I recently had a conversation with a friend about bucket lists and quickly realized our approaches were different. My friend’s bucket list was mostly about things he wanted to do or at least try to do, while mine is mostly about travel and the places I would like to experience. Although our lists had different content, they served the same purpose. Our lists were filled with the things that are meaningful and bring each of us joy.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve been able to travel extensively and experience different cultures (still many roads to travel and places to go!). One thing I learned through travel is the concept of “Ikigai”, a concept from Japanese culture about finding your purpose. The word “ikigai” comes from the Japanese words “iki”, which means life, and “gai”, which means value or worth. Ikigai is about finding your reason for living – your purpose or mission to live your best life. Your purpose is the place where what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for intersect. It’s not necessarily about finding the perfect job or career, but about finding the activity that gives you a sense of satisfaction and purpose. It’s about aligning your passions, skills, and values with the needs of the world around you. It’s a Venn diagram for your life!
My passion is travel and learning from people which allows me to expand my horizons. It’s meeting new people, making connections, and learning from them. It’s through these connections that I am inspired, and I bring that inspiration back to J2. One of the ways I do that is through cigars and whiskey, two things I love and am good (knowledgeable) at. Through cigar and whiskey events, I’ve met some fascinating people that have become good friends over the years. I have met folks who are truck drivers, CEOs, and many professions in between by pursuing my passions and interests, and I’ve learned a lot in the process. I have found my intersection, for now. The interesting thing about “Ikigai” is once you find it, your purpose will grow and evolve as you do, giving you all you need to have a meaningful, happy life!
Of course, finding your Ikigai isn’t always easy. It can take time, self-reflection, and a willingness to explore different paths. But the benefits are worth it – when you find your Ikigai, you’ll feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can’t be found through external rewards, like money or status.
Ikigai is a journey, not a destination, and it’s something that we can all strive for. What is your “Ikigai”?
“The key to ikigai is it’s what makes life really seem worth it. It’s when you feel, “damn! It’s good to be alive!” and that’s an extraordinary feeling to have. It’s wonderful that as human beings, we have an ikigai enabling us to experience that.” – Gordon Matthews
Have a great weekend.