to mix them all together to form your overarching life plan.
There’s really not much I can say more about this, and that this is something you’re going to spend more time on your own. The last suggestion I have for this topic is that it can be a good practice to schedule this exercise once a year or twice a year to continuously assess yourself. Things change, life keeps on changing, and so is our desires or even our passion in life. Our circumstances can drag us into situations where we never thought we would be a year before or just a couple of months before. You never really know, so it’s good to keep coming back and check on yourself. Where you are in life, the state of your mind, your body, your spirit. All of these has effects on the potential path we want to walk towards and we may have to make little adjustments along the way. Life is never a straight line.
Let me know how you did with finding your Ikigai. If you're comfortable to share it then I’d love to talk about what you came up with. This process has helped me a lot in discovering more about myself and I’d like to share it with everyone. I encourage you to share this with your family and friends as well. Let’s make a better world by making ourselves better first, only then we can serve others.