Ikigai is the Japanese lifestyle idea of the need to have “a reason for being,” a “reason to live for.” It’s about having a direction, joy and purpose in life, a motivation, that is, finding and doing those things that make one’s life worthwhile and give it a meaning.
To have found one’s own Ikigai means that one does those activities that are not forced, but are perceived as being rather spontaneous, things one is willing to do with joy. In Japan it’s also thought that if you have found and live your Ikigai, you live healthier and longer.
One’s Ikigai comes about as the intersection of four specific qualities: what you are good at, what the world or other people need, what you can be paid for, and what you love (have passion for and pleasure towards). When the things (or thing) you do have (has) these four qualities, you have found your Ikigai.
Of course, when you are already retired and have a steady income, or if you are in other ways financially provided for, being paid for your activities is not a necessary part of your Ikigai.
Nevertheless, it’s important to realize that one’s Ikigai can (and often does) change over time, because a person and the environment of a person change. When one feels or discovers that one of the four qualities of the formula doesn’t match any longer, one needs to look for one’s new Ikigai.