Ikigai, Finding Your Passion

The Japanese word "ikigai" supposedly means something like "reason to get up in the morning" and is said to be what you perceive to be your purpose in life. To make a living with something in that special point where these overlap:

The people who seem to be most vocal about how awesome ikigai is are the people who make a living writing, podding, and vlogging about how awesome ikigai is. Must be nice finding your purpose right there.

Lately I've searched for resources about how to find your ikigai. It's complicated by a number of factors for me. First of all I have a depression which means I don't always enjoy anything I might do for a living. Secondly I'm good at what I do at work, apparently, because everyone says so, but it's never been a passion for me. The last thing is that of golden handcuffs. I make a good living; working 30 hours a week I make more than most people I know who work 40 hours a week in other jobs. I can definitely survive on less, but I like my savings and to continue saving like I do I can't make much less. A little less, but not much.

That "what you enjoy doing" part is often presented as "what your passion is" and the path to figuring that out is quite nebulous. Articles and blog posts with the title "How to find your passion" can most of the time be summarised by "find your passion by searching for your passion."

Not helpful. (Remember how "accepting something means that you accept it?" Same thing here.)

And what does the world need? Well. Clearly not more people lecturing about ikigai, in any case. This one is often hand-waved a lot. Any job can be something the world needs. Do you work in marketing? Then clearly the people of the world needs to find these awesome products that make their lives simpler and more enjoyable. Do you run a web casino? Obviously people need to relax and enjoy some casual games once in a while. It looks like the other parts are more important in practice, and an excuse (or explanation) for this one is conjured up in your head in retrospect just because you desperately want to say that what you do is good for the world. Us humans are weird.

How about something that can earn me a living? The things I would like to spend my time on would not earn me more than pennies a month at most. Not nearly enough to make a living, let alone feel comfortable leaving my job for.

If I want to find my ikigai, how do I go about doing that? I can't quit my job and travel the world for inspiration. I don't want to quit my job at all, actually, unless I have another stable income lined up. I'm very risk averse when it comes to finance. I won't try on side hustles either. I reduced my hours because I wanted to work less. Not because I wanted to work two jobs.

It looks like one of those can't-have-the-cookie-and-eat-it things which I often find myself in. Maybe finding my passion and living my purpose will just forever be out of reach.

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal