Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason to get up in the morning”, that is, a reason to enjoy life.
Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.
The word “ikigai” is usually used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile. Secondly, the word is used to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It’s not necessarily linked to the economic status or today state of things. Even if a person feels that today’s dark, but has a goal, he may feel ikigai. Behaviours that make one feel ikigai are not actions which individuals are forced to take – these are natural and spontaneous actions.
The term “ikigai” is composed of two Chinese characters : iki and kai. Iki refers to life and kai is a suffix meaning roughly “the realisation of what one expects and hopes for.”
People can feel ikigai only when on the basis of personal maturity, the satisfaction of various desires, love and happiness, encounters with others, and a sense of the value of life, they proceed towards self-realization.