How To Discover Your Ikigai?

The Japanese secret to health, happiness and longevity.

Ben Mumme
6 min readDec 12, 2019


Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Have you ever thought:

If I earn this much money, I’ll be happier or if I owned that thing, I’ll be happier?

It’s refreshing to know that in recent years, as a society, we’ve started to move away from the idea that economic success, wealth and possessions are signs of achievement or the sole items responsible for our happiness.

Did you know?

  • Japan is known for the life practices that lead to the longevity of its people, reaching an average life of 83.7 years.
  • Previous studies have shown Japanese longevity to be closely related to dietary and health practices.
  • New studies on Japanese philosophy have shown life fulfillment through ikigai as a key component to longevity.

What is Ikigai?

Philosophers have been deliberating over constructs that explain the pursuit of happiness and the meaning of life for centuries. Ikigai is one thought to combine the Japanese words ikiru, meaning “to live”, and kai, meaning “the sensation of what hopes for”. Together these definitions create “a reason to live” or having a life purpose.

We all strive for satisfaction and purpose in our lives. Your ikigai is your reason for jumping out of bed in the morning, what motivates you to revel in and appreciate life every day.

Ikigai is a beneficial practice in career growth because like your own passions and needs, and what the world needs — the meditation of ikigai grows and changes with you. There’s not necessarily an end to your ikigai practice, it’s an ongoing journey.

How to find your Ikigai?

According to Japanese culture, everyone has ikigai. Detecting our strengths is not always easy. There are four questions that can help us find our path. If you write them down somewhere where you come across them regularly, you can use them as a compass bringing you closer to your purpose.

To find your Ikigai, you must ask yourself:

1. What do I love? (passion)

2. What am I good at? (vocation)



Ben Mumme

Investor, writer, podcaster and CEO of Living Your Greatness.