By David Tomas, on 28 February 2022
According to Japanese culture, we all have an Ikigai (生き甲斐), pronounced ee-kee-guy. However, it may surprise you to learn that an Ikigai is not about aligning the four vocational elements of what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at, and what you can get paid for, which is what we have mistakingly been made to believe. That's the Venn Diagram of Purpose!
Read on to learn more about the true meaning of Ikigai and how it can contribute to our overall well-being. Additionally, learn how Cyberclick, our digital marketing agency, enables employees to find fulfillment in their professional lives.
IkigaiTribe clarifies that the meaning of Ikigai can be found by dividing up and analyzing the words "iki" and "gai." "Iki" comes from the word "ikiru" which means "to live", while "gai" is a suffix that means "worth or value". Therefore, practicing Ikigai means finding value in day-to-day living.
Psychologists say that finding the source of value in your daily life can (unsurprisingly) improve your overall happiness. They claim that if people are able to find their Ikigai, or their purpose and meaning in their family and community, everything will be easier and more joyful because they'll be in sync with their capabilities.
Ikigai vs. The Venn Diagram of Purpose
Contrary to popular belief, Ikigai is not the convergence of the 4 vocational elements "what you love", "what the world needs", "what you are good at" and "what you can get paid for". That is actually the astrologer Andrés Zuzanaga's Venn Diagram of Purpose. Over time, his Venn diagram has been mistaken by people all over the world as Ikigai, when in reality, it is an entirely different concept.
Where Are People Finding Their Ikigai?
There are people who feel that they can not find their gifts in life. Some find themselves dragging themselves out of bed, going to work, and coming back home without getting much satisfaction from the way they are spending their days. The feelings of drive and passion have become distant memories. When this happens, people can find it hard to reignite the spark and the feeling of engagement they once had.
Cyberclick's founder and CEO, David Tomas, explains where his passion for motivating his team to find life fulfillment came from in a recent interview, where he said "Years ago one of my closest friends went through a long period of time where every Sunday evening, like clockwork, he would feel a terrible dread for the upcoming work week. He was spending so much of his life being unhappy at work and on top of that, he wasted Sunday evenings dreading the week to come. After witnessing this pattern, I started to ponder what made him feel this way and how companies could avoid the Sunday evening dread."
One of the main findings of motivational research in the workplace is that extrinsic motivation is unachievable. In other words, it is impossible to motivate other people to do things they are not already motivated to do.
Because of this, Ikigai is found intrinsically. If you look back, you’ll likely remember that as a child you had a natural inclination towards something. However, when adulthood came, your natural orientation was influenced by socio-economic factors like what others were doing, what your parents believe you should be doing, what type of income you believed you needed for certain standards of living, etc.
The 5 Pillars of Ikigai
According to IkigaiTribe, Ikigai can contribute to your health because it is closely related to creativity and is indispensable to well-being.
Ken Mogi, the author of The Little Book of Ikigai, states that the five pillars provide the essential foundation to allow your Ikigai to flourish.
These pillars are:
Pillar 1: Starting small
Pillar 2: Releasing yourself
Pillar 3: Harmony and sustainability
Pillar 4: The joy of little things
Pillar 5: Being in the here and now
Cyberclick Practices and Life Purpose
The pursuit of fulfillment has been an important goal for human beings for centuries. We seek practices that bring us fulfillment and this is just as necessary at work as it is in our personal lives.
We spend much of our lives at work and it can be hard to feel fulfilled if every morning we have to make a superhuman effort to get out of bed and make our way to a place where we do not feel valued.
Though this may sound naïve, a person's well-being should always be a priority in any organization. The truth is that if you take care of your employees, you will see better results across the board. From a financial viewpoint, investing in your team's intrinsic motivation or Ikigai will increase your ROI.
Recently, David Tomás published his first book, named “The happiest company in the world”, where he reflects on the organizational culture that we have developed over the years here at Cyberclick and the keys which have allowed us to win the award for Best Workplaces in Spain two years consecutively.
These keys are easy to put into practice and are based on experience.
- Do what you do best
- Know how to say no
- Take care of your energy
- Practice continuous personal development
- Make time for things that are fulfilling
- Align your personal values with those of your company
- Simplify things
- Love the 'why' of your company
- Trust others
Life Fulfillment and Great Place to Work
While looking into the idea of fulfillment in the workplace, one often will come across the organization Great Place to Work®. After millions of surveys and years of extensive research, this organization has come to the conclusion that there are three important factors that need to exist in a good workplace.
- Trust between coworkers and leaders.
- Pride in the role you perform.
- Camaraderie in the workplace.
Start with trust. It’s the glue that holds a company together, allowing you to improve and grow. Trust is dependent on the relationship between the employee and the company. The results of having a foundation of trust in your workplace are innumerable. Employees are more comfortable in their environment, they rely on one another for support, they feel valued, and they are much more confident in voicing their opinions and ideas.
Pride and camaraderie are more difficult to define and foster. These two values are different in that they depend on each individual person's character and needs. They are reliant on the relationship between the employee and his or her job (pride) and the relationship between the employee and his or her coworkers (camaraderie). What each person needs to be proud of in their job is personal and unique and it’s crucial to ensure that everyone is in a role that satisfies their goals.
The quality of relationships between coworkers depends on the personalities and different preferences each person has as well as the ability of the team to match them. Pride and camaraderie relate back to the concept of Ikigai in that it's necessary to appreciate others for their personal reason for being while also valuing yourself and yours. This will create a harmonious work environment composed of successful individuals.