I used to believe life was about using your talents. I hated uncertainty, chaos, and unpredictability. All I had to do was figure out what my talents were and develop them. Then life could be neatly organized into 3 boxes: before, during, and after career. As in, preparing to work (education), working, and retiring from work. Success, according to my youthful definition, involved moving through all 3 boxes with my creative talents and financial resources relatively intact.
A few years after graduating from university, I realized that education and work overlap. You work to learn. And then you must keep learning and developing yourself to keep up—no matter what field you’re working in. Then about a decade ago, I started meeting Baby Boomers who were working beyond their official retirement.
The walls between all three boxes collapsed. My definition of a successful life disintegrated. I’ve been reconstructing ever since.
Today I appreciate the capability we have as human beings to choose and to create. I can choose why I’m here. I can create my own definition of success.
This week I heard about the Japanese concept of “ikagai”, a reason to get up in the morning. A reason for Being that gives you satisfaction. A purpose you can bring to every moment that makes your dance with life juicy and joyous.
With an ikagai, you can cherish unpredictability—instead of fear it—and welcome new, perhaps unconventional definitions of success.
My ikagai is to help people articulate their ideas.
This blog post by Shae Hadden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.