Find meaning, purpose and happiness in your life.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that you can use to enjoy your day to day activities, find clarity and purpose in your life and achieve your goals. It can also help you live longer and give you motivation and resilience in times of hardship. 

In the environment we now live in, we face a world of constant pressure. We are so distracted and energy depleted that each day we forget to take the time to enjoy the small joys of life. 

All that can change if you find and live your ikigai.

ikigai chart diagram

Ikigai Misunderstood



What is Ikigai?

The concept of ikigai has been greatly misunderstood outside of Japan with many people, millions of people actually, believing it is defined by the ‘Purpose Venn Diagram. This is not what ikigai means to the Japanese. All those life coaches on Youtube and all those bloggers explaining ikgai using this framework have got it wrong.

Ikigai is not the pursuit of an almost unattainable life goal, but rather the pursuit of day to day purpose and happiness.


‘Ikigai translated into English as ‘life purpose’ sounds quite formidable, but ikigai need not be the one overriding purpose of a person’s life. In fact, the word life aligns more with daily life. In other words, ikigai can be about the joy a person finds living day-to-day, without which their life as a whole would not be a happy one.’

– Akihiro Hasegawa (Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist), from the book IKIGAI – Giving Every Day Meaning And Joy, by Yukari Mitsuhashi


There Is No Ikigai Framework

There is no framework that the Japanese use to understand or find their ikigai. Japanese learn the word Ikigai when they are young and understand its multifaceted meaning as they grow and experience life.

If we use the Venn Diagram to visualise what ikigai really means to Japanese then it would look like this:


In this representation, your daily life is at the center, and the overlapping circles represent areas of your life where you can find ikigai. It’s important to understand that Japanese find ikigai in various areas of their lives - from small everyday rituals to the pursuit of meaningful goals.

This illustrates that Ikigai is not a sweet spot of doing something that you love, that you are good at, that the world needs, and that you can be paid for, but a rich spectrum where you can find ikigai in the realm of small things, in the practice of a hobby, in your roles and relationships, and by simply living your values.

We can see that Ikigai is something easily achievable, not a single formidable life goal that might take us years to achieve as represented by the Westernised version.

Where You Can Find Your Ikigai?

Connection & Harmony - in the building of harmonious relationships that align with your values.

Creativity & Flow - when reaching a flow state in your hobbies, interests or work, and by expressing your creative self.

Gratitude & Contribution - by expressing gratitude, and in the helping of others via your life roles.

Rituals & Small Joys - when being present while performing daily rituals, and in appreciating the small joys of life.

Japanese ikigai

When You Have Ikigai

When you have ikigai you are full of life and actively pursue what you enjoy doing.

You find meaning in your life through interpersonal connections, intimate relationships and in your creative pursuits. When you reflect upon the meaning of your life you are satisfied and find that you have plenty to live for.

In performing your various life roles you have a sense of purpose as you contribute to your family, workplace, and community. You also find that you have a lot to be grateful for and express this to family, friends and the people around you.

Despite the constraints of life, you often experience a true sense of freedom in your hobbies, interests and work. You also find freedom and joy in the little things and in the practice of daily rituals.

When you have ikigai, your life is not stagnant, nor boring. You grow and embrace change as you anticipate a bright future ahead of you. Even during challenging times and after negative life events your ikigai can guide you to a positive new direction.

This is what ikigai is to the Japanese.