A Positive Outlook on the Future
This will be my final column for this magazine. Typing that out and staring at it for a minute is melancholic. This all started in 2016, while I was still rehabbing my knee from a pretty bad skiing injury. At the time, I had been told I’d spend the rest of my life walking with a limp, but folks who know me know better than to issue a definitive opinion like that. Seven years and hundreds of hours of rehab later, I only limp when extreme fatigue sets in.
I wrote about this seven years ago, and I write about it now as suitable bookends, but also because it demonstrates the power of a positive outlook.
A couple of months ago, a respected colleague slipped me copy of the book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life”. I cracked it open and read it with wonder. The concept ended up having a profound impact on my outlook. As we bid adieu to each other, it is only fitting that we delve into it — the Japanese philosophy that encapsulates the essence of finding meaning and purpose in our lives.
Ikigai, often translated as "reason for being," is a guiding principle that empowers us to create a life imbued with passion, fulfillment, and an unwavering sense of purpose. We live in a world filled with endless possibilities, yet it is all too easy to become overwhelmed and lost amidst the noise and expectations. Ikigai provides a way to navigate through the chaos and discover what truly matters. It is a reminder that our lives have meaning, and that we have the ability to make even a small difference.
At its core, Ikigai combines four fundamental pillars: what we love, what we are good at, what the world needs, and what we can be rewarded for. When these four elements converge, a harmonious balance is achieved, and a path towards a meaningful existence unveils itself. To embrace Ikigai is to engage in deep introspection, to unravel the layers of our desires and aspirations, and to reconnect with our authentic selves. It is a personal journey, unique to each individual, and it requires courage and self-reflection.
For me, writing has always been something I love. I was born in the cleaning industry, and chances are I’ll always be serving it in some capacity. Sharing observations and furthering the conversation has been a labor of love, as well as a labor of service. It has been a big part of my Ikigai.
As I move onward, I want to encourage all of you to continue embracing your Ikigai. Let it guide you in all aspects of your life, from your personal relationships to your professional pursuits. Seek out opportunities that align with your passions and values, surround yourself with individuals who inspire and support you, and always strive to make a positive impact on the world around you.
Remember, your Ikigai is unique to you. Embrace it, nurture it, and allow it to blossom into something truly extraordinary. The world is waiting for the gifts that only you can bring, and I am confident that your journey will be filled with purpose, fulfillment, and endless possibilities.
I want to express my gratitude for this opportunity to connect with each of you. Every month, I hear from readers with questions and commentary. Many of you have written to share your stories and experiences, and a few of you have expressed disagreement. I’ve enjoyed the dialogue — and even the debate. The world would be a pretty boring place if everyone agreed with each other all the time.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey. May your life be filled with joy, purpose, and an unwavering connection to your Ikigai. May your path be illuminated by the light of your passions.