After I finished my MBA, I joined a management consulting firm.
I was working with smart people, getting paid a lot of money, and I was good at it.
It made me happy.
There was something missing.
While I was immensely satisfied, I felt useless.
It was then that I was introduced to the concept of ikigai and I realised why.
Ikigai is a Japanese term that roughly translates to “a reason for being.”
It states that YOUR reason of being is the intersection of:
1. What you are good at
2. What you love
3. What the world needs
4. What you can be paid for
However, it wasn’t so much the intersection of 4 circles that was interesting.
It was the intersection of 3 or lesser circles that explained a lot more.
It explained to me why I felt useless in consulting.
I was doing something that I was good at, that made me happy, that made my money, BUT it was not something that I THOUGHT the world needed.
No one got up any morning saying, ‘I wish I had more consultants in my life’.
So while I was very close to my ikigai, I was still far away!
It is this critical nuance that most people miss out on.
The meaning of your life is the intersection of ALL 4 things, not 3 or 2.
And understanding what the intersection of 3/2 circles means, brings us closer to the meaning of Ikigai.