Find your own ikigai by asking yourself how you want to serve your community. If you are undecided, remember your dreams from when you were younger, maybe in your youth.
– Tsutomu Hotta
How To Find Your Ikigai
In 2007 as chairman of the Japan NGO Council on Aging, Tsutomu Hotta presented a message for seniors that defined what he meant by the term ikigai. His speech outline below offers a six-step framework on how to find your ikigai.
1. Use your abilities to the fullest in society. You will gain great satisfaction and will be proud of yourself. I believe this is IKIGAI.
2. Use your abilities for others and for your community. Your dedication will be appreciated, and you will realize what you value in life.
3. Listen to your heart, listen to your body. You will be a happier person, and your happiness will benefit society as well.
4. Love and cooperate with your family. They can be relied on to help you create your chosen way of life.
5. Have good friends. They are the ones who will understand what you want to do, help you take your first steps toward a new way of life, and work with you toward your goal.
6. Find your own IKIGAI by asking yourself how you want to serve your community.
Remember Your Dreams
If you are undecided, remember your dreams from when you were younger, maybe in your youth. If your youthful dream was to become a professional baseball player, why not volunteer as a coach for your neighborhood children’s team. If you once dreamed of becoming a kindergarten teacher, now is the time for your dreams to come true by participating in community programs for small children. If you wanted to be prime minister of the country, organize an NPO to monitor government performance. If you wanted to become an actress, make a debut stage in an NPO-sponsored event.
It is my strong belief that every person has the ability to make herself or himself and other people happier. This ability should not be for the profit of commercial companies but rather for the benefit of the community. Communities will become friendlier places and will have less of a burden to bear in terms of the social costs expended on seniors.
Tsutomu Hotta has been a champion for the welfare of the aged for almost thirty years through The Sawayaka Welfare Foundation. Founded in 1991 by Hotta, it promotes the Fureai Kippu system, a time banking system where volunteers trade time rather than conventional currency for services. This Fureai Kippu system is now used all over the world.
Furei Kippu – Trading Time
Tsutomu Hotaa appears in the video below where he discusses the Furei Kippu system – a time banking system of community exchange that builds warm mutual relationships. He sees the Fruei Kippu system as a superior system to the money-driven economy that has created a cold and unfriendly society.