What is meaning anyway?
Something that is meaningful for one could be meaningless for another. Different countries, communities, and individuals all have their own belief of what constitutes meaning for them in their life. For a parent, it might be the well-being of a child, for a religious man it could be devoting his life to pleasing God and for a student meaning might simply be clearing the exams.
Finding a meaningful purpose in life is very important. Not having one would make you feel lost, fill you up with doubts and insecurities. And you simply would have no good reason to wake up in the morning to start the day. Finding your meaning is important for your own satisfaction and arguably for you to lead a happy life.
Unfortunately, a growing number of people are compromising and living half fulfilled lives. A recent survey by the UK gov shows that around 37% of British workers feel their job is meaningless. Other surveys and studies that were conducted show the same results, a growing number of people are starting to feel that their job is devoid of meaning. The irony of it is that the very job that is giving them their living is also slowly killing them. No, I do not mean literally, what I mean is it is killing their dreams and passions or keeping them away from reaching their full potential. Instead, they get stuck in the gaps illustrated in the diagram below.
I personally like a Japanese concept called IKIGAI. It can be loosely be defined as “your reason for being”.
The concept is not difficult to understand at all. It consists of asking yourself only four very straightforward questions namely:
- What do you love doing?
- What are you good at?
- What can you be paid for?
- What does the world need that you can contribute to?
Straightforward right? But not so easy to find only “one” answer to all the four questions. Yes not four separate answers, just one answer to all the four questions. I believe my Ikigai lies in teaching. I believe that in order to become a good teacher, I first have to experience the world and cultivate first-hand knowledge. I am hoping that by doing it this way, I will be able to add value to teaching that is beyond what someone can simply learn by reading on paper. Until I reach there, the aim is to get and share knowledge along the way.
So what is your ikigai? If you have your answer, congratulations.