A Journey To Self-Discovery

I recently stumbled upon a concept called, Ikigai – the Japanese word for “a reason being”.   This was a small statement with a big punch; I needed more information.  Upon a little digging, I was able to find this thoughtfully illustrated graphic (left).  It detailed how Ikigai has four primary elements, each working in perfect harmony to create the advertised ‘fulfilled, happy and longer life’. If you’re intrigued like I was, the Ikigai experts suggest you start this personal journey with four basic questions:

  1. What do I love?
  2. What am I good at?
  3. What can I be paid for now?
  4. What does the world need?

Though simple, I can recognize that these questions are fluid and very difficult to answer.  I found myself asking, “If I think the world needs it and I am good at it, shouldn’t I love it?” This and many other combinations of thoughts surrounding these questions create a web of hard truths to tackle.  Try it, five minutes into this exercise and you find yourself asking if Ikigai is achievable at ANY level.

…you will spend an average of 90,000 hours in a lifetime just working


The fact of the matter is this, you will spend an average of 90,000 hours in a lifetime just working.  Shouldn’t you feel fulfilled? Adequately compensated? Appreciated? Shouldn’t a conversation about Ikigai be part of work culture? Imagine your future boss saying, “Through many sessions with a mentor, guru, and Ikigai therapist we realize you love upper management and are really good at it.  Hell, the world needs a person like you in this specific position!”

Ikigai is an idealistic awakening – a part of a concept to self-discovery.  The PHDs of the world have a lot to say about ‘self-discovery,’ and it comes in long form books and research papers. Here are some highlights from the top experts:

  • The quest for self-discovery begins with an awakening to the unlimited potential of self and the infinite possibilities of life.
  • You were not born with the knowledge of how to view life (a worldview) – you learned it.
  • Perspective serves as a filter which interprets all sensory data coming to a person.

Use these self-discovery principles, let them guide you in bridging the gap between your heart and your brain, and eventually Ikigai. You become the person who aligns their passions with their mission and compensation with what the world needs. You turn what you do into what you love for the remaining 90,000 hours, and that’s a pretty awesome thing!

Share your experiences with Ikigai below! And, for anyone looking to become a YPOS contributor – sharing your insights on self-discovery, professional development, and more:  apply here!

Jamie Shindler
Latest posts by Jamie Shindler (see all)