Discover more from Club Elevate+Aspire+
The Luxury Approach to Ikigai
A life of excellence is one that is personally self-actualizing and includes work that continuously aims for a superior level of quality.
For many such a life would seem to be impossible. However, there is a solution, one that is exquisitely simple (though certainly not easy).
The solution is to find the intersection between your enthusiasm, your abilities, your highest vision of what the world needs, and what the market will pay good money for.
While there are many ways to find such an intersection, one useful tool I’ve discovered actually has a long history rooted in one of the world’s “blue zones” (places where people live the longest and report high levels of life satisfaction). The tool is from Okinawa, Japan and it is called Ikigai.
We just need to approach it with a high-end approach and a focus on achieving excellence.
Find / Make Your Reason for Being
Do you leap from bed each morning filled with passion, purpose and excitement for the day ahead?
Ikigai is a tool that can help you figure out where to focus your attention and energy.
An article at Savvy Tokyo defines Ikigai as:
“A combination of the Japanese words ‘iki’ (生き), which translates to ‘life,’ and ‘gai’ (甲斐), which is used to describe value or worth, ikigai is all about finding joy in life through purpose.”
In essence, the traditional Ikigai lies at the intersection of four questions:
What do you love?
What are you good at?
What does the world need?
What will the world pay for?
As luxury entrepreneurs, we want to focus our efforts for the first two (love and strength/skills) on developing a truly unique combination that expresses our authentic beliefs and principles. For the second two (what the world needs and will pay for), we want to hone in on our own vision of what the world could be in combination with what the current market will invest in richly.
(Interestingly, even the overlap of just a few of these categories can point to a worthwhile endeavor — for example, something you love and are good at might be a wonderful hobby, especially as increasing wealth allows you to free up more time. Something you love that the world needs might be a valuable philanthropic pursuit).
In Japan, ikigai has been linked to successful aging — having a purpose in life seems to be a common denominator linking many of the world’s supercentenarians.
The importance of purpose is so remarkable, it seems many Japanese never really “retire” As authors Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles observe in Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life:
“One surprising thing you notice, living in Japan, is how active people remain after they retire. In fact, many Japanese people never really retire — they keep doing what they love for as long as their health allows. There is, in fact, no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense of “leaving the workforce for good” as in English.”
For us entrepreneurs, it suggests how we ought to integrate work into our lives. We should continuously ask, “what will I start up next?” and use the Luxury Ikigai framework to determine an answer.
Ikigai and the Luxury Entrepreneur’s Pursuit of Continual Growth
One reason I love the Ikigai framework is precisely because it’s not a “one-and-done” kind of exercise.
Though the two-dimensional image of the Ikigai model may suggest the shape of a circle — in practice, it functions more like a spiral. This makes it perfect for luxury entrepreneurs, who are at the forefront of continually pushing the bar of excellence and setting the world’s trends.
“What you’re good at” is not some static quantity, but ideally ought to grow over time as you develop new skills. Similarly, what the world needs and desires are consistently changing, which produces shifts in the market as well. In addition, your passions evolve as you learn and experience more.
What this means is that your Ikigai can and ought to grow along with you as you pursue a life (and business path) of continual growth.
As luxury entrepreneurs, it is our jobs to be at the helm of creative innovation, constantly raising the bar on what constitutes excellence in our respective fields.
The Luxury Ikigai Spiral can help us stay the course.