You’re a young entrepreneur, probably GenZ. You’ve got limited life experience but limitless determination and dreams. And everyone keeps telling you that you have to ‘follow your passion’ and ‘pursue your true purpose’. Well, great, but what is that? It’s not always obvious is it?
A long time ago the Japanese, subtle, complex people that they are, thought about this. Thought about it deeply. And they came up with a working solution. Notice that. Not some abstract theory. A philosophy that works in the real world.
So how does that work?
Ikigai’s Four Questions
To find your true purpose in life you must answer four questions. Sorry, sounding like Buddha or Yoda there. Answer, you must, four questions.
If you can answer the four questions then these are the proven benefits: improved work, increased happiness, better health, even longer life.
Sounds good right?
And these are the four questions you must be able to answer:
1. What are you good at?
2. What do you like to do?
3. What does the world need?
4. How can I get paid for this?
What Are Your Answers?
It sounds so simple. And at one level it is, it truly is. But simple is not easy. Let’s take an example.
You like playing Fortnite. It’s no longer cutting edge but there are still around 350m to 400m users. You’re good at it too. So that’s 1 and 2 ticked off that list above. How about 4 – can you get paid for it?
Yes, a few can make a really good living at it. Top player Bugha has earned over $3m from playing the game, endorsements etc. The next dozen or so ranked players have all earned over $1m. Note that’s total earnings, not per year, but, yeah, that’s No 4 answered if you’re good enough.
But that leaves No 3. Does the world need you to play Fortnite? Does you becoming the last one standing on the island in some way make the world a better place? No.
Real Life Example
Let’s take another example. I like writing young adult and middle grade novels. Looking at it dispassionately, I’m a good and experienced writer. I love this sort of writing more than breathing. Again, that’s 1 and 2 squared away.
I think my books don’t just entertain, there is some education and life lesson material in there. I do think I’ve got No 3 ticked. But that leaves No 4 – how can I get paid for this?
I self-publish and do gain some income from it. But is it enough income to make a living? No, or at least not yet. And that is an important point.
People say ‘Oh I love doing this thing, it makes the world a better place. I don’t care about the money’. Well, great, but how do you continue to do this good thing? You’ll run out of money and have to stop. We have to find a way to make a living from this thing.
So how would you answer those questions so you got a positive answer to all four?
If you can do it – you’ve found your Ikigai.
You’ve found your purpose.
Can you answer those four questions? Give us the answers here and we'll try to move forward together.