Ikigai: Can we save the world through Japanese philosophy? 

Adam Leipzig’s TEDx talk, Find Your Life Purpose In 5 Minutes has over 10 million views. I can bet that 90% of those viewers haven’t found their life’s purpose. At least this viewer and writer hasn’t. But what can we learn from this hunger for purpose? Can we corral it to make a positive impact instead?

This New Year there’s tonnes of self-help guides packing the shelves, from cook books, mind-blowing fiction, to new-age manifestos and philosophies, there should be something for everyone. However, something’s missing.  And more widely, it feels like the world doesn’t have a sense of where its heading either.

There’s a tendency to blame this difficulty of making resolutions that stick, this loss of purpose, with post-industrial, post-trust era. As we emerge into a new year of opportunities and challenges, these voices get stronger. It gets even more complex when retailers repackage our anti-commercialism dreams and nostalgia and sell it back to us in the form of hygge and “greenwashing” products. However, instead of bemoaning commercialisation, can’t we engage positively and help businesses have a more positively purposeful future too?

The need for a sense of purpose, ‘a reason for being’, this isn’t a recent phenomena. Philosophies of life have been around for generations, and the very best of them recognise the complexity of human experience. They recognise that the world has always been confusing. These philosophies give us ways to engage with the world, gives us a language to recognise it, articulate it and ultimately, live with it. Maybe this need explains the very earliest piece of art (at Blombos Cave,  South Africa ), folktales across the world, and the flood of selfhelp books on sale at my local Waterstones this January.

"At TRVST, we get excited, not scared, by complexity. We’re realistic and passionate about transforming the messy, multi-vocal world that we experience every day."

When working with passionate individuals and social enterprises, we’re driven by ‘joined-up’ systematic thinking, and we hunt out ‘solution-patterns’ rather than one-off, overly simplistic magic bullet solutions. We’re taking old wisdom of Japanese philosophy and breathing new life into it: ikigai philosophy.

We love the concept of Ikigai philosophy, the Japanese philosophic concept that gives you a ‘reason to live’ and harmonise the different areas of your life: what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at, and what you can be paid for. We apply this philosophy to social networks. We recognise that the world is interconnected, yet every stakeholder needs and contribute something different. Somewhere there is a sweetspot, ‘a reason to live.’ We curate the space where passionate individuals, entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers, and good corporate citizens can met. Each group bring passion, mission, vocation, profession but in slightly different forms and quantities. TRVST acts as the catalyst of these meetings and fuses these different values into positive, actionable solutions. We create game-changing interactions that normally wouldn’t happen.

Zoe delivers TRVST's editorial vision, network outreach and multi-channel social engagement. She is passionate about building networks and movements to accelerate social change and to create system-wide change. She has previously worked for citizen-led change in UK social care and mental health services and working in Uganda to empower university students through social entrepreneurship.
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