Self Development July 14, 2020

Ikigai. Japanese concept of a meaningful life

Leo Nagano @Leo


Studies say people in Japan live longer and happier because:

• They have less desire to retire
• Do their favourite job
• And have a close-knit friend group
• Living a healthy and fulfilled life


Have you found your "Ikigai"?

  1. 3

    I never thought my Ikigai would be google sheets. but it is.

    1. 1

      Cool Andrew! No one would ever imagine google sheets would be their Ikigai :)

  2. 2

    Well, for me, it's a real problem. I found what I love to do but the problem is I can't make money on it for some personal reason so I have to do what I don't like. It's a real loop that I'm trying to get out.

    1. 0

      The point, I guess is How to get out of it? Where to start?

      Doing what we are good at and learning to love along the way?
      Doing what others want to pay for?

      There is no right or wrong answers I think

  3. 1

    This is so important! Took me a while to weed through the "shoulds" and figure this out.

  4. 1

    Very cool Leo, my wife was doing a course this week and ikigai was part of it, i was very interested so we decided we will look for our ikigai!

    1. 1

      It’s more or less what some people suggest to do, but illustrating it seems to be easier to visualise. Not easy to apply this concept though

  5. 1

    I found my Ikigai about 3 years ago. I do what I enjoy the most and I am fortunate that complete strangers pay me to focus on what I love doing...

    1. 1


  6. 1

    Thanks, Leo for the refreshing post. I am a true believer in this approach. In fact, every day I am slowly aligning different facets of my life to get to Ikigai.

    1. 1

      Hi Dima, mind sharing how you're aligning those different aspects of your life to get to Ikigai?

      1. 1

        I go for the most simple approach. I practice mindfulness, write everything down, continuously (and mindfully) do self-reviews, and have a disciplined high cadence shipping policy.

        Mindfulness helps me track what I like/what I don't like (I actually write it down), and what I am good at/what I am not good at (I call them my superpowers).

        I constantly do self-reviews (on a weekly, monthly and annual basis) where I have created a set of questions to push me to identify if I am being honest to myself or I am just following the crowd.

        To track what others need, I have a database of ideas (mine, as well as other's I like). I also write down whether I like a particular idea or not.

        And to test for value, I constantly ship MVPs.

        Also, I find it important to recognize that the journey to getting to Ikigai, is as important as Ikigai itself. Knowing myself, once I will get to one level of Ikigai, I will set out on the next journey.

        1. 1

          Wow, you created a framework. As you mentioned, the journey is as important as getting there. And also never stops. Once got there, set the next journey.

  7. 1

    Great summary. I really like the concept of Ikigai. It‘s a simple philosophy with a lot of room for interpretation. Somehow it feels a bit like Stoicism. A pragmatic approach to improve life.

    @Leo what‘s your approach in finding your own Ikigai?

    1. 1

      Dennis, I’m trying to put my energy and focus to help others. How? Well, I’m sharing what I learned during the process of building a B2B product. Many people asked me what I did. Some advices. Etc

      It’s a win-win situation.

      I was involved with social initiatives in the past. Now, I started getting back to it. Little by little.

      How about yours?

      1. 1

        Ah, I even remember the post. It was a great one. Teaching people is indeed a win-win situation for both parties.

        Finding my Ikigai is an ever-evolving process. I started to listen more and more to my gut instead of analyzing every little detail about a situation. I realized that finding your own rhythm is key to achieve the things you want. It‘s the right intersection between motivation, the topic you‘re working on, stress, and many other factors.

        What I learned after a couple of weeks at Indie Hackers and being more active on Twitter is that I can teach and share a lot about my experience as an agency owner and co-founder. Many experiences have a high value if somebody doesn‘t make the mistake we or a client did. And it helps me to process those challenging years mentally.

        1. 1

          Sharing is caring. Following your gut instinct is another approach to get there. I’m pretty much on this process at the moment, following my gut instinct and enjoying the ride.

  8. 1

    How do you know that you have found your "Ikigai"? I guess, it takes multiple stages in life to find the right one.

    Also, Have you read the book? It's short and concise. I love how they have explained in the book as well.

    1. 2

      Initially I thought I found it, after reaching the tip point of my career so far. I thought career was more important than anything else. This was not true to me.

      Nowadays, I believe being happy is ine of the first signals that I’m on the right track.