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Finding Your Ikigai!

Posted by Jasmin Choudhury on Saturday, 6 October 2018
Jasmin Choudhury
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Any holiday allows us to finally slow down that hamster wheel that we keep spinning endlessly at term time (and beyond at times).

We are able to finally stop and have a moment to pause and think about our lives instead of other people’s and think about what we want to achieve and what makes us happy. We want to pursue our “Ikigai”!

During my own research on well-being, I came across the word “Ikigai”, a Japanese term, (pronounced eek- ee- guy) which involves searching for fulfilment and purpose. Your very reason for being or “that thing you live for” or as translated in the West- the thing that drives you every day and wakes you up in the morning.

Most educators and anyone, actually, who is part of a profession which involves giving service to people like doctors, nurses, social workers know it can be a thankless task. They feel that they have a sense of ikigai already. It is our passion, commitment and dedication that keeps us going.

"Life is precious and far too short. We live only one life."

However, at the end of the day, any job is, whoever you are, is work which helps pay the bills and the very sense of “ikigai” can become diminished. The synonyms in a thesaurus for work are “ labour, toil exertion, effort, slog and drudgery." Hardly linked with happiness. That’s why during the holidays, it is essential that you develop your Ikigai.

What are the interests and passions that drive you? Ikigai is about finding things that make you happy and enrich you personally, physically and emotionally. It means connecting with people who you don’t have to try hard with and who are good for you.

Carrying out pursuits that may not have financial rewards but make you feel happy, content and at ease with your soul, body and mind are key in developing your ikigai. Sometimes teaching and educating may not be enough.

In Okinawa, where it is a cultural norm, it is actively pursued and the people there apparently live to a 100 years old. Also, apparently, millennials try to develop part-time ikigai opportunities where they pursue things what they want to do in life. Good on them!


I am not a millennial and my own search for Ikigai consciously started with sadly, several deaths of very close people in my life and other acute personal circumstances. It made me think about my own purpose and fulfilment and the passions that I wanted to pursue.

Reading an article called “Create a CV of Life and not a Corporate CV" made me think hard and I learned to think more differently and creatively. It has taken much planning, networking, seeking out like-minded people and creating opportunities that have enabled me to search for my Ikigai. I am not fully there yet and still actively developing my interests and passions that drive me other than education.

"Always remember, we work to live. Open up the possibilities in your life! Create them for yourself and with and for loved ones and- for those who need you. Immerse yourself in your Ikigai!"

Somewhere along the goals are working in poor, underdeveloped countries in Africa and Asia and war-torn areas and helping with their education systems. Spending more time with loved ones, travelling extensively, supporting vulnerable groups such as domestic violence victims, old people and young offenders and creating opportunities for others to reach their Ikigai are also passions.

I have learned to create more time for me and it starts with being measured and focused on your Ikigai. Furthermore, in my pursuit of Ikigai, I spend more time with the people I care about. What’s not to love when loved ones such as my adult birth children and foster children are excited about “chillaxing” with me and I have the time!

Time -that commodity which is so hard to create or find even if you do have the money. So here is the challenge! Find your Ikigai and don’t let work rule your life. What makes you tick?

As Kobayasho Tsukasa , the Japanese psychiatrist, in his article says, “Ikigai -jibun no kanosei, kaikasaseru katei”; It is the process of allowing the self’s possibilities to blossom.



About our Community Expert


Jasmin Choudhury
Community Expert

Jasmin has extensive experience of working in a variety of settings which have included being recruited to work schools in special measures and concern as well as outstanding.

Jasmin has been qualified as a teacher for over 20 years and has been a Deputy Head, working mainly in some of the most deprived and challenging schools in the UK.

Topics: Teacher


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