There are many definitions of success but there is one that I am currently in love with. It's known as Ikigai.
Ikigai is the Japanese concept which synthesizes your reason for living, your life purpose and your source of endurance.
Ikigai combines Passion, Mission, Profession, and Vocation to identify the sweet spot each of us should be working to define and achieve. Have you ever posed these questions to yourself?
What do I love?
What am I good at?
What can I be paid for?
What can I contribute to the world?
Answering these crucial questions and refining the responses over time will certainly lead to a more productive and exhilarating life - only to the degree that you can calibrate them into balance. We've all been in love with something that we weren't necessarily the best at (looking at you 17 year old Omar who thinks he will be an NBA player). We've all been good at something that we didn't necessarily appreciate (I was quite talented at playing multiple woodwinds in high school but dropped them in favor of sports). We've all been paid for something that we weren't necessarily that good at (like my first pharmaceutical sales internship - I was a very average rep). We all have causes that we want to be a part of but shy away from fully participating because it might not pay the bills (such as my passion for changing the world through my writing which up till now is quite far from supplanting my day job income). But how to obtain harmony between all of these aspects?
One method is through the lens of love because love is the unifying factor intrinsic to each facet of Ikigai. There are 5 types of love that will accelerate your path toward Ikigai once you fully understand and harmonize them together.
Self-love: This is about being a healthy human: mind, body, and soul. Nothing in life can be achieved without health so this aspect is the bedrock of Ikigai. Consistency and discipline are the keys to self-love. You are going to need plenty of sleep, the right fuel, space for meditation, and spiritual guidance on your quest for fulfillment so make sure this area is prioritized.
Interest love: Healthy people have multiple interest areas and a genuine curiosity about life and living. Pay attention to the things that pique your curiosity as these can grow to become the activities that inspire and energize you. Making time to pursue your interests and increase your knowledge will help you keep your outlook positive and progressive. And who knows, that hobby or interest might become very lucrative some day.
Purpose love: When areas of personal inspiration align with your natural talents then you are on the path to achieving your purpose. The energy of inspiration coupled with the power of your unique abilities can make you an unstoppable force provided that you put in the work necessary to refine these talents into reliable strengths. Being intentional is the key. Don't ignore the areas of natural uniqueness that you possess. Embrace these "spikes of specialty" and then work to become the absolute best version of yourself.
Team love: On your path to your purpose you will likely meet others who share similar inspiration and complementary talents to your own. By joining forces you can achieve more than either of you could accomplish on your own. Your team does not just mean the people that work alongside you. Your team is also comprised of those people who cheer you on, console you when you are down, watch your back, and provide valuable mentorship, coaching, and advice. The most important aspect to choosing your team is to ensure that these are people who energize and support you more than drain and reject you (and for whom you willingly do the same). Without team love most purpose remains only a distant dream.
Financial love: With health, knowledge, purpose, and community you can already be considered a wealthy person.If you've combined the above four elements it is very unlikely that you will be dissatisfied with how well you are being compensated. However, financial choices can either constrain us or free us so financial love is about how well you leverage the income you take in from your career and other pursuits to ensure you feel secure enough to keep dreaming and doing. Spending less than you make, saving as much as you can, and planning for unforeseen events and retirement are all demonstrations of financial love. In this way you are neither "living to work" nor "working to live" - you are simply financially stable, secure, and satisfied.
I'm committed to pursuing Ikigai and I hope you are too (perhaps we can be on the same team)! And I wish you all the best on on your journey to discover and harmonize your Passion, Mission, Profession, and Vocation. Reading this book is a great way to start.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you liked it, please give me a thumbs up and/or share with your networks. What are your thoughts on Ikigai and the 5 types of love that are critical to success? Let us know in the comments section!