Ikigai: A Japanese concept to improve work and life - Deepstash
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According to Hasegawa, the origin of the word ikigai goes back to the Heian period (794 to 1185). " Gai comes from the word kai ("shell" in Japanese) which were deemed highly valuable, and from there ikigai derived as a word that means value in living."

There are other words that use kai: yarigai or hatarakigai which mean the value of doing and the value of working. Ikigai can be thought of as a comprehensive concept that incorporates such values in life.

There are many books in Japan devoted to ikigai, but one in particular is considered definitive: Ikigai-ni-tsuite (About Ikigai), published in 1966.

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But, knowing your ikigai alone is not enough. Simply put, you need an outlet. Ikigai is "purpose in action," he says.

For 92-year-old Tomi Menaka, her ikigai is to dance and sing with her peers in the KBG84 dance troupe, she told the Mainichi newspaper . For others, it might be work itself.

In a culture where the value of the team supercedes the individual, Japanese workers are driven by being useful to others, being thanked, and being esteemed by their colleagues, says Toshimitsu Sowa, CEO of HR consulting firm Jinzai Kenkyusho.

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But, knowing your ikigai alone is not enough. Simply put, you need an outlet. Ikigai is "purpose in action," he says.

For 92-year-old Tomi Menaka, her ikigai is to dance and sing with her peers in the KBG84 dance troupe, she told the Mainichi newspaper . For others, it might be work itself.

In a culture where the value of the team supercedes the individual, Japanese workers are driven by being useful to others, being thanked, and being esteemed by their colleagues, says Toshimitsu Sowa, CEO of HR consulting firm Jinzai Kenkyusho.

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1.03K reads

Rather, ikigai is about feeling your work makes a difference in people's lives.

How people find meaning in their work is a topic of much interest to management experts. One research paper by Wharton management professor Adam Grant explained that what motivates employees is "doing work that affects the well-being of others" and to "see or meet the people affected by their work."

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In one experiment, cold callers at the University of Michigan who spent time with a recipient of the scholarship they were trying to raise money for brought in 171% more money when compared with those who were merely working the phone. The simple act of meeting a student beneficiary provided meaning to the fundraisers and boosted their performance.

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Champion hurdler Dai Tamesue, who retired in 2012, said in a recent interview that the fundamental question he asked after he retired was: "what was it that I wanted to achieve by playing sports?"

"For me, what I wanted to achieve through competing in track and field was to change people's perceptions". After retiring, he started a company that supports sports-related business.

Tamesue's story shows the malleable nature of ikigai and how it can be applied. When retirement comes, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of why you do what you do beyond collecting a payslip.

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Champion hurdler Dai Tamesue, who retired in 2012, said in a recent interview that the fundamental question he asked after he retired was: "what was it that I wanted to achieve by playing sports?"

"For me, what I wanted to achieve through competing in track and field was to change people's perceptions". After retiring, he started a company that supports sports-related business.

Tamesue's story shows the malleable nature of ikigai and how it can be applied. When retirement comes, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of why you do what you do beyond collecting a payslip.

2.11K

1.03K reads

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