How ikigai can supercharge your business prospects

How ikigai can supercharge your business prospects

Everyone has that little something that gets them up in the morning. And the Japanese, in all their wisdom, have a specific term for this: ikigai.

We will explore how ikigai applies to business, and how it can pave the way for growth and greater profits.

Ikigai: the philosophy of motivation

Ikigai refers to something that brings life joy and value. With this in mind, it can be anything: hobbies, kids, pets, work.

To further explain the concept, consider these four key elements of ikigai:

  1. What you love
    It’s an object of affection; something that you are deeply passionate about.
  2. What you’re good at
    Ikigai lies in areas where one excels, be it hobbies, skills, or mundane everyday tasks.
  3. What the world needs
    Ikigai can also denote a purpose that addresses what your society needs from you.
  4. What you can get paid for
    Ultimately, ikigai is something that delivers a tangible reward.

Ikigai in entrepreneurship

It’s easy to say that a business’s ikigai is profit, however it goes well beyond that. Ikigai aligns a company’s value with the broader needs of its community, allowing the business to foster deeper connections. As a result, the business becomes more than a profit-making entity, becoming a force for positive change and societal impact. 

Other related benefits include:

Employee engagement and productivity
Leaders who understand their ikegai and integrate it into their business can better inspire and engage their employees. A culture that emphasises purpose and meaningful work attracts top talent and cultivates a motivated, productive workforce.

Innovation and adaptability

Ikigai-driven entrepreneurs naturally seek to innovate their business practices, adapting new techniques and methods in the process. In effect, they encourage experimentation and the willingness to embrace change rather than focus solely on short-term revenue. 


Ikigai emphasises the long-term viability and impact of a business, so business leaders guided by this philosophy are more likely to adopt sustainable and responsible practices. Ikigai leads them to consider the broader implications of their decisions, allowing their business to prosper and contribute meaningful change to society and the environment. 

To conclude

Ikigai is the philosophy of happiness, and it extends beyond individual fulfilment. It also applies to businesses, challenging leaders to look past mere profit and consider the effects of their decisions on the world around them. The philosophy empowers individuals and organisations to inspire people, enrich lives, and make a meaningful difference.

Tokyo-based neuroscientist Dr. Ken Mogi further elaborates on the concept of ikigai. In an AIA Live explainer, he detailed five pillars essential to its implementation, namely: 

  • Starting small. It’s always best to start with the littlest things that add value to life, gradually building up to ikigai, which leads to greater goals.
  • Releasing yourself. This means being honest with yourself and releasing that true self to overcome the restraints that keep you from achieving ikigai.
  • Harmony and sustainability. Achieving ikigai requires you to live in harmony with people and things around you, creating sustainable motivations in the process.
  • The joy of little things. Finding joy in small things is crucial in ikigai, and to a happy life in general.
  • Being in the here and now. Lastly, ikigai requires that you enjoy the present, never stressing over past experiences or worrying about the future. 

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

Leave a Reply