[Student Report] Year 11 Learn About ‘Ikigai’ – A Reason for Being

When we set foot into this new phase of our life, we welcome along the many challenges that come with growing up. We feel the insecurities of the future, the confusion of who we are, and introduced to Year 11 was a way we can make sense of all this.

Janith Chang introduced us to a concept that dates back to the Heian period (794~1185) in ancient Japan. It is a concept that combines “iki” meaning life or alive and “gai” which means benefit or worth. The two put together depict the idea of the reason for being, or in a wider sense, the purpose of our life. There are four components to this concept namely, passion, mission, profession, and vocation. This idea of Ikigai combines what it is that you love, what you are good at, for what you can be paid to do, and lastly, what the world needs. From what I gathered from our session with Janith, finding your Ikigai is understanding the cohesion of these concepts, packing them into your mind, and therefore living peacefully while understanding your purpose.

It may have sounded far-fetched or fanciful to us yet when we were asked to envision what made us truly happy, what we loved, what we thought of ourselves, and the change we would like to see in the world, the Auditorium that we sat in seemed to melt away into the soft music playing. Even if we did not attain the spirituality of Ikigai, with the techniques of visualisation combined with meditation and communication, we all came to varying conclusions about ourselves and how we view this concept.

This session showed us that finding one’s purpose begins with the understanding of one’s self. It was also a gift in the sense that whenever you feel astray, or you feel the confusion of the inevitable future creeping up on you, retuning to this understanding of who you are grounds you, and this grounding tethers you to a sense of purpose that is easily lost in the world we live in. Delving deeper into your reason for being and what is ahead of you may not seem so terrifying after all.

Jasmine Ingram | Year 11