In English we call it life purpose. In Sanskrit we call it Dharma. Apparently in Japan they call it ikigai. The concept is always the same, are you living according to your reason for being?
Photo credit: Toronto graphic
Because we spend most of our adult life at work, it is very important to do something that we can find fulfillment in. Sometimes we just choose a career when we are young and get stuck with it even though it makes us miserable in our day to day life.
If you are lucky enough to find something that answers all of these questions then you have found your ikigal:
- What is it that I love doing?
- What am I good at?
- What does the world need?
- What will I get paid for?
I know some of you are now thinking, I have 3 of these, that's enough, but apparently only the middle point of passion, vocation, mission and profession will make us get up in the morning with a spring in our step.
If you are thinking, 'it's too late', 'I can't change what I do', 'someone has to pay the bills' then notice that may be the fear talking. Take the courage to ask yourself these questions and live the life that you are destined to live. At the end of the day it is our choice, we can decide to change our life or come up with plenty of reasons not to. Sometimes when 1 or more points are missing, it does start to manifest in our life as emptiness, stress, sickness or in several other ways, forcing us to change. Try to be ahead of the game, don't wait for this push but make the leap yourself.
I know it sounds like a lot of clichés, but I have experienced this personally. After graduating from University I worked as an auditor in a Big Four accounting firm. I loved what I did, I was good at it, it paid well, but after a while it just nagged at me 'Is this really useful for society? Is this really what I am here for?' I avoided answering these questions by having children and becoming a full time mum for a decade. Interestingly enough I did not go back to my chosen profession as I did not feel it was my life purpose any more. I tried other things, like video editing, where the factor missing was 'What is it that I love doing?' as it got boring quickly and I did not enjoy doing it anymore. Then came Yoga. Now I am extremely grateful to say, that slowly but surely all four questions are coming together (main area of work here is the getting paid for it :-)). I wake up with a spring in my step and that is the biggest gift anyone can have. Trust me, it was NOT an easy road for me either...