Have you ever found yourself sat in front of the TV, scrolling through your phone as another day ticks over into night and you realise that it all just feels a bit pointless?
Does our life really get boiled down to work, eat, sleep repeat with the odd holiday thrown in to liven things up once a year?
That's pretty much where I found myself a few years ago. Going through the motions, not feeling fulfilled and with nothing to look forward to other than the next trip somewhere sunny. Sure, it was a comfortable life and I was happy - but I also knew there was more out there for me. More meaning, more joy and more fulfilment. So I went looking for it - all of it.
Lots of things happened on that journey, one of which was discovering the Japanese principle of Ikigai. It's based around the idea that if you can identify and then hold certain elements in balance, then you will discover your Ikigai - your purpose. The word Ikigai translates into English roughly as "reason for living" or "value through living" and is partially responsible for the happy and healthy lives of people living on the Japanese island of Okinawa. This is one of the planet's Blue Zones where people live the longest and tend to be both happier and healthier than the rest of us.
So, what's their secret? As well as other specific lifestyle choices, the Okinawa residents also tend to know their Ikigai. They have a distinct purpose that brings them happiness and fulfilment which was proof enough to get me interested. As I researched more I realised that this was a way of looking at life that filled in so many gaps, and pinpointed the key elements I needed to focus on to find my own purpose. It boils down to these four simple questions: