One Question 8 Billion People Ask: How Can I Find My Life’s Purpose?

Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike
One Question 8 Billion People Ask: How Can I Find My Life’s Purpose?

You may be one of the lucky ones. You might know exactly what motivates you and drives you forward. However, for most of us, the answer to ‘What motivates you?’ is unclear and changes as we get older. There’s no right answer. And importantly, there’s no wrong one. We are all different, so please don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams aren’t worth fighting for. Cliche as it is, this resonates with nearly everyone once they reach their golden years.

That all being said, how can we find our passions? How can we find what really excites us? The best way that I know how is to carefully contemplate my Ikigai.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to “a reason for being.” This can manifest as finding a purpose in life, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or a motivation to keep pushing forward.

To find your Ikigai, we ask ourselves four key questions:
  1. What are you passionate about?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What does the world need?
  4. What can you get paid for?

These questions will help you to identify your passions and determine the best way to pursue them. Once you’ve identified what you’re passionate about, what you’re good at, what the world needs and what you can get paid for, you’ll be able to find your purpose, motivation and Ikigai.

Importantly, your Ikigai should be something that you can continuously strive to achieve, even if that doesn’t lead to immediate recognition. It should bring you joy, and keep you searching for more. should help you to identify what it is that you want to do and who you want to be.

Most importantly, it should empower you to take control of your life. Don’t be scared to try something and fail – that’s part of the process of finding your Ikigai. Knowing what you’re passionate about and what motivates you can help guide and shape your life, and give you the motivation to keep going.

What do most people get wrong when they search for their Ikigai?

Many people mistakenly believe that their Ikigai must be something grandiose or extraordinary. However, this is not the case at all. Your Ikigai can be anything that brings you life purpose, joy and direction. It can be something small, like spending more time with friends, or something bigger, like creating an organization that helps people in need. Whatever it is, it must be something that resonates with you and brings value to your life.

Finding your Ikigai can be difficult and take time, but when you do, it will become the driving force behind your life and the lens that guides your decisions. Ikigai offers a unique way to reframe what success and happiness look like to you and can help to motivate you to strive for something greater.

Let’s dive into each of those four key questions one by one.

What do we mean by, “What are you passionate about?”

This question is all about exploring your passions and interests and identifying what you are naturally drawn to. Think about what brings you joy and fulfilment, and consider the things you find yourself drawn to over and over again. It could be activities, hobbies, reading, writing, volunteering, etc.

How can we interpret, “What are you good at?

This question is all about exploring your skills, talents, and strengths. Think about what you have a natural aptitude for and what comes easily to you. It could be something related to your job, a hobby or an area of study

What about, “What does the world need?

This question is all about exploring how you can use your passions and skills to make a difference in the world. Think about how you can use your gifts and abilities to help other people. It could be something as simple as volunteering at a local shelter or starting a charity.

And finally, “What can you get paid for?”

This question is all about finding a way to make a living from doing what you love. Think about what you could do to make money while also living your life's mission. It could be something as simple as starting your own business or consulting on the side.

These four key questions will help you to gain clarity on your purpose, find motivation and finally, find your Ikigai. So don’t be afraid to take the time to explore them and find the answers. You’ll thank yourself that you did.

How does this help students, specifically?

In my years as a coach and advisor to thousands of young people, I’ve found there is a common dis-spiriting notion that every young person needs to create their own ‘uniqueness.’ Whether perpetuated by the college admissions process, or questions like, “So…what makes you special?” is beyond our comprehension, though re-framing the issue from ‘creating’ uniqueness to ‘realizing’ uniqueness may be the most healthy and productive mindset here.

With Ikigai, young people search for what already exists in their minds or in their actions and search for overlap. This is critical. It helps them find the intersection between their hopes and dreams, their abilities, the world’s needs, and monetizable products or services that support these combined activities. With this approach, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and success rates all increase.

For young people, the ability to find one’s Ikigai can be particularly useful. It helps them gain clarity on their direction in life, find motivation and develop a deeper sense of self. Ultimately, it can help students make choices for their future that align with their true interests and passions, rather than simply following a predetermined path.

At LearningLeaders, we always hope to help students find their voice.

Everyone has something to say.

What will you share with the world?

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Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike