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400 miles off the coast of Japan, lies the tropical island of Okinawa. It boasts white sand beaches, lush tropical vegetation, and turquoise blue waters. However, this picturesque island is no ordinary island; Per capita, Okinawa has the highest life expectancy rate in the world and an impressively high number of centenarians.

Over the years, many longevity studies have been conducted to determine the secret of so many of these hundred-year-old Okinawans. And the findings consistently showed that while good genetics and a healthy diet played a roll, the one element that clearly stood out was their Ikigai.

Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that means; your reason for being. “Iki”means life, and “gai” describes value or worth. Your Ikigai is your life’s purpose or your bliss. It's what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every morning while at the same time contributing to making the world a better place.

Ikigai overlaps 4 key components:

Passion: What you love

Mission: What the world needs

Vocation: What you are good at

Profession: What you can be paid for

Since every person is different, so is their Ikigai. In order to determine yours you’ll need to first look within to define your life’s purpose and what makes you happy. Then you’ll need to look outside of yourself to determine what you can do to make the world a better place.

Another way to think about it is: There are 24 hours in a day and the average person needs 8 hours of sleep, which leaves you with 16 hours to apply towards your life’s purpose while enjoying the journey and improving your community all at the same time. What will you do during those 16 hours?

By designing a well-defined Ikigai you will have a blueprint for a happy and fulfilled life. Print the following Venn diagram and fill in your Ikigai:

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