What The Hell Is The Ikigai Test?

by | Mar 28, 2022

What The Hell Is The Ikigai Test?

Writing this blog has lead me down some pretty interesting paths. Taking the Ikigai test is the latest one. You’re probably asking, “What the hell is the Ikigai test?” and when I found it, that’s what I thought too. 

Ikigai (pronounced EEE-KEEE-GUY) is a Japanese concept. The literal translation is life worth, iki meaning alive or life, and gai meaning worth. It has been used in different ways to discover one’s life purpose, but its original meaning was not intended in the same way we think about “life purpose” here in the west.

If you want to delve into the BIG thing that we usually consider our life purpose in these parts, check out my previous blog post, 6 Steps To Manifesting Your Definite Purpose. That article is all about discovering why you are here and putting a really great formula to work for manifesting what you want.

Ikigai is more about your EVERYDAY life. It’s about arranging your life to enjoy the little things every day. Because the little things matter too, maybe even more than the big ones.

What Ikigai is NOT

Some sources on the internet have taken a blog post where someone merged the concept of Ikigai with a more westernized idea of life purpose. If you’ve ever seen those Venn diagram pictures where three or four circles intersect in the place where that which you love, that which you are good at, that which you can get paid for, and that which the world needs come together, you may have seen a misrepresentation of Ikigai.

While that is a helpful model for some purposes, it is not what I am talking about here, and it is not really what ikigai means to the Japanese.

Let’s get into the juicy meat of what Ikigai means in its original form.

How’s That Going For You?

Take a minute to think about your typical day. How do you wake up feeling? Do you feel tired and just want to stay in bed, or do you feel excited about getting into your day? 

Do you enjoy some morning conversation with your significant other, take some time to give the pup some good time, or squeeze your little ones? Or are you too preoccupied with the day’s agenda?

What about after you get going into your day? Do you have a morning routine that gets your juices flowing, or do you barely make time to drink your coffee? Are you just scooting up to your home office desk with a bedhead while wiping the sleep out of your eyes? 

Next is the start of your workday. Do you notice the breeze in your hair (if you have it) or the sunlight on your face? 

Continue with this line of inquiry throughout your entire day up until the time you crash on your pillow and head into the dream time. Take a little inventory of the times when you feel joy, gratitude, appreciation, love, or other positive emotions throughout the day. Are those times many or few?

And let me interject, if your answer to that last question is, “few,” this is not about feeling guilty or wrong in the way you are conducting yourself. Ikigai is about the opposite of that, so stay with me here.

A Heart-Centered Approach

My last article, The Awesome Power of Being Heart-Centered, is all about the heart, and how tapping into the heart can enhance our life experience. As it turns out, this topic of Ikigai is the perfect follow-up for that because Ikigai is all about noticing the things in our everyday life that bring us into a heart-centered space. 

In my opinion, Ikigai can provide a lot of insight and value, especially if you are someone who struggles through your day and can’t wait to escape to your bed every night, only to wake up and do it again the next day.

According to Ken Mogi, author of the book, Awakening Your Ikigai, “Ikigai is all about making these small actions into pleasurable, rewarding experiences.” 

It’s how the Japanese “wake up to joy and purpose every day,” even if they aren’t involved in some big life-purpose adventure like saving the whales or inventing the next must-have technological gadget.

“Ikigai gives your life a purpose while giving you the grit to carry on.” – Ken Mogi

The Five Pillars of Ikigai

A brief introduction to the five pillars of ikigai (from Awakening Your Ikigai)  will give you a little more insight.

  1. Starting small

This is about enjoying even teeny tiny moments of pleasure as soon as you wake up in the morning, like the smell of your coffee in the morning or the chirping of a bird through your window.

  1. Releasing yourself

This is about self-acceptance. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Forgive yourself.

  1. Harmony and sustainability

And, in turn, be kind to others. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Don’t waste energy (yours or someone else’s) or things.

  1. The joy of the little things

This one is about recognizing the importance of continuing to appreciate the small pleasures all throughout your day.

  1. Being in the here and now

Of course, you have to be in the here and now to enjoy the little things that happen. It’s also about recognizing when you can take time (even if it’s just a minute or two) to do something that brings you joy when you feel stressed or frustrated.

So, I see Ikigai as a way to enjoy your life experience, no matter what you are facing. That’s an important thing I’ve learned and what turning disasters into dreams has been for me (hence why I wrote a book all about that!) 

The beauty of that is, even if you are grinding away in a job you hate, by practicing Ikigai you can lift your spirits and enter into those heart-centered emotions I wrote about in the last blog post. These things can facilitate more productive, constructive states of mind providing you with opportunities to discover a more optimal path for yourself. 

I Took The Ikigai Test, Here’s What I Discovered

I took the ikigai test at ikigaitribe.com. I scored a 90! But then I discovered that the test only asked 10 questions instead of the advertised 20 (which is how many questions it said were on the test on the intro page), so I deducted 3 points for my own irritation. New score: 87

So, go ahead and see how much Ikigai you have in your life.

Summary

Ikigai is a concept I came across in my writing and wanted to look into, so I could bring it to you, my readers. It turns out ikigai is my kind of thing! It’s a Japanese term that essentially means enjoying the little things in life, living in the moment, and appreciating every situation’s gifts.

Ikigai is a heart-centered approach to life that can help you maintain a positive outlook, making you more receptive to new ideas and other good things that can put you on the path to success!

Did you take the ikigai test?  

What’s your score? COMMENT BELOW! 


If you’re interested in learning more about turning disasters into dreams and so much more, click here to get my book!

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