The word mission can hold a variety of different meanings depending on its context. It can have personal, political, or business connotations, to name a few. Within the context of Ikigai, however, it means the intersection of what you love and what the world needs. Keep in mind that mission is only the second of the four elements that make up one’s Ikigai—one’s reason for being. And this element is what I would like to explore here.
One part of the Ikigai meaning of mission is “love.” The things we love say a lot about us as individuals. Personally, I revel in process, good stories, and various types of improvement. If left to my own devices, I can be found working on finding a better way to do something, reading a good fantasy book, or playing a game with a good storyline. Obviously, there are other things I enjoy, but for the sake of this post we will keep it simple! The activities and experiences that we love give us energy and fulfill us. They help make life on this spinning rock more enjoyable and worthwhile, regardless of whether they better the rest of the world or not. In and of themselves, they are good.
Now, how does love factor into mission? Love provides fuel for the other half of mission: “what the world needs.” Before you feel tempted to get all up in arms about service and “but what has the world done for me lately?” let’s take a look at the meaning behind the idea. What the world needs can be just about anything: a product, a service, or even a simple kindness. It doesn’t have to be servitude or the grand things we always hear about on the news. The phrase “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world” comes to mind. When we talk about what the world needs, it does not need to be earth-shattering; it can be as simple as helping a single person.
Combining love and “what the world needs” to create a mission is an important facet to the jewel of Ikigai. In the diagram and article linked above, the intersection of mission and passion is noted with the phrase “delight and fullness, but no wealth.” Obviously, wealth plays a big part in most people’s happiness and fulfillment because it allows us to afford to do more, with less effort. We will cover the monetary piece in later posts, along with the other half of the diagram. As you may realize, each of these parts have their own balance of elements that in turn balance the other pieces of the Ikigai puzzle.
What do you love? What do you think the world needs? What thoughts do you have on the concept of mission? We here at Protagonist would love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!