How to find your Ikigai, the life purpose, first you need to know how to make society happy.
This is a diagram which has become the symbol of Ikigai, and it is useful to find your Ikigai by answering the following 4 questions.
1, What you love
2, What you are good at
3, What the world needs
4, What you can be paid for
However, it isn’t always easy to find answers to these questions if you don’t know much about society, especially the third question: What the world needs.
What does it mean what the world needs anyway?
Does it mean the market demands?
Or does it mean what needs to be done in order to solve the problems of the world?
If the latter is the case, you need to be familiar with world problems and possible solutions to them.
From the point of view of Sanpo-Yoshi, you can feel more Ikigai, the life value, if you engage in an activity or activities to make you happy, make people around you happy and make society happy.
The question is how to make society happy.
Well, there are many things we can do to make society happy, but here I will introduce 5 elements which I think are critical in today’s world.
3, environmentally friendly
4, socially just
If you engage in activities to meet some of above elements, I think you will more likely to be able to make society happy. I will explain each element within a business context since you also want to know what you can be paid for.
Making It Small
To create a business model that is going to make society happy, we need to look at our growth-oriented economic system, which seemed to be the core problem standing in the way.
There isn’t any more room left on earth for us to grow. Growing doesn’t mean discovering new frontiers anymore; it means taking a bigger share of the same pie. We need to find ways to circulate our wealth and resources.
In my opinion, circulation is the key in the business of 21st century. Another word, to be satisfied with our lot in life and don’t seek further growth. To set the limit to our growth so that we can share the pie with everybody else.
We can aim to earn enough money to be moderately comfortable, instead of aiming to be a millionaire. We have an expression called Hara Hachibunme in Japanese, which means 80% full. This phrase is used in eating, that we stop when our stomach is 80% full. It is good for our intestines. Taru Wo Shiru is another expression meaning know your limit. If the success model is to make a comfortable living, there is enough room for many people to succeed.
If you want to start a business, you can make it small and go de-franchising. In the 20th century, franchising became a popular business model. Business owners used to start with one store, then they would open another one in a different area, and they would repeat this until they ended up with a chain of stores across the country. However, they didn’t stop there; they then expanded their businesses to other countries and eventually wound up with chain stores all over the world.
The disadvantage of the franchising model of business is that it took away the opportunity for local people to succeed. For instance, companies expanded to other markets both within their country and in other countries. Once they set up their franchised businesses, the local businesses had to close down because they didn’t have the financial power to compete with the big companies. This made society unhappy.
Making your business small can actually be a blessing in disguise because you can then focus on making your store successful, which will help you live a more happy and comfortable life because you will have enough time to grow in other areas of your life. Good examples include improving your health, spirituality, and not forgetting you strengthening your relationships with your friends and families. In this way, you will be able to feel Ikigai in all areas of your life.
Making It Local
Another element that can help your businesses make society happy is if you change the business focus from global to local.
Localizing businesses fits the socially friendly business model because, for one, it grows the local economy. This is because money circulates within the community, which helps sustain the economic activities in the area in question.
Another advantage of making it local is that it is environmentally friendly. One, it eliminates the agriculture system of monoculture where people grow only one crop year in year out so that they can export the farm products. Localization enables the agriculture system of poly-culture where people grow different crops that encourage the diversity of the ecosystem.
One of the best examples of a localized economy that used to work well in Japan was a Satoyama economy.
Making It Environmentally Friendly
By making your business small and local, it automatically becomes environmentally friendly. You can also produce some eco-friendly products or services which include organic food, clothes made of organically grown cotton or hemp, building houses and furniture using domestic wood, green tourism, and so on.
Making It Socially Just
How you run your business is crucial as well as what type of products or services you provide. You want to pay attention to equal rights for men and women, and for minorities. You want to be open to cultural and religious diversities. You may want to introduce a communication format using methods such as Nonviolent communication, coaching, and assertiveness training.
Making It Holistic
Holistic means that things are all interconnected, and when we look at things we look at the whole thing rather than individual parts. It is like looking at the entire forest and not a tree in it. The term is often used in the field of medicine. In holistic medicine, doctors don’t pay attention to just symptoms, when they look at illness, they also examine the connection with other body parts or patients’ emotional state to get the whole picture. They don’t just prescribe medicine; they suggest that patients change their lifestyles which are the real causes of their illness.
The term is also used in the field of education as holistic education; Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf education is a good example.
Engaging in those fields is one way of making your business holistic.
Making your business holistic doesn’t only mean to conduct business in the field of holistic medicine or education, it also means to make your way of working holistic. For example, you want to design your business to leave you enough time to spend with your family and close friends. You want to plan your venture in a way allows you to work in a healthy and natural environment.
These are just my ideas and you may have your ideas of making society happy. Anyway, by having some examples, it is easier to answer the question; what the world needs, isn’t it?
Now you can find some activities that you love, you are good at, and you can be paid for which meet some of these 5 elements.
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