Ikigai – A Journey of Purpose

What’s your purpose?

Do you even have ONE purpose?

How do you discover what it is?


I’ve never been sure about this idea that we have A thing. A gift.


“It’s needlessly limiting to believe that your life should have only one purpose.”


(source article: How to Use the Ikigai Diagram to Find Fulfillment (becomingbetter.org))

I’m interested in lots of things and it’s this curiosity and thirst for knowledge that has lead to me start 2022 on a learning journey.

With time on my hands, I’ve been focusing on CPD (Continuous Professional Development).

I’ve bought several creative and business related courses from Domestika and have gradually, privately, been flexing my creative muscles.

creative muscles

A Time To Learn

Filling sketchbooks and journals with my experiments and ideas. Learning new things like Lino Cutting and honing other skills in drawing, watercolour  and creative play.

While browsing links and follow up information during the course, I was drawn to this blog and the concept of Ikigai.

Ikigai and purpose

What Is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese word that loosely translates to “a reason to live” or “reason for being”. It’s a combination of the words iki (生き), meaning life and gai (甲斐), meaning worth.

“Borrowing concepts from other cultures can be a way to open our minds and find a new way of addressing old problems, as well as connecting with our personal and spiritual growth.”




I like this Venn diagram. It’s at the intersections where the real impact happens. When you find something you love doing that also pays the bills.

The Holy Grail for every entrepreneur and self starter. It’s often why we choose the self employed route in the first pace. To earn a living doing what we love.



What Is Ikigai and How to Apply It to Your Creative Career 2
Source: Domestika


“Venn diagram model of ikigai is a westernized misinterpretation of the actual Japanese concept. But there are some very important lessons to be gleaned from the ikigai diagram”

(source article: How to Use the Ikigai Diagram to Find Fulfillment (becomingbetter.org))


But what if you love doing lots of things?

That is the eternal struggle!

To use this diagram in a practical way, check out this blog.

Ikigai and purpose

The Complexity of Human Experience

It would be foolhardy to simplify the complexity of the human experience to suggest that we each only have ONE thing we are meant to do with our lives.

Their probably are people out there who do have ‘a thing’- an Olympic Athlete, perhaps? – but even then, that  ‘thing’ may only be the thing during certain stage of their lives.

We will all have differing drivers and differing priorities through the different stage in our life. For example, when children are young a parent may see their only purpose is to raise their child in that stage when they need it.

In reality, it’s not about finding the one thing. It’s in our nature to find satisfaction and purpose in several activities.


“You can do many things in your life, but remember that you only have time to become really good at a few things. Choose wisely.”


Although dedicating your life to a single pursuit has a certain value, a ritual and spirituality to it. Especially when honing a craft to as near perfection as is possible, I doubt this approach to life would suit many of us!

It’d be like deciding what your favourite food is and only eating that your whole life. Neither healthy nor sustainable.

Your purpose is about that constant curiosity and experimentation.


“Develop your ikigai through hard work”


Trying, reflecting on and evaluating different activities that feed those different needs.

That said, the diagram is a useful tool for thinking about how to spend your time. The most important lessons being:

  1. Don’t neglect any of the circles.
  2. Aim for the intersections.

“The ikigai diagram also lines up with something many a great teacher has said: It’s better to focus on using your strengths than to focus on correcting your weaknesses.”

Recognize and build on the things you are good at and accept that other things will be beyond your capability. And that’s OK. The temptation, especially when you are self employed, is to try to do and control everything yourself. This is mindset will send you down a short road to a long struggle. Know your limits and be OK with being average.

What would you do with your life, if money didn’t matter?


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