Finding your ideal career path with ikigai


You spend the majority of your life (around 30 percent) sleeping, but by the point of two most people are working. No matter how much we love hobbies, or vacations or nights out, we spend the vast majority of our active hours on hard work. That is not bad at all, were it not for that investigation from the National Vacaturebank it appears that not even half of the working Netherlands are fully satisfied with the content of his or her work. Whatever the cause, most workers would really like to do something different deep in their hearts. One principle that can help you to make a perfect job choice (or training choice) is the Japanese one ikigai.

What is ikigai?

The term ikigai is poorly translated, but means something like "the reason for your existence." To put it in the Dutch way: the reason that you come out of your nest every day. In Japan, ikigai is a widespread principle that people use to achieve a meaningful, satisfying and valuable life. In short: well-being in optima forma. Ikigai is applicable to all parts of human life - hobbies, family life, but certainly also your career - and consists of four facets:

  1. Skills. It is about something that you are really good at;
  2. Love. What you genuinely enjoy doing;
  3. Money. What you could be paid for;
  4. Needs. And that makes the world a little better.

When you manage to find something that meets all four characteristics - and that's not easy! - then according to Japanese teachings you have found your true ikigai.


It is worth remembering that the four facets are rather subjective in nature. Whether or not you are good at something is not an objectively established fact, apart from the knowledge that you can also develop and do something well. turn into. Being able to pay for something is also a relative term; there is a difference between becoming wealthy or earning a nice pocket money in addition to your actual work. You determine whether your activities meet the four facets of ikigai self. Only you can estimate whether you have found your ikigai.

Ikigai schedule

Apply Ikigai in your career

Ask random teenagers what they want to be later and the majority have no idea (yet). Nevertheless, your career path starts in your adolescent years, for example with choices for further education. A choice that later turns out not to be optimal is of course lurking. No wonder many people end up in jobs that they don't consider ideal, you would say.

Ikigai helps with this. Ask yourself from moment to moment whether what you are doing on a daily basis is something that will also make you genuinely happy. That may be a floating question, but it is easy to test. Do you enjoy jumping on the train, in your car or on your bike when you go to work? Or do you ever go reluctantly? And if so, how often is that? Do you find it annoying when a lot of work comes your way, or do you experience that as something positive? Are you burned out after a day of work, or do you often feel satisfied? The answers to these types of questions help you estimate how satisfied you are with the content of your work.

Improve the world?

We have not yet discussed the fourth and last aspect: ikigai prescribes that you do something that will benefit the world. That sounds rather serious and heavy. Giving impressive speeches and calling on politicians for real action, for example, is not for everyone.

But this aspect is also fairly easy to test.

If you work for a somewhat larger employer, chances are that your employer has set out a mission or vision. Take a critical look at your employer's vision and compare it to your world view. Do they agree? Do you sincerely believe in the mission of your employer, or is there anything to be said about it?

You don't have to become a world improver to find your ikigai, but it is important to do something that you truly believe in. Something that matters, that you are proud of and that you would like to talk about at birthdays, for example.

Some people never find their true ikigai. So don't worry if it takes a while, or if it seems like an impossible task. And perhaps you can also be satisfied in the long term if you can, for example, fill in three of the four facets. Applying ikigai can at least help you consciously deal with your career path and make wise career choices, and that is always valuable.

Bloeise editor

The Bloeise editorial staff consists of Thomas Lapperre. These messages are not credited personally because they are written by others: hired copywriters for sponsored content and submitted press releases. The editors cannot take any responsibility for submitted press releases - text and images are[…]
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