What is Ikigai: How to Find Ikigai in 3 Steps | Happy Investors

What is Ikigai: How to Find Ikigai in 3 Steps | Happy Investors

In this article, we will discuss the meaning of Ikigai. What is Ikigai? And how can I find my Ikigai? You may have heard about this Japanese concept and how it can help you find your dream career. And how it contributes to being happier, with a life full of fulfillment and inspiration.

In this article, you will learn what Ikigai is and means and how to find your Ikigai.

What is ikigai?

Ikigai (pronounced "ee-key-guy”) is a Japanese concept that means “reason for being”. 

Iki means "life", and gai means "worth" or "value". In other words, your ikigai is your "life worth" or what gives meaning to your life.

Your ikigai is your life purpose, your reason to get up in the morning.

The concept has evolved over time. In Japanese culture, it mostly refers to what gives you bliss.

Nowadays, the concept is popular in Western culture. Today, it refers mostly to your ideal career.

Nevertheless, the philosophy behind Ikigai shows us that our careers, family, and happiness are not separated. They are all interconnected to give purpose to our existence.

Happy Investors aims to help people towards financial freedom. Our passion lies in long-term investing. We also focus on personal development. Within this context, we see Ikigai primarily as a means to achieve a happier life with greater fulfillment. One where earning money and living full of passion and purpose go hand in hand.  

The Ikigai diagram

The ikigai diagram illustrates the concept. It shows us four overlapping circles: “what you love”, “what you are good at”, “what the world needs”, and “what you can be paid for”.

At the center of this diagram, where all circles overlap, you can find your ikigai or sweet spot.

This is the sweet spot because all four dimensions matter. You may work passionately on your own business, but if you don't make money from it, you will experience tremendous stress. Or you might love sales calls and make a lot of money, but is your work really that important when all you do is sell toilet seats? (no offense).

This is why we at Happy Investors do not promote questionable financial products such as CFDs and levers or risky activities such as day trading. We are also skeptical about investing in crypto. Not because we have anything personally against it, but because many people unfortunately lose a lot of money with it. We get more satisfaction from inspiring successful ETF investing, or investing in real estate funds. That may be less spectacular, but it also offers significantly less risk of losing money.

Let's see each one of them.


What you love

Here we have what you enjoy, your passions, and your hobbies. In other words, what you would do for free.

Maybe you love cooking, hiking, singing, spending time with friends, cleaning your house, playing music, editing videos, photography, etc.

What you are good at

Your talents, what you are great at doing, what comes easily to you. Here, think of the compliments you always receive: “You are so good at doing X!”.

You may be good at painting, you may be very organized, or you know how to save money and stick to a budget.

Perhaps you are great at giving advice, or you cook the best meals, or you are just incredibly good at public speaking.

What the world needs

Here, it is essential that what you do solves someone else's problems. When it says "the world” it may refer to a portion of society or simply a group of small people.

The world may need nurses, volunteers, teachers, firemen, construction workers…

But they may also need an artist who makes cool t-shirts, a web designer to create their website, someone who can fix their refrigerator, a financial advisor, etc.

Knowing you can help others and solve their problems gives your career a sense of fulfillment.

What you can be paid for

You may have lots of fun with your hobby, but that does not mean you can get paid for it.

Here, you need to identify how you can get money for doing what you love.

Nowadays, with the Internet, you can monetize almost anything. People are getting paid for playing video games, for example.

Your sweet spot

When each of these circles overlaps, you find another concept.

When you combine what you love and what you are good at, you have your passion.

When you combine what you love and what the world needs, you have your mission.

When you combine what the world needs and what you can be paid for, you have your vocation.

When you combine what you can be paid for and what you are good at, you have your profession.

But when you combine what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, you have your sweet spot or your ikigai.


How to find your Ikigai

There are no rules to finding your ikigai, but here are some ideas about how to find yours.

1. Find what you are passionate about

First of all, think of what you love doing. 

Imagine, if money was not a problem, what would you love to do for the rest of your life?

Also, think of what your ideal life looks like.

These exercises may give you a good idea of your passions.

2. Find a medium to express your passion

When you know what you are passionate about, you should think about how to make it profitable and useful to others. This step involved a lot of brainstorming. 

How can I help others with my passion?

Think of how you can solve someone else's problem.

For example, if you are a digital artist who loves illustration, you can make beautiful designs for t-shirts, phone cases, notebooks, etc.

You can make animated videos to help someone sell their products, teach something, or for entertainment.

You can sell posters so people can decorate their houses. Or you can teach other people how to draw.

How can I be paid for doing what I love?

Here, you need to monetize what you love to make a good living 

When you know what you do can solve a problem, you need to identify if people are willing to pay for it.

Here, you may research if other people are making money by doing the same thing. Make sure to learn exactly how they earn their money and what they do to achieve it. 

If no one out there is doing what you love and you may be the first one, don't give up. However, you still need to get creative and come up with a realistic plan on how you can monetize your passion.

How can I improve at doing that?

Let's say people are willing to pay for what you do, but what if you are not good at it? 

Well, you will need to be persistent and keep training and learning until you improve.

You can take classes, watch YouTube tutorials, get enrolled in online courses, or hire a coach or mentor. 

You should always keep this flow. When you truly love what you do, you will always want to learn more and become better at it.

3. Test it out

The only way to see if you found your ikigai is to try it. 

While you are at it, you may realize it was not your thing. It does not matter, try again with another thing.

Or you may realize you loved it, but could not make money from it. Do not worry, try to find another way to make a living from your passion.

And once you find your ikigai, it does not mean you will immediately get lots of money from it. It may be a slow process, but it is possible if you stick to a plan.

For example, Caro Arevalo is a Peruvian artist and YouTuber. She wanted to make a living from her paintings but started working part-time as a bartender. Now, she is a successful full-time artist and uses social media to promote her work.

 You can become successful at what you do, but you need to come up with realistic small goals that lead you to success. 

Also, you may want to get in touch with people who can help you to achieve those objectives. For example, a mentor, a coach, people who have reached similar goals, or people who are working towards the same vision. 

These people can motivate you and give you fresh, realistic ideas to make your dream a reality.

About the author
Happy Investors enjoy a happy life based on financial freedom, personal development and sustainable living. We enjoy the now, and invest for the long term. We help you become financially independent. From beginning to advanced investing in stocks, ETFs, real estate and more, to personal growth for sustainable success!
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