What is the connection of the soul to ikigai? Where does it fit into the concept of ikigai? Saori Okada explains the need to understand our soul to live a life of ikigai -- a life worth living.
Nick: That's something that's not really talked about in the West. And as you found out ikigai is this romanticized kind of notion that it's from Okinawa, and it's about living a long life. There's also a Venn diagram involved. So let's talk about your experience of learning about the West's fascination with ikigai.
How did that come about? I think you mentioned that a friend mentioned it to you first, in the States?
Saori: Yes, it was very serendipitous, in many ways, because it was probably at the beginning of 2020, or probably in the summer. At my job, I was in the woman's board, and we were doing a presentation about professional development; we had a speaker come on, and they were sharing about some frameworks that they found helpful.
She started with this ikigai Venn diagram, and I remember freezing, I was just so shocked, to be honest. Because I was so surprised that I saw this concept. I know I shared last time, but it was more of such pain in my soul. I think that's the best way I could describe it. Such sadness from my heart, because ikigai is such a beautiful concept, and it's so nuanced.
It's not something that could be put on paper and like, no, a formula, unfortunately. So I think it was, that was the first time I saw it and was heartbroken. Then the second time was the same, maybe like one day later, my best friend in London was doing a purpose program that was well regarded in the UK. And she reached out to me and said, "Oh, I didn't know Japan had this framework, this Venn diagram."
And again, I was very sad. I think at this point, I was going through the grieving stages. So I think I turned to anger more, I was enraged, I was enraged why are they taking such a beautiful concept and putting it like this? And then last, but not least, I was listening to one of my podcasts, and they were talking about this ikigai Venn diagram.
I think it was one of those, like, professional development podcasts that I like. And yeah, I think it was like a researcher referencing this Venn diagram, and that was very much the icing on the cake, where I kept seeing it, which, ultimately, you know, after I grieve, I came to appreciation where I think it's beautiful that the West is so interested in this concept.
Because to me, that just shows us that they really are looking for a different way of wanting to be and live a life, which is wonderful. But I just think that the Venn diagram is a limiting framework. And if you really want to understand what ikigai is, then it's unfortunately not been there.