A dictionary explanation of the term ikigai:

Choosing a career path can be extremely stressful at any point in your life. You will spend almost a third of your life working; deciding how to spend that time matters.

Often, people have to make compromises between:

  • Personal needs vs. professional goals

  • Time with family vs. time at work

  • Social good vs. high pay

  • Job flexibility vs. workplace demands

  • Having fun vs. professional status

  • Independence vs. job security

  • Current needs vs. future needs

  • Passions vs. career necessities

Balanced Approach


(pronounced e-key-guy )

Is a method for finding a life purpose, by answering 4 key questions, in any order:

  • What are you good at doing?

  • What do you love to do?

  • What can you be paid to do?

  • What does the world need?

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Imagine you're at a job that pays well but doesn't suit your skills. What should you consider?

Ikigai Application

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What are you good at doing?

  • Working independently, art, problem-solving

What do you love to do?

  • Creating things, helping people

What can you be paid to do?

  • Web designer, illustrator, product designer, artist, social media manager

What does the world need?

  • Accessible Information

  • Art and beauty

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What are you good at doing?

  • Public speaking, leading people, entertaining others

What do you love to do?

  • Making people laugh, working in teams

What can you be paid to do?

  • Teacher, project manager, community organizer, actor, writer

What does the world need?

  • People who inspire others

  • Fun relaxing activities


The government is hiring a remote worker to make posters that teach people how to wash hands effectively. Who would be the best candidate?

Self Assessment

Answer the questions below with YES or NO:

Flaticon Icon What You Love

  • Are you truly passionate about what you do? Could you enthusiastically talk about your industry/profession for hours?

  • Are you emotionally connected to the result of your work?

  • If you won 5 million dollars, what work would you choose to do?

Flaticon Icon What The World Needs

  • Are you helping to solve a problem? BONUS: Is your work directly/indirectly supporting The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?

  • Is there a demand for what you have to offer? Are people willing to part with their resources (money, time, attention, etc.) to buy what you’re selling?

  • Will this work still be needed 10 years from now? How about 100 years from now? If not, will the value of your work today increase over time?

Flaticon Icon What You Can Be Paid For

  • Have you been paid for what you do? Have you ever been paid for what you do? If not, are other people being paid for this work?

  • Are you already making a good living? Can you eventually make a good living doing different work?

  • Is there a healthy amount of competition in your industry? Are there other people who can do what you do, but better?

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What Are You Good At

  • Are you useful? Is what you do something that your friends/family/community have asked for your advice/opinion on before?

  • Are you among the best in your workplace/community at this? How about in your city? In your country? In the world?

  • With some more education and experience, could you master what you do?

If you answered YES to all the questions in a section, keep doing what you're doing! If you answered any questions with NO, focus on changing your career to help you answer YES in those areas.


Which of these questions will NOT help you figure out, what the world needs?

Take Action

A woman says,

What's next for you? Will it meet your ikigai?

Answering this question will require time, thought, and self-awareness but the results will be worth it!

Check out these career Bytes to help you find your ikigai:


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