So, recently I've asked myself this question: what is my purpose in life? Not everything has been great since the pandemic started and sometimes I wonder if I am knocking on the right door or if I am planting seeds in the right place.
And obviously, like many people out there I've googled it plenty of times, and there are a lot of blogs that are trying to help, also loads of videos, but nothing really helped until it kinda hit me.
I've read this book recently about Ikigai, which in Japanese means purpose. The book is about two friends Garcia and Miralles, who are also writers, that are in love with Japanese culture. They go on a trip around Japan and analyse their culture and their way of finding purpose in their lives.
I just want to say from the very beginning that it's ok to doubt what you are doing sometimes, especially if you are not getting any results as soon as you might have hoped. But that doesn't mean that you have to doubt your entire work, or passion, or your entire self. People, including myself, are confused about this. I've always thought that if I lose my purpose in life, I basically lose myself, but this is not the case for everyone.
You need to stay true to yourself and reconnect to find your purpose again or for the first time. Think of it as a task that you have to do. Another thing that I want to mention here is that you need to put in the work. If you haven't found what's right for you till now, you need to understand yourself better and go deeper.
I know nobody wants to do this, especially if you are a lazy type like myself, but it will help you more in the long run. Instead of waiting for something to fall out of the sky, it's best to learn and improve yourself daily, and then once you know your Ikigai, you are prepared to face it.
So here are a few things that I've learned from this book and that I want to share with everyone because these have helped me for the past months. I am not going to go through the entire book, because it will take out the pleasure of you guys reading it on your own, and also again I think everyone should go through their own journey, rather than follow someone else's. So you learn and then you apply to your own life, you learn, you apply and so on.
First of all, if you want to improve something 10%, think about what you have to do to improve 100% instead. Now they give this example of the Shinkansen trains that you might already know are the fastest in the world. When they were invented back in 1958, someone in charge proposed that the engineers think of a solution to double the speed from what was originally proposed, which was pretty much impossible back in the days. Basically, they came up with a solution, but everything, from trains to infrastructure had to be changed, which was ok with the government because they had an unlimited budget to do this.
From this shinkansen story, the Japanese want to teach us a couple of lessons: one is that there is no such thing as an impossible thing, there is always a solution; the second one is that sometimes to achieve something you need to change everything. So instead of waiting to find a purpose, maybe go and try to look for it, and also never settle for something smaller just because you are too afraid, or that your friend or family already knows it's not going to work out.
The second thing I've learned from this book is to take something that is already out there and that you like and try to make it better. You know how the Asians always copy stuff from the Western civilisation, even in Japan. Well, apparently, to copy in Japan, doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing. They try to avoid importing things from other countries and instead copy those things and improve them. This is a good exercise for your brain. I assume there is already a tool out there that you wish had something additional to it, to help you around the house, or even online. Try to work out how to improve it. If you start doing this, every week or so, you will train your brain to find solutions all the time, thus finding your Ikigai sooner.
My last taking from this book is to continue to improve yourself daily. It doesn't matter if it's professionally or personally or your relationship towards others, just do it. You are your best investment. If you improve then your life improves as well. More importantly, is to try it on every aspect of your life. Give your friends and family hugs, try to help them if in need, without expecting something in return, do a good deed every day, travel every month, and most importantly try and cultivate the slow life concept and quit social media and your laptop for at least a day a week.
All of this it's meant to bring you to the present, and help you enjoy life, and analyse at the same time to understand where you want to be in life.
This book has loads of other advice, 35 I believe, and also exercises that you can do daily in order to reach your Ikigai. I strongly recommend it, and also I've left a link down below for you to check it out.