Ikigai – is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”. Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.*
“You will get no comradeship and no encouragement…You will have to get used to living without results and without hope…There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation…there is no other way.”
After the first reading the passage above, from George Orwell’s 1984, sounds dark, gloomy. Even somewhat nihilistic. But only at first first. Rereading it again I could not help but feel validated in the face of expended efforts done in pursuit of a certain aim or a goal. Validation is conveyed not through the optimistic words that reassure that what one is doing is right, just, and noble.
No. It is through the emergence of a feeling that the work that one is doing is a part of a bigger whole. Of seeing the big picture and seeing how you fit in into it. Coming to peace with the fact that the change that you are working towards will not come into effect in your lifetime. But persevering, nevertheless.