How to Find Your Ikigai: 10 Rules to Follow

Many of us reach an inflection point in our lives where we pause and question our purpose, pondering deeply about the path we’re on and the legacy we wish to leave. It’s a moment that stirs within us a quest for meaning, driving us to seek a deeper connection between our passions and how we spend our days. This introspection often leads us on a journey to fulfillment that blends our desires, talents, and contributions to the world around us.

In Japan, this is referred to as the moment you find your ikigai. (If you’re wondering how to pronounce ikigai, it’s “ee-kee-guy.”) The word ikigai is a combination of two words, ‘iki’ (to live) and ‘gai’ (reason). Together, these words translate to ‘a reason to live.’ This concept explores ways to find joy and purpose in your life.

This journey to self-realization illuminates the truth of who and what we are. When you uncover your ikigai, you can pursue a fulfilling career and life. Maybe you studied finance and are working in the field now but realize you don’t really like the job. This is where you can explore your passions and identify your ikigai for the next chapter of your life. Not sure how to find your ikigai? Keep reading!

Find Your Ikigai and Unlock Your Purpose

Finding your purpose is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Discovering your passion and what excites you means identifying the life force that drives you and ignites your inner power. All of this significantly affects your overall well-being, time, money, energy, and relationships. Uncovering what fulfills you is key to a successful career and happy life.

If you’re searching for a clear sense of purpose and direction in life, you’re ready to find your ikigai.  But the how can be overwhelming. If you search online for “ikigai test” or “ikigai examples,” you’ll find many different resources that break it down into a more manageable process.

Ikigai examples will likely include images of the ikigai venn diagram, which shows the intersection of four key elements:

  • Your passion (what you love)
  • Your vocation (what you’re good at)
  • Your mission (what the world needs)
  • Your profession (what you can be paid for)

These elements help understand how to find your ikigai by reflecting on each one and identifying where they might overlap. But that’s not where it ends. The next step is living your life with the 10 rules of ikigai in mind!

What Are The 10 Rules of Ikigai?

Have you ever heard of the ‘blue zones’ around the world? These are various regions with the highest concentration of centenarians (those aged 100 years or older). One of those regions is Okinawa, Japan, where the 10 rules of ikigai are the secret to a long and happy life. The authors established these rules in the book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life after spending time in the region.

I wholeheartedly believe in these 10 rules of ikigai to live a long, healthy life:

Stay Active; Don’t Retire

In Okinawa, the concept of retirement isn’t really a thing (there is no word in Japanese for it either!). Many people who live to be 100 or older work well into their 80s and 90s. This first rule of ikigai encourages you to stay active and continue working if that brings you joy or a sense of purpose (which means beating burnout is a must!).

Take It Slow

What are you in a rush for? Slow down. Instead of rushing through your day, take a moment to step back. You might wonder why you were in a hurry at all. Enjoy your lunch break and look at the scenery on your drive home. Take your time to add more meaning to your life in those moments.

Don’t Fill Your Stomach

There’s another popular Japanese saying, “Hara hachi bu,” which translates to “fill your belly to 80 percent.” This phrase applies to food but also relates to the idea that less is more in life. Eating a healthy, balanced meal without overdoing it brings more benefits in the long term.

Surround Yourself with Good Friends

Having a social circle with strong friendships is essential for your mental and emotional health. Spending time with friends doing activities, enjoying a meal, and catching up adds to your purpose in life. The support of great friends allows you to find your ikigai and fill your cup with joy. 

Get In Shape for Your Next Birthday

This doesn’t necessarily mean having a rigorous workout routine. Remember, it’s all about balance! Find a way to move your body that works for you. Even better if you actually like doing it. Whether that’s taking dance classes, practicing yoga, or simply stretching throughout the day, find what you enjoy.


Find a reason to smile today. Figuring out what makes you happy is part of the journey to discovering your ikigai. Appreciate that you’re here right now, alive and able to explore the possibilities that life can bring. After all, it takes more muscles to frown rather than smile!

Reconnect With Nature

Spending time in nature can boost your mood, increase your productivity, and even improve your memory. It can be as simple as going for a walk in your neighborhood, biking, hiking, or having a meal al fresco. If you live in the city, explore the local parks and nature reserves. Nature is healing and a crucial part of connecting to your ikigai.

Give Thanks

Gratitude is a powerful tool for discovering your ikigai. Take a moment to reflect on all of the things you’re grateful for. This can be your loved ones, having a roof over your head, a job you love, eating your favorite meal for dinner, or whatever you’re thankful for. Make a point to acknowledge it and feel that sense of gratitude wash over you.

Live In the Moment

Let go of the past and stop worrying about the future. Focus on the present moment and make the most of it! Stop yourself from spiraling when you think about your busy work schedule or how many things you need to get done. The only thing that’s promised to us is right now. That’s why finding your ikigai is integral to ensuring every moment counts.

Follow Your Ikigai

The last step in the 10 rules of ikigai is to follow your life purpose. Finding your ikigai is one thing but putting it into practice requires dedication and discipline. Make the necessary changes in your life to pursue your true passions and give meaning to your life.

Let’s Find Your Life’s Purpose Together

Are you looking for a purpose? Let’s find it together. In my life coaching sessions, we’ll go deep to uncover what brings you true joy and fulfillment (I love helping clients find their ikigai!)

If you’re ready to make transformative changes in your life, contact me to learn more about my programs.


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