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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Finding Your Ikigai

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From a Medium post provocatively titled, "'Your Passion' Is Self-Centered Crap," I learned of an interesting Japanese term, ikigai, which author Thomas Seager holds to be vastly superior to passion as a guide to choosing a career. In part, Seager explains:

Ikigai places "passion" between what you love and what you're great at. Once you get away from the idea that we all should just be following our own "passion" and focus as well on others, then you have an opportunity to get more of what you want from your life.
Image by en:User:Nimbosa, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
Whether Seager is thinking about the trader principle or not, he is raising a worthwhile point: As Ayn Rand has noted, the self-interests of rational men do not conflict, and often align to great mutual benefit. Why not explore the possibilities?

As do some people discussing his article, I agree that using the term to at least spark discussion is helpful: Common terms like passion and vocation carry enough denotational and emotional baggage to distract from the matter at hand. And, as you will see from the diagram, some who discuss the topic use them to label parts of it.

I don't think it's so important to give each part of the Venn diagram a name as it is to consider the factors it brings out, as labeled on the outer portion of each circle. Whether the diagram is truly an accurate unpacking of the term, it's something I could see helping greatly clarify someone's thinking about work and career. I wish I had thought about these things (and in such a way) much earlier in life, and I certainly plan to introduce this to my children down the road. In that vein, I note that a web site offers a downloadable PDF similar to this diagram for people attempting to find their ikiga

-- CAV

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