Ikigai diagram.
Ikigai: Finding your reason for being.

I’ve always been fascinated by words that don’t translate. I feel like they are hidden treasures that exist in specific cultures that others are still waiting to discover. Japanese has many of these words that we can learn from. One of them, is Ikigai. Ikigai represents your “reason for being”, but it’s so much more than that. ¶ It’s a way of understanding your purpose. Not necessarily on a spiritual or religious level, but what you can add to the world while also finding happiness. ¶ It’s a framework for evaluating and continually iterating to align your passion, your mission, your profession, and your vocation. I like it for several reasons, but perhaps most notably that it is realistic; it encapsulates the reality of what you can be paid for and what the world needs. It draws together so many life lessons into one simple word: Ikigai. ¶ I think we all can, particularly in the Western world, question our decisions and goals in an effort to understand if they truly align with this concept. ¶ Ikigai, among other words, has influenced me to think past the particular language or culture that I was brought up in, while also acknowledging how it has influenced my frame of context. I’m continuously on the search for more of these untranslatable words and snippets of wisdom, and have started to compile them in a project I’ve named Eunoia. Eunoia itself, is one of those untranslatable words, Ancient Greek for: A well-mind; beautiful thinking. ¶ I hope that we can all one day find our Ikigai.

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