CorteX 101: Ikigai, the Japanese Secret

Updated: Mar 16

What is Ikigai? Ikigai is a Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, and a reason for living.

The Japanese secret has no direct English translation, but it’s a term that embodies the idea of happiness in everyday living. Essentially, Ikigai is the reason why you would get up in the morning! —A PURPOSE OF LIFE

The concept of Ikigai, is often associated with a Venn diagram with four overlapping qualities:

—> what you love

—> what you are good at

—> what the world needs

—> what you can be paid for

Activity: Try this out for yourself!

Make a diagram, and try and fill each section with whatever you can think of according to that section. Other sections might take more time and self-reflection. However, filling these diagrams can help clarify where you stand in your search for Ikigai and how to make adjustments needed to sustain an exclusive way of living.

Is this really the Japanese tradition or has this become westernized?

A healthy debate suggests all the above sections aren’t necessarily the components of Ikigai as traditionally stated by the Japanese (Ikigai Tribe, 2019).

Some people believe Ikigai does not involve something the “world needs”, or that you can “get paid for”, or is a passion. In fact, they believe the traditional Japanese concept of Ikigai means appreciating the little joys in life, being present in the moment and reflecting on the pockets of happy memories. Thus it is all about having a mindset that one can build a happy and active life from this concept.


Whether Ikigai is believed to be a diagram, seen as traditional or not, filling one out is scientifically proven to be a useful task!

There is worldwide recognition that finding this motivating & purpose in life is associated with greater happiness and satisfaction in life.

💪 Go live to your best life! 💪

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