Don’t Be an Icky Guy (or Gal) Find Your Purpose with Ikigai
How Are You Doing?
I want to ask you a question. How are you doing? It’s been a year since we started to lock down and be stuck in our own environments. I’ve been working from home for a long time but I do miss getting out and having coffees and going to networking groups and meeting people face-to-face. That’s going to make a come back soon, but it’s taken its toll. Has it taken a toll on you?
Every day, for entertainment, I do a caption contest at night and I post a quote of the day in the morning.
This one caption contest I did had a guy that was bare-chested, had a mustache that started on his nose and went all the way down his chin, and then down his neck, and down his chest and wrapped around a couple of things that were on his chest. It was just this big, long thing and everybody was going, “Ooh, icky.” But I have to tell you, it did get a lot of attention and a lot of comments.
That’s the whole purpose behind the caption contest, it’s just entertaining and fun. What I want to talk about today is not being an icky guy or icky gal, but instead finding your purpose with ikigai. Now, what is ikigai? I’ll explain that in a moment.
A while back, I discovered Blinkist and as I walked my dog I started listening to a bunch of different books I probably never would have read. I went down this “finding your purpose” rabbit hole. You know, building a better life, the seven habits of highly effective people, those kind of books. I was looking for something to spark me, to get my interest back up because, frankly, I’m just kind of down from being home all the time.
One of the quotes of the day resonated with a lot of people, it also resonated with me, and that was, “Angry is just sad’s bodyguard.” Really what it’s saying is that anger is a way of us letting our sadness explode. There was another quote of the day that got a lot of interest from people and it was, “No one can defeat me unless I defeat myself.”
Now, this brought me back to thinking, “Ooh, it’s starting to get warmer, maybe I can go golfing.”
I love golf and the reason I love golf is that once you understand the game you become the center of its purpose. It’s not you against the other people in your foursome. If you’re playing in a tournament it’s not so much about you and the other golfers, it’s about you and the course. It’s how you play that course. Nobody else controls anything. How the others play is completely out of your control. It’s a Zen kind of thing for me because I get to take my mind off of everything and focus on putting this little white ball into a cup 18 times.
Listening to Blinkist, I started going down that rabbit hole of these self-help books and I came across one. I honestly cannot remember the name of the book, but in the middle of it, it talked about this one key principle, and it’s a Japanese word called ikigai spelled I-K-I-G-A-I. What ikigai is about is finding your purpose, and there are four core principles to this. Those include, what:
- do you love? (or what drives you?)
- are you good at?
- does the world need?
- can you be paid for?
Basically, those four things intersect into your purpose. So, I started asking myself those questions.
What do I love?
I love a lot of things. I love my wife, I love my life, and I love my dog. But when it comes to creating a purpose the two things that I find that I really love doing or engaging in are teaching and technology. Those have always been a part of my life.
What am I really good at?
The two things there are creative thinking, coming up with cool names for podcasts, and also interviewing and media. I’m a musician but I’ve been interviewing people for years, and I love doing that. I love drawing information out of people.
What does the world need?
Then I started looking at what the world needs and I broke it down to one basic simple principle: the world needs a better way of doing something, no matter what it is.
It could be a better mousetrap, better toilet paper, better anything. The key thing is, through teaching and technology and creative thinking and interviewing, how can I do something better? How can I make the world better?
What can you get paid for?
How can you get paid for those things? Well, I get paid for my time and I get paid for my experience in using all of those teaching and technology tools and for my creative thinking and interviewing.
If I take all of that and combine it into one sentence, “My purpose is better creative thinking about using technology to make the world a better place.”
Let me ask you those four questions.
- What do you love, what excites you, what gets you up in the morning, what gets your ire going?
- What are you good at, what are the core things that you do so well that it’s almost an eight?
- How do you take those two things and figure out how to use them in a world that needs better things or better systems or better communication, whatever it is?
- How do you combine all that and get paid for it?
Those are the questions that I want you to think about. When you figure out what you love and what you’re good at, do more of that. In the meantime, if you don’t love doing something and you’re not good at it that’s where you can actually hire other people to do it for you. It could still be part of the bigger picture of making the world a better place. For example, I am not a great writer, and I’m a terrible proofreader, and I hire people to do those things for me, but they don’t get in the way of my teaching, my technology, my creative thinking, and my interviewing.
How do you take that and package it in a way that people are willing to pay you for it, either as a job or as a business? Don’t let angry be sad’s bodyguard. Find your purpose, figure out a way that you can take what you love and what you’re good at and make the world a better place, and ultimately have somebody pay for it.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about ikigai. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?