Distinguishing the long-term objective from the purpose is crucial, as the former is an ongoing journey without a definitive end. While a strong sense of purpose is essential, it alone may not sustain you. Thus, aligning your mission with your passions and interests becomes paramount. In Japanese, this concept is termed “ikigai,” which translates to “following your joy.” Western society has increasingly embraced ikigai as a tool to help individuals uncover their ideal vocations and career paths.
The essence of ikigai lies in finding the convergence of what you excel at, what the world needs, and what brings you joy – a sweet spot that the world values. This involves integrating practical considerations with your passions to forge a meaningful purpose. A stroke of fortune may lead some to discover their ikigai within their careers; for instance, a doctor finding purpose in aiding the ill.
However, others may struggle to connect their work with a deeper sense of purpose. Balancing the idealistic version of ourselves, yearning for meaning and purpose, with the practicalities of work, family obligations, and societal expectations often leads us to compromise. The misconception that we must trade meaning for pragmatism can be detrimental.
In truth, sustaining motivation over the long term requires a genuine sense of purpose. It involves recognizing that meaning and purpose can coexist with practicality, debunking the notion that a trade-off is necessary. To persevere, one must cultivate a profound sense of purpose that transcends daily challenges and endures over time.