Ikigai is the Japenese word describing pleasure and meaning for life. It is broken up into Iki (to live) and gai (reason). Studies have shown that in the Okinawa culture people live the longest because even long after they don’t have a 9 to 5, they have found purpose and meaning to life. It’s a secret sauce of intersecting what you are good at, can be paid for, love doing, and the world needs.

It’s not impossible work, but it takes time and thought.

Try it. Sit down with this sheet and start to write words under each section. Perhaps the world needs less air pollution, and you love sea turtles and can be paid for working on an invention to recycle things into fabric more cost-effectively. I think yoga pants made out of plastic bottles is a thing already, but you get my point.

Try to write down things that are possibly not even jobs or things you have ever considered and see where it leads you. You may find a lovely activity for your family, or a hobby, or a volunteer position that will keep you loving life even more. I will say, you may get stuck. And that’s totally normal and ok. Come back to the sheet, or redo it a few weeks later. Nothing is set in stone but I will say, years ago I filled out the “world needs” section with more beautiful design. So that just is as simple as it gets for me as a designer and still holds true. Be vague or specific. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you pause, slow down, and enjoy the process of discovery.

If you want to dig deeper, the book (quick read) is very interesting as well. Let me know how it went! Would love to hear your thoughts.

Download the ikigai worksheet here.