Achieving a working life with purpose and productivity is often a struggle, with various life elements battling for attention. One Japanese concept which is gradually gaining traction globally due to its life-enhancing potential is IKIGAI (生き甲斐). Synthesizing this ancient philosophy into the modern professional realm can empower individuals to live better and be more productive.
The Essence of IKIGAI
“Ikigai” is a compound of “iki,” meaning “life” and “gai,” which pertains to “value or worth.” In essence, IKIGAI signifies the value of life or ‘what makes life worth living.’ In the professional context, it articulates purpose, motivation, fulfilment, and satisfaction within the workplace. A crucial aspect of this philosophy is the understanding that the pursuit of passions and strengths, as well as the willingness to answer life’s demands meaningfully, leads to a fulfilling life.
Implementing IKIGAI in the professional sphere
Deriving Worth Through Meaningful Work
IKIGAI compels one to explore the vice-versa of the proverbial adage, ‘Do what you love.’ It encourages professionals to love what they do, thereby deriving worth from their everyday tasks. When you love what you do, the motivation to excel comes easily, and this results in high productivity levels. As a tool, IKIGAI can guide individuals to identify and focus on tasks they enjoy within the job role, align job functions with personal passions, or even make lateral transitions to their job profile that aligns better with their ‘reason for being.’
Blending Professional Values
The IKIGAI concept is based on four primary elements – what you love (passion), what the world needs (mission), what you can get paid for (vocation), and what you are good at (profession). These elements form the pillars of the IKIGAI model. If a professional can find a job that incorporates these elements or facilitates their balance while undertaking their existing job role, they will tend to be more productive and enjoy their work.
Collaborative Pursuit of Goals
IKIGAI promotes a balanced approach to pursuing individual and collective goals. It encourages a collective pursuit of objectives by aligning personal purposes within a team or an organization with the overall organizational purpose. This holistic approach allows firms to optimize productivity by creating cohesive and purposeful teams driven by a common business purpose.
In the face of adversities at work such as tight deadlines, stressful projects, or challenging clients, an understanding of one’s IKIGAI can serve as a beacon. It fosters resilience, instilling the belief that their work is contributing to something larger than their immediate, tangible goals. This capacity for resilience is of immense value in fostering productivity in the corporate setting, as it allows professionals to bounce back from setbacks and persist in achieving their objectives.
Promoting a Culture of Wellness
As IKIGAI provides a compelling reason for being, it can nurture a sense of purpose and well-being among professionals. With its comprehensive approach that embraces the various aspects of human existence, IKIGAI imparts the ability to manage one’s life and work better, which contributes to overall physical and mental health. Consequently, a healthy, motivated individual translates into an energetic, productive employee, making a corporate wellness culture critical for business success.
In an increasingly challenging and volatile corporate world, professionals must possess a profound sense of purpose and equilibrium to thrive and succeed. By integrating the philosophy of IKIGAI into our professional lives, we can find fulfilment, improve wellness, and increase productivity, thereby optimally navigating the complexities of the corporate landscape. IKIGAI, with its versatility, holistic approach, and multidimensional benefits, could be a game-changer in the realm of professional productivity and well-being. In the end, it’s not about merely surviving the workday but about leading a fulfilling and valuable life.