Ikigai / Notre raison d’être

The picture above is a typical photo of my scrubs after applying a plaster cast to a patient’s broken limb. It’s messy and wonderful and part of the reason I love my job! 

The French phrase Raison d’être or the Japanese phrase Ikigai translates as “our reason for being”. It is rather like the concept of self-actualisation.

Rd’e / Ikigai as a concept is when we feel worth or value as a person, and therefore see our life as meaningful and worth living. This can be as a person or as a society – i.e. whats makes our own lives worthy of getting out of bed in the morning, and what produces the greatest sense of value as a society.

Author Dan Buettner notes that the Westernised version of Ikigai lies in the overlap between what you are good at, what you can be paid for, what the world needs and what you enjoy doing. What you are good at and what you can be paid for becomes your profession. What you can be paid for and what the world needs becomes your vocation. What the world needs and what you enjoy doing becomes your mission. And what you enjoy doing and what you are good at becomes your passion.

I am incredibly fortunate that my career as a doctor fits into all of these domains (I love it, the world needs it, someone is willing to pay me for it, and hey I might not be half bad at it).

It is argued that true Ikigai cannot be achieved without profession, vocation, mission and passion – and so these four domains help to ground us. So next time you’re feeling a little out of sorts, just ask yourself – am I missing one of these?

Adapted from my original article at https://feminem.org/2018/01/10/choosing-armour-part-2/

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