Before I started to really look into the Japanese concept of Ikigai, I had already discovered this image as a Linked In meme :
I love this visual representation, and at the same time I recognise how many of us focus on the “what you can be paid for” part first and foremost.
What if, instead, we focussed on our “Being” and then choosing to “Do” what is fully aligned with who we are, so “Doing from Being”
In his book Walden, Henry Thoreau had many great quotes, such as :
“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
which is often misquoted / adjusted to say :
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them”
Having moved in mid 2017 to a new city and new country for me, I am meeting new people and they ask me “what do you do ?”.
I’m also asking that question of myself, and focussed on having the patience to say “who am I ?” and ask the other three questions from the Ikigai venn diagramme first, starting with the key one :
“What do you love ?”
Going one level up from that is :
“Who am I ?”
Deep questions, and I am being patient as I look to answer the question :
“What will you do with this one wild and precious life ?”
On this journey, we can choose to focus on being present to the moments and to sensing “who am I being ?” in everything we do.
From this the self-awareness and self-knowledge grows, and from that one can make choices of what to “do”.
So, perhaps over time when people ask me “what do you do?” the answer may change.