Did you know Gangs of Wasseypur was not only good entertainment but also gives great career advice? Don’t be surprised! It really can help you choose a career! It has a beautiful folk song which imparts to us the wisdom of ages. Let me hum a few lines for you:
“Ik Bagal Mein Chand Hoga, Ik Bagal Mein Rotiyan
Ik Bagal Mein Neend Hogi, Ik Bagal Mein Loriyan
Hum Chand Pe Roti Ki Chadar Daal Ke So Jayenge
Aur Neend Se Keh Denge Lori Kal Sunaane Aayenge“
(On one side is the moon, on the other are rotis,
On one side is sleep, on the other are lullabies,
I will cover the moon with a blanket of rotis,
And will tell sleep I’ll sing a lullaby tomorrow)
The song talks about how every person has to make a choice between pursuing their passions (moon) and practicality (rotis). They also yearn for peace (sleep) and look for the means to attain it (lullabye). And mostly, due to the pressures of the world, they have to cover their passions with practicality and do whatever job they are able to get. As for peace of mind, we usually give it up in the name of practicality and tell ourselves that we will practice the path to peace later when the time is right.
No matter the age, education and background of a person, there always is a stage in life when all of us think, “What am I doing in my life?”. Many of us choose a career which is not suitable for us.
This feeling of unfulfillment leads to a lot of stress, anxiety and tension for people, especially those on the verge of selecting their career streams.
Have you also been wondering about this at times? Are you worried about which course is the best for you? Which college should you go to? Which exam should you prepare for?
What is Ikigai?
Welcome to the world of Ikigai. Ikigai, pronounced as “eye-ka-guy” is a Japanese concept. It means “reason for living”, and is literally a lifestyle that aims to balance spirituality with practicality.
Ikigai says that everyone has passions on one side, like your music, writing, poetry; and talents on the other, like skills in writing, science etc. Converge the two with what the world needs and what it is willing to pay for, and you have your tools to choose a career. Let’s understand this in deeper detail below.
How to find your Ikigai?
To choose a career, let’s do a bit of self-reflecting first. It will take a little bit of effort, but trust us, it’s worth it. You have to make four lists first:
- List 1: Take out a notebook or page, and a pen. Now write down things that you love doing. It may be something as complex as coding, to something as simple as eating. You can write down as many as you want, but write down at least ten.
- List 2: Next write down a list of things that you are good at doing. Perhaps it is evident by your output, or maybe your teachers, relatives and friends have complimented you for it. Don’t think of academic things only. It could be something as simple as debating.
- List 3: Now create another list of things you can do which you can be paid for. Can you be paid for playing cricket? For writing? For sleeping? Make a list of all things that come to your mind. Stretch your imagination and don’t be limited by traditional careers. Even an eater, if they are good at it, can become a food critic!
- List 4: Now make the last list. This should contain a list of things that you can do that the world needs. For example, I can write, and the world needs content. I can swim, and the world needs swimmers, or bodyguards.
The Final Choice!
Now look at the lists 1 and 2 that you have created. There will be things that you both love doing, and that you are good at. Maybe they are not exactly the same, but they are related. Find out those common items.
And now see the magic of Ikigai, the things that you both love doing, and are good at, are your Passion.
Now match list 2 and 3. Find common items. Things which you are good at, and which you can be paid for are your Profession!
Again, match list 3 and 4. Find common items again. Things which the world needs and will pay you for it, can be your Vocation!
And lastly, match list 4 and 1. Find common items. Things which the world needs, and that you love doing, are your Mission in life. That is your purpose.
Now finally, let’s find your Ikigai— the career that will help you lead a balanced life and will keep you happy as well as lead a comfortable life.
Match all the items that you found in common, there will be something that you do, that you love, are good at, that you can be paid for and that the world has a demand for.
This one single thing is your Ikigai— your most suitable career choice.
If you are at a crucial phase in life where you are thinking about which career to take up and whether what you are doing currently is right for you, then please, please, please do this exercise. And let us know what you get. We would love to know!