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Jay Shetty Reflects on the Ikigai

The Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates into the “reason for being.” True fulfillment of your purpose comes when four areas intersect, namely (1) what you love, (2) what you are good at, (3) what the world needs, and (4) what you can be paid for.

This model is useful to explore what lies in each area. Often, we only have something that fits one of these four criteria. So, for instance, we have something that we love in our lives. Why can’t we make it our livelihood? We have something that we love. We have something that we’re passionate about. Why can’t we make that our livelihood?

Let’s go through how you can make that your livelihood. You can start with asking yourself key questions such as:

  • Are you good at it?
  • Do you understand what the world needs?
  • Whether there is a demand that you’ll get paid for?

And then other times you may have this amazing idea that you believe is going to change the world. The world really needs this idea. The world really needs this, you know, I know what the world needs. But then, you must ask yourself – is it your passion? Is it something you’re good at?

So, it always comes down to those questions. So, when you’re feeling like you’re not able to create something valuable, it’s always one of these three areas that you need to look at.

  • Are you really an expert in it? 
  • Do you deeply love it? 
  • And do you really understand how the world needs it? 

You may also be very passionate about something but you’re not very good at it and do not care enough to make it your top priority to invest and spend years of hard work to develop and become skillful. In this case, you can still practice your passion, but it will probably remain a hobby.

But there are certain things where we have the depth of passion, we have the depth of expertise. We’re willing to go all the way. And at the same time, and this is what’s often missed: we don’t really understand how the world needs it.

If you can’t articulate why the world needs you, your product, your message, your service, your consulting, very clearly and you deeply understand who it’s for then, it just won’t work. And that’s where we find a lot of people. They have found what they’re good at. They find what they love, but they haven’t really thought about the perspectives of care, compassion, and empathy as to how that helps other people.

So, this is just a quick overview and thoughts from Jay Shetty of the Ikigai model and how to apply it. And again, Jay reminds you of the emphasis of why all of these are important and recognizing that some things are great as hobbies and some things you should just let go.

And so, it’s so important to have the self-reflection to find what you really love, assess whether you are good at it and willing to spend the time to become an expert, and whether the world needs it on a sustainable level.

What do we mean by “sustainable?” In his philosophies and teachings, Jay Shetty emphasizes finding purpose in things that make the world move forward. Not only temporary and superficial demand, but a true need borne from creating goodness and care in the world.

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