What Does Ikigai Mean? - NinjAthlete Skip to content

What Is ikigai?

The Ikigai philosophy emphasizes the importance of identifying and pursuing one's passions, while also developing the discipline, mental focus, and physical skills of a ninja.

What Does ikigai Mean?

"ikigai" is a Japanese concept that combines the words "iki" (meaning life) and "gai" (meaning value or worth). It translates roughly to "reason for being" or "reason to wake up in the morning."

Ikigai is considered the intersection of four fundamental components:

  • What you love (your passion)
  • What the world needs (your mission)
  • What you are good at (your vocation)
  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

The idea is that to find your ikigai, you need to understand and balance these elements.

It's where personal passions and talents converge with what the world needs and is willing to pay for.

This intersection can guide people towards work and hobbies that bring fulfillment, happiness, and a sense of purpose.

However, it's worth noting that the concept of ikigai is often simplified in the West.

In Japan, it's not exclusively about work or career but rather encompasses all things that make life worth living.

While the concept sounds straightforward, finding one's ikigai is often a journey of self-discovery and introspection.

It may change and evolve over time as circumstances, interests, and personal skills develop and change.

How to Find Your Ikigai?

Finding your Ikigai, or your reason for being, often involves introspection and self-discovery. Here's a process that might help you:

List What You Love

Identify the activities, experiences, and aspects of life that truly fulfill and inspire you.

These could be hobbies, topics you love to learn about, or activities that put you into a flow state where you lose track of time.

Identify Your Strengths

Take an honest inventory of what you are really good at. This could be anything from interpersonal skills, physical talents, mental strengths, or professional capabilities.

You could also ask for input from those around you who know you well.

Identify What the World Needs

This can be on a macro scale, like major global issues that resonate with you, or on a micro scale, such as needs within your local community or social circles.

It can also be helpful to consider broader societal needs or trends.

Identify What You Can Be Paid For

This is about identifying not just jobs that you could do, but things that people (or organizations) would be willing to pay you for.

Think about the skills and talents you have that others value.

Find the Intersection

Ikigai is the point where these four aspects meet. Look for commonalities or points of intersection in your lists.

What are the activities, roles, or opportunities that combine what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you could be paid for?

Experiment and Refine

Finding your ikigai isn't always a straightforward process and it's okay if you don't find a perfect overlap immediately.

You might need to explore new areas, learn new skills, or try out new roles. This can be a process of trial and error.

Remember Ikigai Is Fluid

Your ikigai may change over time, and that's okay. As you grow and change as a person, so too will your passions, talents, and perception of the world.

This process is personal and can take time. It's not just about finding a job or career, but about discovering a sense of purpose and fulfillment in all areas of life.

Don't be discouraged if you don't find your ikigai right away. The journey to finding it can be just as valuable.

What Is An Ikigai Ninja?

The Ikigai Ninja philosophy is centered around the Japanese concept of "Ikigai," which means "a reason for being" or "a sense of purpose".

An Ikigai Ninja is someone who combines the principles of the ancient art of ninjutsu with the Japanese concept of Ikigai to live a fulfilling and purposeful life.

The Ikigai Ninja seeks to identify and pursue their passions while also developing the discipline, mental focus, and physical skills of a ninja.

They strive to balance the pursuit of personal goals with the pursuit of greater societal good, finding ways to use their skills and passions to contribute to the world around them.

An Ikigai Ninja is someone who combines the ancient wisdom of the ninja with the modern concept of Ikigai to live a meaningful and fulfilling life, while also contributing to the greater good.

This involves developing a sense of mindfulness and self-awareness, cultivating a positive and focused mindset, and finding ways to contribute to the greater good of society.

Ikigai Quotes

Here are some quotes related to the concept of Ikigai:

"Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing." - Hector Garcia

"Just as humans have lusted after objects and money since the dawn of time, other humans have felt dissatisfaction at the relentless pursuit of money and fame and have instead focused on something bigger than their own material wealth. This has over the years been described using many different words and practices, but always hearkening back to the central core of meaningfulness in life." - Hector Garcia

"Life is not a problem to be solved. Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you." - Hector Garcia

"To feel happy, it is important for a person to have a purpose. Without a purpose, life can be greatly disturbed." - Yukari Mitsuhashi

"If you want to enjoy life and reach your full potential, you need to find your ikigai." - Ken Mogi

"Our intuition and curiosity are very powerful internal compasses to help us connect with our ikigai." - Hector Garcia


These quotes reflect the essence of Ikigai as not only a journey towards discovering one's purpose, but also the importance of integrating it into everyday life for satisfaction and happiness.

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