Ikigai, Balance and the big picture

1) an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

2) a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

One aspect of Ikigai that we find particularly helpful (and beautiful) is that while you can use the concept to guide your career direction, it forces you to keep in mind your whole life. Everything in life is connected. Work is not necessarily what gives you Ikigai.

What does this mean?

First of all, fulfillment and enjoyment can be found in many aspects of our lives. Even if you’re currently in a job you dislike, or feels meaningless, think about how you can use your spare time to experiment with interests that could potentially turn into a future career. Also, where else in life can you find pleasure and purpose?

If for some reason pursuing new career opportunities is not an option for you at the moment, take some time to reflect on these questions:

  • Which project or interest could I pursue part time, while working in my present job?
  • Other than my career, what else could bring me joy?

Hobbies and interests?
Relationships and family?

Think about the elements that you need in your life to remain upright and steady. The proportion of these elements, to keep you balanced, will change during your lifetime. What you needed to stay balanced in your 20s, is most likely not the same as what you need in your 50s. Being conscious about this, and regularly checking with yourself to see what proportions are right or wrong, is the best career advice we can give you. Get the big picture before you apply for that job.