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Ikigai: Apply Ancient Wisdom for a More Successful Business

3 Min Read
Ikigai: Apply Ancient Wisdom for a More Successful Business

Ikigai Japanese ideology and word for finding what gives you that spark for life, your purpose and reason to get out of bed each morning “a reason for being.”

Is this ancient wisdom key to startups success? I have looked into what greek philosophers offer modern day business but if you don’t have a business that excites you, inspires you and brings you great pleasure what will make you jump out of bed every morning?

As a startup we spend a lot of time reading people’s stories and routes to success but should entrepreneurs be looking at other things in their startup ideas? Will it bring “happiness” to life?

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What is the meaning of Ikigai?

Ikigai a combination of two Japanese words

“iki” (生き) – “life”
“gai” (甲斐) – “value or worth”

Akihiro Hasegawa research paper says the word “gai” comes from the word “kai” which translates to “shell” in Japanese which were extremely valuable in the Heian period.

Similar Japanese words that incorporate “gai”
Hatarakigai, (働きがい) value of work
Yarigai ~ga aru (やり甲斐がある) “it’s worth doing it.”

Origins of Ikigai

Who invented Ikigai and how old it is?

The origin of the Ikigai is believed to date back to the Heian period -794 to 1185 so definitely classed as ancient wisdom but still so valuable in life and business today.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is about finding “happiness” in life, personal satisfaction, and identifying what makes you look forward to the future giving you a sense of purpose in life.

Finding balance in four key factors in life that drive motivation and give you satisfaction:

Passion, Mission, Vocation and Profession.

Passion – what you love

Mission – what the world needs

Vocation – what you can be paid for

Profession – what you are good at

Ikigai Venn diagram

Relevance in a Modern World

What can a modern World take from this ancient wisdom? Should it be relegated to the past or can we learn from it? Yes, a little idealistic, maybe some see it as a self-development concept/self-help but don’t we all strive for the reason for being? If this can guide you in the right direction or direct your focus then it is relevant.

How do I practice Ikigai? Identify what makes you a buzz.

How do I find my Ikigai?

How can Ikigai Help Business

If you are a startup look at where your ideas sit within the diagram

How can you bring Ikigai to your business?

The core ideas can be used in Business. What entrepreneurs forget is that caring for your business is key to business growth and increased profit.

Passion, Expertise, Demand, and Value.

What are you truly passionate about?

What activity or product motivates you, how can it impact the world or a customer you want to help.

You may love many things but the trick is to work out which one best fits into all the factors.

What “Sparked” My Interest

Personal Level – I have recently been inspired by Ikigai after listening to a webinar by Tim Tavender “Using ancient wisdom to find your ideal business” with Digital women online. It was inspiring and struck a chord with me so much that I was immediately intrigued and set about doing research.

What sparked my interest is looking at our own lives and how sickness made us make huge changes in life. How our priority is doing things that make us happy not necessarily money-driven anymore and always had a central focus on our children and working from home over anything else.

How our work-life/business is all about things that as Marie Kondo would say “sparks joy” we both never feel like we go to work. We are excited to get up and get started. Have we naturally evolved towards Ikigai without even knowing?

Working with like-minded people who have the same values as us is so important.

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