There’s a story told long ago of a woman who was in a coma and was dying. She suddenly had a feeling that she was taken up to heaven and stood before the Judgment Seat.
“Who are you?” a Voice said to her.
“I’m the wife of the mayor,” she replied.”I did not ask whose wife you are but who you are.””I’m the mother of four children.””I did not ask whose mother you are, but who you are.””I’m a school teacher.””I did not ask what your profession is but who you are.”
And so it went. No matter what she replied, she did not seem to give a satisfactory answer to the question, “Who are you?”
“I’m a Christian.””I did not ask what your religion is but who you are.””I’m the one who went to church every day and always helped the poor and needy.””I did not ask what you did but who you are.”
She evidently failed the examination, for she was sent back to earth. When she recovered from her illness, she was determined to find out who she was. And that made all the difference.
The Voice is asking the woman to name her IKIGAI but when she does, the Voice replies that that’s not the meaning of her life.
In the Japanese culture, there is a term which is known as IKIGAI. The meaning loosely translates to “a reason for being”. 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 one’s economic status or the present state of society. Even if a person feels that the present is dark, but they have a goal in mind, they may feel ikigai.
I am strongly convinced that the key to designing and living an extra ordinary life is in finding your IKIGAI, life purpose, or whatever you choose to call it. This is beyond what you do for a living everyday and what you get paid for. It is something deeply rooted in what makes you get up in the morning. According to this quote : “One who lives for work will soon enough retire, or get laid off; one’s lover may leave; children will grow up and be gone; one’s dreams may fade; God may disappear. One will eventually die, and what will it all mean then?”
I know you have all these amazing goals to achieve this year, I certainly hope you do. What will make it all worth it and give you the drive to stay up late and wake up early is in knowing your IKIGAI and knowing that what you do everyday and that goal you are chasing connects to what gives your life meaning.
I have written somewhere before that your motivation doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t have to make sense to other people. Once it makes sense to you, thats all that matters.