The past months, I’ve been seeing the word “konmari” everywhere in social media and magazines, especially from mommy friends. Here’s another Japanese word which doesn’t only sound cute, but has a very good meaning behind it.

I first heard this from the Design your Life Workshop conducted by Jackie Caniza of Haraya Coaching. Simply put, ikigai is the reason you get up each day in the morning.

Here is an excerpt from Business Insider’s article The Japanese concept of Ikigai could be the secret to a long, meaningful life

While there is no direct English translation, ikigai is thought to combine the Japanese words ikiru, meaning “to live,” and kai, meaning “the realization of what one hopes for.” Together these definitions create the concept of “a reason to live” or the idea of having a purpose in life.

To find this reason or purpose, experts recommend starting with four questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need from you?
  • What can you get paid for?


    Ikigai by Wikimedia Commons

Finding the answers and a balance between these four areas could be a route to ikigai for Westerners looking for a quick interpretation of this philosophy. But in Japan, ikigai is a slower process and often has nothing to do with work or income.

Try it! This might just be the answer to whatever it is you’re going through now. Share your ikigai in the comments section below.