Asian woman smiling outdoors bokeh

Is the secret to happiness ikigai? Combining the Japanese words iki (life) and gai (value or worth) yields ikigai. One might think of the word essentially about finding your purpose in life.

Ikigai is sometimes represented as a Venn diagram with the following overlapping elements: 1) what you love; 2) what you are good at 3) what the world needs; and 4) what you can be paid for. At the intersection of these elements is ikigai. If you are retired, simply remove the last.

You might start by making lists within the aforementioned four elements, and try to determine what is at the center of all of them. Alternatively, throughout the day, we might ask ourselves: Why are we doing this? With success, you may find yourself in a slow state, one in which we lose the sense of time passing. You have probably been there, when you are so absorbed in a task that you forget to eat or drink. By asking the question regularly, you may find yourself saying “no” to things you sideline are at which are not particularly skillful, instead focusing on the things you love and are good at. Perhaps you will explore new hobbies. For me, recent additions to my life have included vinyasa flow yoga, and a heightened focus on mastering Japanese language. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.


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Dr. Michael Hunter

1 Comment


    November 16, 2017

    I love your blog! I have tried to leave comments before, and I am rejected as a possible bot…Hmmm…another surprise, right?

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