Dear Doctor, have you found your Ikigai yet?

M3 India Newsdesk Oct 18, 2019

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that helps you identify and follow your purpose in life. Simply put, it gives you a reason and a chance to add more substance to your life.

Is your profession not giving you the sense of fulfilment you had expected? Do you want to do more in life but don’t know what exactly it is? ‘Ikigai’ can help. Read on to find your Ikigai.


You have earned that degree, become a doctor and got that high-paying job after years of hard work. You may have also deprioritised your interests and hobbies in the process, just so that you can give your 100 per cent to your studies, that specialisation, or for that promotion at work. After all this, if your job, your profession ceases to give you joy, wouldn’t it be disappointing?

This can happen when what you do, does not fulfil a certain emotional, practical or a spiritual need of yours. Finding your Ikigai, pronounced as eye-ka-guy, can help you find a purpose for yourself, which also fulfils some or all of the above mentioned needs.

You may have drawn out a career map for yourself quite early in life but it may not seem good enough for you now. It may so happen that what you had in mind for your future doesn’t fulfil your renewed expectations from self or life. Or you may feel a void within despite having the job that you wanted or anything else that you had desired.

Feeling that way is completely normal; it means your current or the predefined purpose in life does not let you use your full potential. Basically, you want something more in life; but how do you find that something more? The design of Ikigai enables you to find pursuits that you would love to undertake for life. These pursuits also act as your reasons to live, live longer and live happily.


What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that helps you identify and follow your purpose in life. Through the Ikigai exercise, you can break down your purpose into your goals and interests and live them and enjoy pursuing them for as long as you want.

Ikigai gives you a reason and a chance to add more substance to your life. Your reasons also act as your motivation to get out of bed and keep doing what you like for as long as you like. More importantly, it takes away the idea of retirement, always giving you new things to look forward to in life.


Why should doctors adopt Ikigai living?

You hear about another doctor practicing and simultaneously writing books, teaching the poor and giving Ted Talks. All of it sounds great but inside, it pinches you. It pinches because these activities have the power to add to your self-worth, give you satisfaction and make you happier in life but instead, you feel stuck or lost.

You may decide to get active with your hobby again, say photography, but your practice doesn’t allow you the time to pursue it. And even if you are a great photographer, it may not get you the kind of money you can earn from your practice. This is where Ikigai can help!

The concept makes you look at life objectively and encourage a bit of reshuffling to strike the right balance between your means of earning and the pursuits you choose for self-worth and joy.


How to arrive at your Ikigai?

Commonly represented by a Venn diagram, Ikigai is the spot where your passion, mission, profession and vocation come together. Each circle represents a question, which you need to answer for yourself.


To find your answers you may require diving deep into your conscience and fully accept and acknowledge your traits, needs, desires and even limitations. The only two things you must remember about this exercise are:

  • You can find your Ikigai at any stage in your career or life
  • You must be honest about your feelings while answering the questions for yourself.

The answers to these questions can help you fulfil your expectations from yourself and life through pursuits related to your passion, mission, profession and vocation. As a doctor, you can find more opportunities to grow in your field and increase your self-worth. You can also discover how to serve mankind using your skills without sacrificing your passion.

In other words, Ikigai can help you identify those things, which you are passionate about, you have the talent to accomplish, the world around you needs them and you will get paid for them, too! Once you find your Ikigai, you will see everything falling in place automatically and you will be able to strike that balance between all those things that can make your life more meaningful.

The people of Okinawa in Japan are said to live a long and happy life, which is partly owing to Ikigai. What do you think of the concept? Did the article help you find your Ikigai yet?

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