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Outlet

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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Hasegawa points out that in English, the word life means both lifetime and everyday life. So, ikigai translated as life's purpose sounds very grand. "But in Japan we have jinsei, which means lifetime and seikatsu, which means everyday life," he says. The concep...

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