Valued Experiences

What is the best way to achieve ikigai?

For Dr. Shintaro Kono, ikigai is an experiential aspect. People can attain ikigai through their valued experiences -- the values that people collect from enjoyment, effort, stimulation, and comfort.

Shintaro: One of the major finding is that there are different ways -- students don't just do enjoyment or effortful experiences. It's understandable that we have many of them. For example, so my students are varsity athletes, and their life tends to be all about sports.

But then when they were asked about ikigai, yes they have some pictures from sports and athletics, but also they have pictures of hanging out with other friends or studying or a trip, or whatever that might be. 

So they really talk about different experiences, and what that does is basically bringing different values to their life, to their kind of life. So that goes back to ikigai perception -- feeling that your life is worth living. 

Their perception of life worthiness, again, it's not like philosophical questioning: "Is my life worth living?" -- not that kind of questioning, but it was really experiential. 

It’s based on the more values you collect basically from enjoyment, efforts, simulation, comfort, arguably the better. Your ikigai level gets higher because you have more things to ground your perception of ikigai into.

That leads to what I called value diversification. You want to not to have, for example, 10 enjoyable experiences. You’d rather want to have, for example, two of enjoyment, two of effort, two of stimulation, two of comfort so that you have four experienced values represented in your life at a time. That’s one thing.

You can do that by having totally different experiences. For example, athletics require effort. Let’s say you also hang out with friends, which is enjoyment, that kind of stuff. You can do that.

Another thing you can do, it is actually you can identify different values in one dominant experience. For example, again, athletics, let’s use the example of athletics because it’s so dominant.

Investing a lot of time. Practicing sports can be very much effortful, but at the same time, if you think about the sports there are some casual hanging out with their teammates and stuff like that.

You can identify somebody’s enjoyment. Well, you can feel so much comfort and relaxed with their teammates because you spent so much time with them. But at the same time if you, for example, travel to a new place because of a tournament, that could give you some stimulating experience as well.

If you actually can recognize those different aspects and there are different types of value in one experience, you can still maintain a high level of ikigai arguably because of those diversified values.