What do you get when you take an astrologer, a Venn diagram, and the Japanese word ikigai?
When searching for ikigai online, most results show a diagram. But it's important to explore the diagram's origins and question if it truly represents the authentic meaning of ikigai.In this episode of the Ikigai Podcast, Nick speaks with Andres Zuzunaga, who created the Purpose Venn Diagram that has become almost the definitive source of understanding about ikigai in the West. They will discuss the origins of this diagram and its relationship with the ikigai concept.
- Cosmograma. At 2:01, Andres talks about Cosmograma, and his works about cosmology.
- Purpose Venn Diagram. At 10:50, Nick and Andres discuss the Purpose Venn Diagram that Andres created.
- Merging the concept with ikigai. At 17:48, Andres talks about how his diagram merged with the ikigai concept.
- The first encounter with ikigai. At 25:20, Andres recalls the first time he saw his graph being associated with ikigai.
- Importance of finding purpose. At 28:00, Andres shares why helping people find their purpose is important for him.
- Andres’ advice. At 33:13, Andres gives advice on how people can find purpose in life.
- Zuzunaga’s diagram. At 37:47, Andres explains why he doesn’t have a name for his diagram.
Andrés Zuzunaga Venn
Andres' website and astrology school are titled "Cosmograma," inspired by a flat, geometric figure representing cosmology. He believes that astrology connects with psychology, science, society, and philosophy. In light of the chaotic global events, he emphasizes the need for self-reflection and contemplating one's purpose.
According to Andres, focusing on inner transformation is more significant than external circumstances, as it allows individuals to discover their true selves, their purpose in life, and their potential contributions to the world. His approach to astrology centers around understanding each person's role in the world rather than attempting to control external forces.
The important thing is not what happens outside, but what happens inside. Who I am, what am I here for, and what can I give to the world? That's my vision about astrology. - Andres Zuzunaga
Nick concurs, emphasizing that having a sense of purpose is essential for personal growth and attaining profound satisfaction in life.
Purpose Venn Diagram
Andres reveals that the concept of the diagram came to him as a sudden inspiration. He conceived the idea of translating a natal chart, which captures the snapshot of the sky at the moment of a person's birth, into a simplified diagram. This diagram aimed to focus on key elements such as people's passions and talents.
In 2012, Andres' Purpose Venn Diagram made its debut in Borja Vilaseca's book titled "Que Harías Si No Tuvieras Miedo" (What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?). Borja, the founder of the Master's in Personal Development and Leadership program at the University of Barcelona, primarily caters to white-collar workers undergoing life crises. Recognizing the value of Andres' insights, Borja invited him to analyze his students' natal charts to aid them in discovering their life's purpose.
Merging the concept with ikigai
Andres initially created the diagram to share it within his circle of friends and community, unaware of the significant impact it would have on people. Unexpectedly, the diagram gained widespread recognition when it merged with the concept of ikigai, thanks to Marc Winn. Initially, Andres felt frustrated as others used his diagram without proper acknowledgment.
However, he chose to let it go, realizing that it wasn't personal. Deep down, he believed that if he hadn't created the diagram, someone else would have, as similar ideas can manifest in different individuals. Ultimately, Andres appreciated that Winn not only understood the diagram but also felt inspired to share it with others.
First encounter with ikigai
Andres admits that while he has seen a TED talk on ikigai, he lacks in-depth knowledge about it. He acknowledges that his diagram may not align completely with the concept of ikigai since it wasn't at the forefront of his mind during its creation.
He believes that individuals like Nick, who possess a genuine interest in understanding the true essence of ikigai, should take the initiative to share the concept with others. There is a lack of awareness about ikigai among many people in the Western world, making it important for enthusiasts like Nick to spread its significance.
Importance of finding purpose
When asked about why he thinks helping people find their purpose is important, Andres shares that it is related to his natal chart. He is a Leo who wants to shine. Initially, he had no interest in becoming an astrologer. He studied economics in New York and worked as a programmer for ten years, but felt empty and lost.
He went to an astrologer who told him that he could be an excellent astrologer, and that encounter led him to reach a deep understanding about himself that brought him great peace and acceptance. Subsequently, he decided to devote himself to psychological astrology.
Andres advises individuals seeking their life's purpose to embrace the idea that their true selves are intricately connected to the world around them. He suggests considering consulting an astrologer for a psychological lecture or analysis of their natal chart. Such an exploration provides a map that can guide individuals toward discovering their reason for existence.
Open your mind and ask an astrologer to give you a psychological lecture or analysis of your natal chart. You will surely find purpose there. - Andres Zuzunaga
Regarding his own diagram, Andres humbly expresses discomfort in claiming personal credit. He explains that he didn't have a specific name for it but placed a central star symbolizing purpose, which he believes is crucial for individuals to uncover.
It is ironic that Andres Zuzunaga’s Purpose Venn Diagram has become the dominant visual symbol of ikigai in the West, considering his lack of familiarity with the concept when he originally created the image. Although Zuzunaga is an advocate of using astrology to help find one’s purpose, he is positive about related methods and concepts, such as ikigai, since he feels that an understanding of purpose is key to a fulfilling existence.