Ikigai in Social Relations

We often look for purpose or meaning in our lives. But how exactly can we attain it? What are the essential aspects that we need to consider to find life meaning?

Nick and
Motoki Tonn talk about the importance of having social engagements; how people can find life meaning through the relationships that they build with others.

Motoki: But I think, we have this ikigai question of: is ikigai related to our social environment? Can I find ikigai on my own or is it in resonance with other people? Viktor Frankl will be really precise about that, that you find meaning only when you kind of act beyond yourself. 

So there comes self-transcendence into it, but also the other people. So if you stay in your own box, if you stay there in your house, and you do nothing, there's no engagement, and this is close to positive psychology as well. 

So without engagement, one can hardly find his or her meaning of life. So that happens when we reach out and engage with other people. 

Nick: I agree with that. I'm trying to remember this quote. But basically, it was from an author, I think from around the same time Kamiya, maybe earlier. But basically, he said something along the lines that young people are saying that they have no ikigai.

And he basically said, this is obvious, you can't have ikigai when you have no social relations. You can only find ikigai in this context of social relations, where you go beyond yourself. When I actually translated it, I thought it was almost written for today, like with our addictions to screens and social media. 

We're trying to find it in a course or in a blog post or in an Instagram photo. But we do have to have these social connections, and maybe we definitely have to go beyond our own needs and desires, and help others. 

And it goes to these ideas of contribution. When we do find significance, it is through these intimate exchanges with people, rather than the achievement of personal goals that, again, tend to be extrinsically motivated, we're looking for a certain amount of money, or, we've lost a certain amount of weight or we look a certain way. 

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