FIND YOUR HAPPY
I chanced upon a book on ikigai on a trip to London recently. It was placed, rather bizarrely, in the National Theatre bookshop (theatregoers on their way to the bloodbath that is Rufus Norris’ Macbeth, picking up a book on finding one’s bliss – interesting). Nevertheless, it was through the bookshop’s savvy product placement that I found myself drawn towards it like a moth to the flame, despite my usual wariness of any trendy self-help concept.
Ikigai, essentially, sets us on the course to find our reason for being. “Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing,” write the authors of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life and proceed to detail this in a pastel-coloured chart of circles. What caught my eye was a set of four triangles within the chart that accurately describe the state of being we all fall into at some point – a sort of ennui despite all our achievements and acquisitions. There are four questions to ask yourself out of this state: 1. What do I love? 2. What am I good at? 3. What can I be paid for now- or can transform into a future career or vocation? 4. What does the world need? In short, the questions every entrepreneur asks before embarking on their adventure.
David Linley could well be the poster boy for ikigai, having identified and answered these four questions as young as his teens. Eschewing typical royal expectations of a military or university education, Linley opted instead for a vocational course at Parnham College, a training school for craftsmen in wood, under the tutelage of its legendary founder John Makepeace. Eventually, Linley formed his eponymous luxury bespoke furniture and interiors business, and, despite the various challenges, has seen it through with the sort of tenacity familiar to those who have developed and found their true passions.
There are others who have discovered their own bliss, understanding the importance in finding meaning past merely what they do. They tell us what these passions are, lending advice and inspiration to the rest of us still finding our way. Elsewhere, we speak to Mike Horn, the 21st century’s modern day explorer, about what set him on his personal path to glory.
Here’s to your own pursuit of ikigai. May you find your happy. MINDY TEH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF