LeonieArtRambles podcast 04 / Ikigai, outer & inner reasons for being and living

It’s on youtube and this podcast is now available and can be downloaded at soundcloud (and RSS feed): https://soundcloud.com/leonieyue!

How ikigai is not all about money or career, how I feel it applies to me and maybe my rambles help you reflect about yourself too 💜

Podcast references & notes:

LeonieArtRambles about Ikigai (生き甲斐)

These are thoughts and notes from:

There’s countless more ikigai youtube summaries out there and you’re free to look up more into those too (:

Ikigai is not about:

  • that venn diagram that’s been widely shared in the news, social media and articles, where you cover all the 4 circles of:
    • “doing what you love”,
    • “doing what the world needs from you”,
    • “doing what you’re good at”
    • and “doing what you can be paid for”
    • encompassing all passion, mission, profession, vocation
    • this is Marc Winn’s westernisation of the ikigai concept combined with Andrés Zuzunaga’s purpose diagram.
    • now the earliest form of the purpose diagram was originally made for businesses (which is why it’s leaning towards career and money) through Jim Collin’s Hedgehog diagram in 2001
      • (3 venn diagram circles are: something you’re passionate for, something you’re skilled at and something you can get well paid for)
  • ikigai is not about making money, economic status and financial success because you don’t exist just to work
  • ikigai does not revolve around your career or have to be work related
  • ikigai is not about a grand, extraordinary “all or nothing” life purpose, getting results and/or ambition
    • good because I don’t have one because I just want to do what I enjoy
  • it’s not about being always “productive”, keeping yourself busy, running away from your own problems and distracting yourself

So what is ikigai?

  • it is a Japanese concept, meaning “a reason for being”, meaningful direction or purpose in life, a mental state where you feel most at ease and fulfilled
    • involves balancing and juggling two parts: your outer purpose and inner purpose, otherwise it feels forced
  • Part 1: outer purpose and what you do
    • it involves both spontaneous and willing actions which are taken towards your ikigai, leading to satisfaction, hope and sense of meaning in life
    • ikigai leads to enjoyable, worthwhile pursuits, fulfilling moments and accomplishments
    • the journey of allowing your own possibilities to blossom
    • it can be about your family, your dream, you living in service for things that matter to you
    • spontaneous activities you do willingly, is personal, feels rewarding and reflects and expresses the inner self and your curiosity
    • can involve time and effort invested into friendships and good company to eat and talk with
    • ikigai evolves as you grow as a person, testing things to see if it’s meaningful and fulfilling for you
      • involves shifting priorities and exploring new directions
      • this could include: family, interests, travel, life, work, world views, confidence, enjoyment, relationships, finances, community, friendships and so on
    • ikigai is your inner compass from which you navigate the ups and downs of life, seek guidance and balance life things
      • your career and life evolves as you adapt with resilience
      • there’s opportunities, trade offs, compromises, losses, pain, sorrow, struggles, difficulties, failures, things out of your control
      • you have to keep evaluating your sense of purpose and happiness
      • it’s a journey where you seek growth which benefits your happiness and health
    • Ikigai is more about daily rituals, hobbies, what you care deeply about and growth, rather than achieving mastery
    • Japanese people believe that the sum of small joys in everyday life results in a more fulfilling life as a whole
  • Part 2: inner purpose, way of being, awareness, feelings and future
    • simply the mental and spiritual feeling that life is worth living and is valuable
    • something to live for, the joy and delight from living fully
    • ikigai is the feeling of happiness, benefit of being alive and what makes life worth living
    • emphasis on process, immersion, gratitude, living in the moment, self care
    • it is a commitment to process (which determines progress)
    • it’s where you keep being conscious, aware and awake with your living moments
    • it is a relaxed, slow, enjoyable journey towards one or many purposes in your life
    • considering and evolving your personal ideals, principles, values, standards and morals plus also your physical, emotional, mental strengths and abilities
    • how you’re living your values, how you value your life, roles you fulfill (for yourself and others) and things that makes your life worthwhile
    • personal, mental and spiritual circumstances where you feel valuable
    • the feeling of ikigai is the desire and hope for the brighter future
    • ikigai awareness and happiness is related to self worth, personal values and the future more than general happiness and present well being
    • gratitude for things that brighten your day and to live in the moment
    • values, presence, hopefulness and mental/spiritual circumstances all lead to self actualisation and ikigai through your work, hobbies, interests, roles, routines, actions and relationships
      • everything in life is connected

How to practice ikigai?

  • learn, explore, enjoy the little things, rituals and moments that excite you and make life worth living
    • savour small joys and being present to enjoy them
    • pursue a hobby – especially for those neglected ones
    • playing, hugging, quiet time, reading
    • diet, regular exercise, engaging with good friends and reconnecting with nature
  • improve relationships and have a support system
    • communicate with a significant other/person and offer them help and/or company
    • have mentors, caring people, others who made similar career/life changes, experiences and challenges
    • mutual, good friendships with people for moral support
  • find purpose in a role you always wanted to fulfill
    • teaching, mentoring, caretaking, cooking, catching up, listening (emotional labour for other people), etc
    • being a good partner, sibling, parent, friend, etc
  • keep refining your ideal, energising typical workday and vision for your life
    • how to juggle and manage life admin, personal projects, work/clients through incremental adjustments
    • I do this and refine how I do things; lots of trial and error and experience
    • living your version of a full life – up to the individual
  • evaluate and ask yourself with a gut check. Questions such as:
    • How it’s going?
    • What’s bothering me?
    • What’s really going on now?
    • What if money and expectations didn’t matter? How would I spend my time?
    • What is my ideal life routine? How does my routine reflect my values?
  • evaluate your values such as:
    • truth, transparency, helping people, thinking and also acting on things, fulfillment, balance and so on

Applying this theory to my own situation

So if I were to apply what I’ve gathered to myself:

Part 1: My outer purpose and actions include:

  • regular exercise makes me feel good, even though I drag myself to do it during mornings haha
  • making and spending quality time with my best friend and a small bunch of good and casual friends
  • cooking and chores can be satisfying (when I’m not half awake) and allow me to turn off my conscious brain as I go into routine/autopilot mode and my mind wanders sometimes (zones out)
  • little naps to rest my mind and body, that helps energise me
  • little gaming sessions
  • breaks where I read articles, watch youtube videos and streams with my full attention
  • eating, catching up and talking with peeps
  • getting admin and important life, work and day to day things done early makes me feel more relaxed for the rest of the day
    • especially when I make sure I have some unstructured, quiet, solitary time; that is my favourite time and go with my flow and focus doing what I want to do
    • being able to get into deep work mode is great
  • a cup of good, relaxing tea, hot chocolate or soy milk
  • eating a little snack; little comfort food!
    • it’s scary if it’s within arm’s reach though so don’t make it easy to stress eat lots of junk food
  • learning things and progressing as a person, artist and for fun
  • getting/giving hugs with people I care about; emotionally fulfilling and warm fuzzy feelings!
  • blogging my journey, thoughts, feelings and what I’ve been learning and consuming
  • deep breathing and taking in the moment, letting my mind wander (mindfulness?)
  • calming background music, game music or a podcast
  • doing things that I genuinely enjoy and little things to take care of myself
  • what little things or activities that bring you bright, good, worthwhile, hopeful feelings?

Part 2: My inner purpose, way of being, values, strengths, roles, future:

  • expressing gratitude for what I have and what brightens my day in the moment (like when I’m blogging)
  • being immersed and progressing with what I create and what I’m learning
  • consciously being okay with what I look like and embracing my looks and body as it is. And feeling shameful and uncomfortable is valid too
    • it’s hard with body image; I don’t have experience/knowledge in this area to give advice
    • I’m always feeling great with what I look like but hey I’m a hermit; no one sees me
    • I’m probably too self conscious and I’ll worry about it when I actually go out, ignore it and pretend I don’t have a reflection
    • I’m reasonably good at being detached with how I look like because I live so much within my own brain/mind
    • how are you with your looks and body image? Struggling as well in your own way? :<
    • I think I’ve “mastered” being detached with how I look but not all the time, I’m not great at it
    • sometimes I forget: Oh I have a body?! What is this? I thought I’m just a floating mind! Floating consciousness! But yes I do have a body.
  • taking things in a slow, relaxed way without verbal abuse, stress, expectations, pressure and time constraints
    • this is why I enjoy not having too much structure or schedules during the latter part of my day (where possible since life is full of juggling)

What are my personal ideals, principles, values, standards, morals?

  • I need to think deeper but I do value:
    • reliability, communication, honesty,
    • compassion/empathy, patience, understanding,
    • not being manipulative/deceptive, hygiene,
    • respecting each other’s boundaries and space,
    • opening up and owning to our own feelings when it’s safe and worthwhile (with someone that you trust),
    • looking into more perspectives and research before judging things/others,
    • kindness from a genuine place (not out of obligation or niceness),
    • doing things that feels true and right (gut feeling),
    • respecting our own feelings,
    • taking care of our mind and body,
    • doing our best in what we create,
    • being able to let go if things/connection are not working out (better to let things go than to hold onto things that hurt you)
    • and probably many other specific things
  • I can’t always put my career first when physical health, mental health and important people matter more
  • there’s probably more if I think hard enough

What are my physical, emotional and mental strengths and abilities?

  • hmm I don’t know because I feel like I’m physically weak, emotionally sensitive (as a super hermit who’s learning how to not take things too personally, be honest about my feelings and not overthink) and easily overwhelmed at times so it’s something I’m always working on
  • I guess I’m okay at reflecting? What am I good at? haha

What roles I fulfill and where do I feel valuable and strong with self worth?

  • when I can help out and do my own thing at life and at art
  • sometimes? It doesn’t really always happen, nothing always go your way
  • sometimes I feel like I’m just an extra, grunt, helper and not have much of a say (personal problems ;P)
  • sometimes you have to accept that you can’t control everything in your life too

What is my brighter future and life vision? My ideal routine?

  • still figuring this out because what I envision probably won’t happen in the way I’d expect it
  • generally I’m looking forward to my progress as a better person and professional artist at least; I hope to make a stable, sustainable living from what I can create, for myself and for others
  • I hope to both maintain old and gain new ongoing, good friendships with a better life situation.
  • I do want to establish a good emotional support network rather than depend on one person to meet all my needs.
  • I’m open to the possibility of a partner but I also accept it if it doesn’t happen

On a good emotional support network:

  • no burden anyone to meet all of my needs
  • I don’t want the responsibility, pressure, stress, burden when someone is wholly depending on me for their needs; it’s not fair
  • as a hermit it’s hard, I don’t have many friends to depend on anyway
  • I do have a small number of casual friends and a best friend so that’s enough for me for now and I’m okay
  • hopefully I can build and maintain a few more but this will take as much time as it needs
  • I don’t want to rush, expect or hope for it, that’s not how friendships work
  • friendships are not transactional, yet they need to be slowly built, mutual and equal in emotional and personal investment; not taking each other for granted
  • give back in a meaningful way – not in a strictly transactional, manipulative, conditional and tallying way but helping each other, being there for each other when they need and ask for it
  • I don’t know and I’m not an expert on friendships and if they should be “transactional” or not; maybe you have better input and experience in this
  • I think they shouldn’t necessarily be transactional because how would an individual define what’s “equal”?
  • I feel like it’s more about actions that demonstrate mutual emotional investment, trust, respect, communication, effort, understanding
  • then I think that’s a friendship and that’s an even emotional “transaction” or rather connection/bond

What’s bothering me?

  • when I think too far in the future and the inevitable, stressful life changes happen
  • I’ll worry about it when the time comes; I’ll enjoy the present, make the most of things and take things in stride for now

What if money and expectations didn’t matter? How would I spend my time?

  • I would spend more of my time making random comics, learning more art, doing more courses, expressing myself through blogging, arting and sharing my journey along the way
  • focus on what I usually enjoy doing and maybe more games! (not reality though since it’s a “what if” question

Concluding thoughts

Lots of food for thought! I hope this helps you a bit! Maybe you can have a go at reflecting and answering for yourself too. For me it’s reassuring and makes me more conscious and aware with how I am right now, where I’m heading, how I’m using my time and enjoying the life journey! Not that I know; I’m just embracing that a huge part is full of uncertainty :’)

Please do share your thoughts and questions too for this podcast! At the moment it looks like it’s monthly or so but I stress that I don’t know when I’ll do another podcast and I’m playing things by ear – maybe next year? Again, it depends if I have something substantial enough to want to ramble about and if I get too busy juggling with other things. I don’t know if I can make this a regular thing!

Sidenote: I had to figure out how to edit audio files again for this :’) And no LeonieUpdate today especially because this podcast took a considerably big chunk of time to create. It’s also a reason why I’m not sure if I should keep it going :<

Digressing, thank you so much for reading and/or listening! And for subscribing my little youtube channel or soundcloud! (:

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