Choosing a career after graduation has been a big nut for most youths to crack. Most of us aren’t so sure of the next step to take after completing our first degree and we say “when I get to the bridge, I would cross it” but the bridge doesn’t have a signpost of directions. You need to make your own directions and follow them. The big question is, HOW?

 As promised in my last post on “6 important things to get before completing your first degree“, I would talk about the ikigai concept and how it can help us define our path.

What is ikigai?

 Ikigai is a Japanese word, which means “a reason for being”. It refers to having a definite purpose and direction in life.

 It is the core intercept of passion, mission, vocation and profession.

Choosing a career after school; The ikigai answer.

What is my passion?

  The intercept between what you love and you are good at is your passion and your undergraduate days is the best time to explore and get to know about the things you love and can work with. It is not enough to decide on what you love when you’ve only explored a few things. In his video, how to decide a career, Dan Lok said if a young person is unsure about his/her perfect career, it means you haven’t tried enough things. 

“Trying enough things

Is elimination process” _ Dan Lok

 Don’t limit yourself. Try different hobbies. Only then can you decide on what you love, what you don’t, and what you can work on getting better at. 

What is my mission?

 When you do what you love, and the world needs it, that’s your mission. Examples of people you find here are missionaries, activists, climate change advocates, etc. what do you think the world needs from you? The act of giving gives one a satisfactory feeling and sense of usefulness, but most youths don’t think of this.

What is my vocation?

 Your vocation is the intercept between what can pay you and what the world needs. We find here impact-driven individuals most of the time e.g. teachers. Sadly, they affect but not everyone of them loves it or is good at it.

What is my profession?

 Your profession is the intercept between what you are good at and what can get you paid. Our parents or society often decide this. They have pictures of the careers that pay well, tell you to study it at the university and hopefully you land a job in it. They often tell us to go for most common and well-paid careers like accountancy, engineering, law, etc.

 Most times we listen to these voices, become good at what we do, but the feeling of satisfaction is often missing.

How can I find a balance between these four?

 Most of the time, three paths intercept;

  • When you pick a career in what you love, you are good at it and the world needs it. There would be delight, excitement, but no wealth. Money is important for your upkeep and only with it can you keep your motivation going.
  • When you pick a career in what you love, you are good, and it can pay you, you feel satisfied, but in the long run, you might question your reason for existence. You don’t affect society, and therefore most people look for something to do to give back to society after retirement. Why wait that long before working towards making an impact?
  • Choosing a career on what you are good at, it can pay you, and the world needs would give you a sense of comfort, but there is emptiness. Most 9-5 jobs are in this intercept. A healthy life needs happiness and for you to have that, you must do what you love.
  • A career in the intercept of what you love, what the world needs, and would pay you gives you excitement and complacency but there is uncertainty and that’s because you are not good at it but do you know what? This is the best place to be. With money, you can invest in yourself and become good at what you do.

Finding your ikigai is not as easy as it seems. Some people are lucky to know their reason for existence early, but if you don’t know yours yet, it’s fine. You would get to know with time.

Ask yourself the following questions;

  • What do I love to do?
  • What does the world need? 
  • What can I get paid for? 
  • What am I good at? 

Answer the questions honestly and think through them well. You don’t have to be hard on yourself. And like Dan Lok said, “make money first. Only then can you invest in yourself and find your calling. The most important thing is, love what you do and everything would fall in place.