Life & Philosophy

This Japanese philosophy may hold the secret to a happy work life

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being.” It may also hold the keys to prolonging your life.

At the intersection of ikigai is having a purpose—feeling as though one is contributing to society in a positive way gives them something to live for. Perhaps the best illustration of ikigai exists on the island of Okinawa, where some of the oldest living people in the world practice the philosophy.

A map showing the japanese concept of ikigai

While Japan’s interpretation of the ikigai is a source of value for one’s life, Westerners may use the system as a guidepost for bridging better work and life balance. If you want to better understand the meaning of the concept, consider asking these four questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need from you?
  • What can you get paid for?

As all life is an experiment, so too is your ikigai which evolves as you age. The more you feel valued, the better.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”


Learn more in the video below.

Creativity Productivity & Work

Success, no matter the age

When it comes to success, age is just a number. Van Gogh only sold one piece of art before he passed away, and it was to his brother.

According to a recent study, success is “a combination of personality, persistence and pure luck, as well as intelligence.” Younger people are more productive, increasing the likeliness of obtaining success. They have the energy and free time (no day job) to keep experimenting.

But experience puts in the bones in the goose. Work at something long enough you’re bound to have a breakthrough. A thousand drops make a bucket; little actions create waves.

“The bottom line is: Brother, never give up. When you give up, that’s when your creativity ends.” — Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, one of the data researchers leading the study into scientific careers

Stay the course.


Apples and Aging: Growing old makes us young.

In between childhood and old age – in the so-called ‘productive’ years of our lives – we are fuelled by concern for the future. But when the future finally arrives, we discover that we have been defined by the past.

Age is just a matter of perspective. We can all act like kids again.


What’s the rush?
What’s the rush?


No Matter What I Do, There Is Always a 27-Year-Old Doing It Better

I have come to understand that no matter how successful I become, there will always be a 27-year-old who is doing it better. Accepting this is an important step in overcoming the pain of jealousy.

Jealousy stirs up competition. But everyone needs some competitive edge otherwise we wouldn’t challenge ourselves to progress. Other people are our barometer. But if you’re not first, you’re not necessarily last either. You can still influencer; plus, you probably offer a different perspective.

The fact remains though: There’s always going to be someone better than you.


The Long Run

The challenge in thinking long-term is that it usually hurts in the short-term. Priorities and responsibilities shift, hurting day to day success.

But if you don’t disrupt the normal state of flow and provoke change, trading instant gratification for a bit of extra stress, you will undoubtedly suffer mediocrity and then implode. This goes for business and in life.

As I turn 30 today I recognize that time is running out. I feel pressured to do something historical right now. But I’m still building, pushing to identify my strengths and carry out my dreams. Luck has a tendency to meet you halfway if you’re willing to put in the work.

Phase 2 begins now.