Should You do What You Are Good at? Or What You Are Passionate About? A Brief View on Ikigai

I’ll admit, I am not a great writer…yet! (Maybe I should write about Growth Mindset next). However!! I love writing, and I love the archetype of “the writer”. I love what being a writer stands for, of what I think it stands for. But, there are other things I might be better at. What to do then? Write, even if not that amazingly, or pursue something where I might be more talented?

Then I heard about Ikigai.

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Ikigai is a concept, or lifestyle-tool that would allow us to find balance between dreams and practicality.

I remember in elementary school (primary in Italy) they taught us about groups and intersection between groups. Well, an Ikigai diagram is practically like that. The perfect balance in there, in the middle of different groups.

This balance is found at the intersection where your passions and talents converge with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.

Ikigai, from Forbes

I suppose the concept is understood more thoroughly going backwards. Actually, by exclusion.

If you follow what you love, but the world doesn’t need it, or you are not even one bit good at it…well, according to Ikigai, at best you got yourself an hobby.

If you are very good at something, but you don’t like it, it could be a job you’ll hate. If you are good at it but can’t get paid for it…yep, an hobby (Hobbies are cool BTW).

If the world needs something that you love doing, but can’t get paid for it…that is a mission…A person’s gotta eat.

So, when you find something you are good at, you love it, can get paid for it and is in need

You’re a winner! You got yourself the perfect Ikigai, and possibly the perfect career.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Let’s circle back to me. Am I a good writer? Well, I suppose you could tell me better…but let’s say, not great. Not great at all.

Does the world need my writing? At the moment, I don’t think so.

Can I get paid for it? It’s a hope!

Should I give up and find something more lucrative, and that I am better at?

No way in Hell!!

Growth Mindset and Grit

Success is not an accident, success is a choice. — Stephen Curry

Failure is so important. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. — J.K. Rowling

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. Confucius

I think Ikigai is an awesome way to systematically analyse where your passions are at, and in a way that is definitely more practical than many other approaches.

But I also believe we can become good at almost anything we put our mind to. It’s about working hard, and most of all working smart. Having a plan and showing up. For me…I’ll write and write! One of my favourite books, Grit by Angela Duckworth, explains it best. Talent doesn’t often predict success, grit and determination do. Perseverance. Putting in the hours. It’s not about being born geniuses, but staying “longer with problems”. And always believing we are on the road to getting better every single day we do show up.

So, get your Ikigai worked out. It’s fun and useful. But don’t let too much practicality get in the way of your pursuit of what you truly love.

Italian from Taranto, Australian from Melbourne, a “born again gamer (?)”. Writing about social psychology, businesses, and most likely, quite a bit of poetry!

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