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What is your Ikigai?

"a reason for being" or "the purpose of life".

Lately, I've been studying the principles of ikigai. In case you have never heard this word before, ikigai is a Japanese term for "a reason for being" or "the purpose of life". Ikigai, according to the Japanese culture, is what forms the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile.

One thing that caught my attention as I studied ikigai was the overarching principle that finding purpose in life or anything that we do has nothing to do with how big or small our ideas are. And finding purpose in life is surely not measured by the size of your audience or the number of accolades you receive for your work. It is, however, an indication of your commitment to an idea or a work that you carry out with passion and excellence.
In the Japanese tradition of gagaku, the court musicians who often serve at occasions like the anniversary of the emperor would play, sing and dance with no audience present. This tradition is more than 1,200 years old and the part that these musicians play is quite significant but not motivated by rewards or recognition. I guess it's reasonable to say that the celebration will certainly not be the same without their participation. And, I can only imagine the inner joys and satisfaction that these musicians derive from their work, strong enough to keep them going even while remaining 'invisible'.

Purpose empowers us to realize the two most important outcomes in life; fulfillment and meaning.

If the work we're doing deprives us of personal fulfillment, all we have is a job, not a purpose. The work we do must bring fulfillment into our lives but also add meaning and value to other people’s lives. This is a balanced life – you attain personal fulfillment while, at the same time, adding meaning to the world around you and the people you interact with through your work.

So, here's to not only discovering but also realizing your most fulfilling and meaningful life's work – that work that you're most passionate about and that you excel at doing. And even if no one is watching, like the gagaku musicians, keep working it– write your story, paint your image, dance your dance, sing your song, and play your music.

Tosin Adewumi
The All-Round You | Passion Reveals Purpose

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