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Ikigai: Finding Your Purpose

The ikigai concept helps us understand the real purpose in our lives - from our careers to personal.

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Ikigai: Finding Your Purpose


March 23, 2022


Ruth Ng

When you wake up each morning and get ready for work, do you feel like it's "just another day" to get through?

Or do you wake up, get ready for the day and know with full confidence and certainty that you are living the way you were truly meant to?

There is a common pattern most people fall into as they grow up; you do all the "right" things, like getting the "right" degree to get an objectively "good" job.

It's this job that lets you pay all your bills and buy all the things that are supposed to make you look successful on the outside and supposedly happy within.

But then, somehow, things don't measure up. Something just feels off.

Maybe your job leaves you uninspired, and you live your weeks waiting for the weekend. Or perhaps you can't escape the sense that your achievement is only external, and no one truly knows that deep down, you couldn't feel less fulfilled. And perhaps that lack of fulfilment even makes you feel a bit guilty.

You may have the career you thought you wanted, but you know it isn't really your calling. You might feel pulled in a different direction and want to make a change but aren't sure where to begin.

Maybe you don't even know how to go about discovering your true purpose in life. It's a lofty ambition, we know. That's why we've looked to philosophy and psychology for the answers. In Japan, there is a term that describes overcoming the struggle of seeking fulfilment and embracing one's true nature.

It's called "ikigai," and here's how you could use it to start truly living the life you were born to have.

What is ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept, and is pronounced like ee-kee-guy. Its English translation is essentially "to live one's life with purpose", or "a path to fulfilment." This is an idea that many Westerners struggle with, sometimes for their entire lives, because we do not tend to delve deeply into the philosophical side of our careers and well-being.

But our professions have an enormous impact on our identities, life satisfaction and sense of purpose. When you spend the majority of your week at work, the job you do has to bring you a sense of personal enrichment and fulfilment.

So, what's your ikigai? Does your current job measure up?

Even if you already have a career, switching to a new field could be the right step toward discovering your true purpose. For many, careers in digital have brought them closer to living with a sense of greater purpose.

Let's dig a little deeper...

The four elements of ikigai

Ikigai can be broken down into four elements:

  1. Your passion
  2. Your mission
  3. Your profession
  4. Your vocation


Your passion is what you love. It's what you would do if you could do anything and not worry about money, job benefits, etc. Far too many people believe that passions rarely intersect with professionals, and that people who get to do something they truly love for a living are the lucky ones.

But ikigai emphasises passion's role in the workplace. It encourages people to choose careers that truly inspire them and light their inner sparks. When you look at how to get into tech, you'll often find people explaining that it was a passion for creating, designing and helping others that inspired their career move.


A mission is more than a task you have to accomplish each day. Rather than showing up to a job and running through a list of responsibilities, you can have a career that makes you feel motivated to achieve a greater mission.

This could be helping businesses grow through personalised digital marketing or using your creativity to evolve and humanise a consumerist marketplace through UX and web development.

Using the ikigai philosophy, your mission should intersect with your passion and vocation (which we'll get to shortly).


Your profession is more than merely a job title. It is the physical manifestation of your passion and its accompanying skills; your profession enables you to give back to the world through your in-born talents and developed strengths.

After all, that's what we all want.

Careers in digital, like cybersecurity, software development, data science and digital marketing, are all ideal professionals for the modern working person's ikigai. Why? Because they are so diverse and flexible to suit your own passion and purpose.

A career in the digital industry is creative and individual, as well as financially rewarding and personally enriching. They're also more accessible than ever thanks to targeted topic courses like the ones we offer here at Korma.


Finally, vocation is an element of ikigai that centers around what you get paid to do for a living. Your profession is slightly different, defined more by what you can do well and what you enjoy doing.

Vocation and profession have to exist in harmony if you want a career that's truly rewarding and feels yours.

If you're still not sure whether a career move is the right choice for discovering your ikigai, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I love doing "just because?"
  • What motivates me to work hard?
  • How can my skills earn money and make me happy?
  • What popular fields can I apply myself for the greatest benefit and impact?

How we can help

At Knoma, we believe that everyone deserves a career that holds value in their lives. Work should never be something you just have to get over with. That's why we've channeled our own ikigai into helping you find yours.

Whether it's applying your creativity through digital marketing strategies or protecting people with top-of-the-line cybersecurity and data science solutions, your purpose may be closer than you think.

If you want to change career, we can help. Through our Knowledge Marketplace, you can search hundreds of top-rated courses with incredible schools. Worried about upfront costs? No problem -- by paying through Knoma, you can pay later. No interest, no fees. Our ikigai is about making access to education fair.

Visit the Knowledge Marketplace and find your Ikigai.

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