The Japanese philosophy of Ikigai became established in the 8th century on the island territory of Okinawa. When translated, iki means ‘life’ and gai represents ‘hopeful expectation’. Ikigai promotes ‘the individual’s raison d’etre’ or ‘reason to be throughout a long and meaningful life’.
Guided by a simple framework, it encourages each one of us to seek an ideal balance of life’s needs in relation to our personalities. A successfully fulfilling career is not necessarily one that only exists at a high-flying executive level but one that harmonises with the unique qualities of your inner-self. Achieving this balanced contentment is the surest route to a long, worthwhile and healthy life.
Here are 8 tips to help you achieve fulfilment using the Ikigai framework:
1. Discover your Unique Ikigai
On a sheet of paper, draw four circles that overlap in the centre. Each section represents the motives that directly affect your life: what you excel at, what you adore, how you can earn and if your skill is of use to anyone.
The ultimate aim is to adapt your career to ensure your personal fulfilment. When compiling your chart, remember the phrase ‘to your own self be true’. Only by being honest will you find your Ikigai and real purpose in your life and career.
For instance, if your Ikigai chart reveals a love of plants but in reality, you’re stifled by an office environment, a career in horticulture might be of greater benefit to your personal well-being.
2. Spare Time for the Present
Planning for the future is part of building a life that realises ambitions and ensures financial security. However, Ikigai is a reminder that a personal journey through life should also value the present. Time can never be recaptured so pause occasionally to appreciate the unique opportunities of each day. Enrich the quality of today by spontaneously visiting an exhibition, trying a new hobby or relaxing with a favourite book.
3. Harness Energy from Nature
Japanese culture places a great value on the restorative forces of nature. Appreciating an inspiring landscape of majestic forests, hills or lakes restores balance to a stressful life. Its powerful antiquity is reassuring and calming. Admiring the intricate beauty of flowers or listening to birds singing, reminds you of the harmony to be found in nature. The force of the natural world helps put your own existence into perspective renewing your energy and purpose.
4. Learn to Remain Active
Aim to extend the usefulness of your physical life by establishing a routine of regular exercise. As you get older, try adopting gentler activities such as walking, yoga or tai chi. Keeping your muscles and joints supple and flexible is important in maintaining mobility when pursuing a career in your later years.
5. Eat for Health
To achieve a life of worthwhile longevity with the assistance of Ikigai, you need to keep your body balanced with natural, healthy food. There isn’t a diet to follow, simply an awareness of consuming balanced amounts of essential vitamins and minerals through fresh ingredients. It is a Japanese tradition to practise hara hachi bu, a regime where meals leave you feeling around 20% hungry. It accelerates your digestive metabolism which then quickly raises your energy levels.
6. Seek Inspirational Companionship
Balance the energy to be gained during bouts of solitary contemplation with the warmth of good company. Enjoy stimulating conversation to keep your mind sharp. Relaxation and laughter amongst friends are essential for your well-being. However, Ikigai isn’t all about yourself. Maintain an ideal balance by sparing time for relatives and friends who might be in more need of companionship than you are.
7. Avoid a Worthless Retirement
The philosophy of Ikigai is primarily to achieve purpose, energy and fulfilment throughout a long, contented life. The Japanese belief is that total retirement from a useful working life is detrimental to physical and emotional fulfilment. It’s important that every day should still have a worthwhile purpose and motivation, factors that are especially beneficial in old age. When the time is right, followers of Ikigai continue useful employment by simply exchanging high-flying careers for roles that are less demanding.
8. Be Adaptable
Using the philosophy of Ikigai, allows you to regularly reassess whether your career is still suited to the ever-changing circumstances of your life. By honestly reflecting on what you enjoy and accomplish well, then seeking to combine this knowledge with earning a financial reward is a method of retaining motivation and following a useful existence throughout your life.
4 Ways You Can Master Magnetic Confidence – Ashley Hann
What does confidence mean to you? For me, it is a deep, unshakable internal knowing of your value, your worth, what you bring to the world and who you really are. I believe that in order to experience our own greatness, we must first know it exists within ourselves. We must believe it in order to see it.
Once you have arrived at this deep knowing, you will be able to experience and exude your own personal magnetism. I define magnetic confidence as the ability to attract anything and everything that is in alignment with who you are and what you want, and repel everything that isn’t.
You become polarizing.
In this Addicted2Success podcast episode, Joel Brown asked me to break down four ways that you can master your own magnetic confidence so that you can create the results you want and live a life in alignment with who you are.
1. FACE THE UGLY: Shine Light On The Darkness
Everyone and their mom is talking about positivity and being positive. Now look, I’m all for positivity. I love it. However, what I am seeing is more and more people trying to be positive prematurely. They are painting over their pain with positivity. While this may work in the moment, the underlying issue is not being dealt with so it will keep resurfacing every time it is triggered. What we resist, persists. Plus, when we paint over, repress or sweep things under the rug, we are adding to the darkness within us because secrecy breeds shame.
The only way to overcome our darkness is to shine light on it. Don’t shove it down, hide it, repress it or judge it. See it, accept it and embrace it so that you can move through it.
Look, everyone has a dark side and a light side. This is what makes us human. We must learn to see the beauty in the contrast and channel our dark energy into light. The more we resist this darkness, the more it will build inside of us. We must embrace these parts of us so that we can transform our pain into our power.
2. F*^K WHAT PEOPLE THINK: You Do You, Boo
#FACT: People will judge you.
The quicker you can make peace with the fact that judgement is inevitable, the less it’s going to affect you. The greatest leaders on this planet have judgers, nay-sayers and haters. And guess what? The reason they are great leaders is because they don’t let those judgements or the fear of judgement stop them.
I’m also going to challenge you on something. You ready for this?
It’s not the judgment you’re afraid of. You’re scared of what the judgements might mean about you. You’re making it mean things like “I’m not worthy”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not smart enough”, etc. Well, do you want to know the good news? You are in charge of the meaning! So why not make judgement mean something that actually forwards you? For me, I let the number of haters be a gauge of my success and how big of a game I’m playing. The more haters I have, the more I know I’m showing up unapologetically in my power and in my truth. This meaning I’ve created forwards me. What meaning can you create?
If you want to be confident, you must reinterpret and shift your relationship with judgement and haters in a way that empowers you. You must let the rude, mean comments drip off of your back like water. You’ve got to let it all push you forward instead of hold you back. Remember: magnetic confidence will make you polarizing. This means there will be people who don’t agree with you, dislike you, and may even hate you… and that’s more than O.K., that’s GREAT.
3. SHIFT THE STORY: Rewrite Your Stories, Rewire Your Mind
You are the sole, uncontested author of your life. You are not a victim. You haven’t been dealt a crappy deck of cards. You have actually been given a very precious gift called life where you have the ability to write your own story and create your own reality.
We are meaning-making machines. We create meanings and stories for just about everything that occurs in our lives. The question is, are the stories you are telling yourself empowering you or disempowering you?
When I find myself thinking something that’s draining my energy and doesn’t feel good, I’ll ask myself: “Can I 100% know that that’s true?” And if the answer is no, then I choose a different story that is also not 100% true, but that actually makes me feel good.
If you’re going to create a story, you might as well create one that feels good and empowers you!
In the episode, I go into a bit more detail on how to do this. I highly recommend you listen because this is a crucial part of becoming your most magnetically confident self.
4. WATCH YOUR WORDS: Eliminate These From Your Vocabulary Now
It’s one thing to think something disempowering, it is another to actually say it out loud. When you think a thought out loud, you are giving energy to the thought. We must be deliberate and intentional about what we choose to give energy to. Your words become worlds!
Here are some words to eliminate from your vocabulary immediately:
- “Have to”
Listen to the full episode at the top of this article to understand why these words are detrimental to your confidence and success. You’ll also learn what you can replace them with that will actually fuel you and boost your self confidence.
If you enjoyed this episode and blog post or if you have anything to add, please leave a comment below.
5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Hitting Rock Bottom
At one time, the term rock bottom was completely foreign to me. I can remember feeling really bad for anyone who claimed to have ‘hit rock bottom.’ What devastation they must feel. Their whole world must have just collapsed. How will they go on? I was soon to find out.
My journey to rock bottom
I’m not gonna say I had it all but for the most part, my world was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect and I’ll admit, I was sailing through on a song and a prayer. I lived in a nice house in a posh neighbourhood with my partner and in 2010 I purchased my first business, a hair salon.
I belonged to an amazing networking group of successful women. I was well respected in the community and had lots of friends. You could say my life was pretty good. However, this didn’t last for long.
Three years after the purchase of the salon I closed the doors and declared bankruptcy. Six months after bankruptcy, I walked out of my abusive relationship with nothing to my name.
I was a shell of a person. I had nothing and in my eyes, I was a complete and utter failure. At 52 years old, my whole world came crashing down on me and I for the first time in my life, was absolutely terrified.
I walked around in a daze for months. I was completely empty inside, both emotionally and mentally. I had no desire to rebuild my life. There was little life left in me to work on. I secured my old job at the salon I was at prior to my business purchase. Every day I had to face people who I’m sure were disappointed in me and most likely laughing at me behind my back.
I was a loser. They knew it and so did I. When you hit rock bottom, any and all self respect and self confidence you ever had goes right out the window. You’re constantly embarrassed and feel worthless all the time. However, one day something snaps when you look in the mirror and can’t stand to look at the person looking back at you. This is without a shadow of a doubt the moment some confidence and hope arises to change.
I looked in the mirror one day and I didn’t recognize the person staring back. She was sad, empty, blank and lifeless. This wasn’t Iva and I so desperately wanted her back. I missed the optimistic, bubbly and outgoing girl that used to stare back at me in the mirror. And I was determined to get her back.
I had reached a point where I was tired of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of telling myself I was a loser and a failure and that I would never amount to anything. But I was mostly tired of just existing with no purpose or passion.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling
The climb out of rock bottom
I started devouring self help books and reading any and all blogs I could on how to get your life back on track and how to find self love and self worth again. I read inspirational quotes and listened to motivational YouTube videos day in and day out. I journaled and cried and prayed and meditated. All the things I have never done in my life, I was doing daily without fail.
Slowly, Iva was emerging but she was so much different this time around. She had hope, faith and determination and nothing was going to stop her or stand in her way of rebuilding her life. My journey out of rock bottom took almost a full year to complete but in that time, I learned so much about myself, people and life.
Here are the 5 life lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom:
1. Failure isn’t real
There’s no such thing as failure. I’m not even sure why this word exists. You had an idea or a plan, tried it, and it didn’t work. You learn lessons from this and you move on. Always remember one very important thing: you tried. Most people don’t even bother. Believe in yourself.
2. You’re not stuck anywhere
If something isn’t working or isn’t good for you, leave it. I was terrified to leave my abusive relationship because I knew it meant I would lose everything. And I did. When I finally took the plunge and left, everything in my life changed for the better. Have faith!
3. Change is fun and scary, but do it anyway
Although change is terrifying, it’s necessary. We don’t grow in our comfort zone or in our misery. Sometimes you have to do things that will scare the daylights out of you..do them anyway. This is where you learn and grow. You meet people and you experience things you never would have if you stayed in your comfort zone. Take the leap.
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
4. Everything is temporary
The good and the bad. Nothing is forever. No matter how horrible your situation is, it won’t last. It will eventually go away or maybe even turn out great! Embrace all the good life has to offer you and learn the lessons the bad will give you. Have patience.
5. You have great power over your life
I was determined to change my life any way I had to. I did whatever I had to do to turn my life around. Was it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. I knew I had the power to change and it was up to me, and only me, to do that. No one could do it for me.
No matter where you are in your life right now, if things aren’t working out the way you expected, don’t worry. Things will always get better if you try to make them better. You can do anything you want. All you have to do is find the power that’s in you and unleash it.
This 5 Minute Test Will Instantly Change Your Life
Twelve months is too small for a life plan. The moment you understand this, the new year celebrations become a cliché. Success in life is always a build-up of several years of consistent “little” progress. The new year celebration is for gratitude, not for life planning.
People often overestimate what they can achieve in a year. But they greatly underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years. I discovered a whole new way of making progress in life quite recently. It was from the story of how a friend of mine made her most profound life progress yet. It began with a simple test that can change your life.
My friend was working in a small non-governmental organization that year. She was unsure of how to go forward in life. Life was looking scary and she was getting confused. Then, she attended a conference and took a simple test that helped her change her life.
Here are the 5 questions you must answer in the next 5 minutes:
1. What do you want to be doing (as work) 10 years from now?
Forget about today. Forget about next year. Let us go a bit further into the future. This question is not asking what you think you will be doing in 10 years. The question is asking what you would like to be doing in 10 years.
Saying that you want to be traveling around the world doesn’t count. Even if you plan to retire by then, you still have to be doing something to be responsible. To be doing nothing is to have no reason to be alive. Other people must feel your impact in some way. So, add 10 to your age and write down what you would like to be doing then.
My friend wanted to be working with top international organizations like the UN. She wants to be winning grants and handling big projects in her field. What is yours?
“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
2. Who is doing what you want to be doing in 10 years?
Believe it or not, there are people that are already living at least a similar version of your dream today. Do you know them? If you think there aren’t any, I challenge you to get on the internet and find out now.
Try as much as possible to find at least five names. Write only people whose life conforms to your answer in question 1. For my friend, she realized most of those she knew who had this life were in professors in academia. Go out and find your potential mentors today!
3. Identify (from the people you listed) who you need to become to get to your dream
It became clear to my friend that she ought to aim at becoming a university professor. Interestingly, she had always wanted this but never gave it attention. There is a person you’ll need to become to make your dream a reality. Until you identify who you need to be to have the life you want, your life will be without focus or direction. Who have you identified you need to be?
4. What job, work or responsibility will put you on a straight path to becoming who you’ve identified in question 3?
For my friend, she instantly knew she should be seeking a job opportunity at a University. It was the straight path to rise through the ranks to become the person she desired to be. Now, it is not about money or the pressure of getting something worthwhile to do. She had a clear target.
Becoming who you need to be will require that you have some experience credentials. You will get that experience by working somewhere. This is about handling a particular responsibility where you grow and develop. You need that job or responsibility that will put you in line to become who you need to become. So, what is that job for you?
“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah
5. What is the training that will qualify you for the job in question 4?
My friend already had the training and qualifications she needed, so she took off with finding the job she had identified. It took about 3 months of researching job opportunities and taking very bold steps prior to landing the job she wanted at a university.
Most people need some amount of training to land the job they have identified. Work training has become easy today because of the internet. There are myriads of training opportunities that exist in any field you can think of. If you can’t afford the ones you are seeking, I can assure you that there is a free one somewhere that can get you started.
In the professional line, many schools around the world now offer online degrees. In the gig economy also, there are lots of training by experts in various spheres. There is no way you won’t find an online course that is right for you.
Is a particular training coming to mind right now? Take action on it immediately! The training gets you the job. The job makes you into the expert. Search out the training you need and take action immediately!
Once you identify the training and start it, you begin working your way from question number 5 to question 1. From the training, you get the job. From the job, you grow to become an expert or authority in the field. From becoming an expert, you will be free to live the way you want.
For some people, this can indeed take 10 years. But for most, it takes less than that to get to question 1.
My friend is now transitioning from the job to the expert. She made new changes after reevaluating her goals with another test. She recently quit her job at the university to get a more ambitious job in a bigger city. And yes, it is with an international organization.
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