“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

-Robert Byrne

Life is banal without purpose. There’s only a certain point till which you can do what you’re told. Constantly doing the right thing. Getting an education, buying a car, buying a house, starting a family and working till you die. A lack of purpose depletes one of motivation and without that, life comes to a standstill. As days merge into each other, this acute lack of will power will enervate both your body and mind.

Remember learning how to ride a bicycle for the first time? When the training wheels finally come off, after a few tumbles and bruises, you finally get it right. The bike picks up momentum as you slowly overcome your fear of falling and you capitalise on this new found power of yours. In that particular moment, your life changes forever.

Purpose for a child is easy and quite volatile. Children are optimistic and eager to learn new things, they’re not concerned about pragmatism towards life. However as adults, we really struggle with this.

‘Can I really do this?’

‘Will this make me happy?’

‘Will I be good at this?’.

We keep reiterating these questions to ourselves and miss out on the small inspirations around us.

If only there was a way to find your purpose…



Ikigai is Japan’s gift to humanity. It is a simple philosophy which roughly translates to ‘your reason for existence’. According to the philosophy, everyone must have an Ikigai, a purpose to accomplish before your time runs out.

The philosophy is actually quite pragmatic.

Ikigai, or your purpose, is realised by the intersection of four domains: what you are good at, what you can be paid for, what the world needs and what you love. While encouraging ambition, Ikigai also adds a hint of practicality to your purpose. We often see or hear about humans achieving amazing feats. Be it CEOs pushing the limits of innovation or Artists pushing the limits of their art. All these brilliant minds have a common ground; they have found their Ikigai. They know exactly what they’re here for and don’t stop at anything until it has been achieved. That’s the beauty of Ikigai, it is not only your purpose, but also the driving force that helps you achieve it.

Ikigai is not what you see in your dreams, rather it is what keeps you awake at night. When the world sleeps, you are getting an inch closer to your goal. It is what makes you want to leave the comfort of a warm bed on a rainy Monday and conquer the day. It is what pulls you out from a dark cave since success is achieved by those who have clarity about their purpose in dire times.


At TEDxPICT this year, we recognise the importance of individuals who have recognised their own Ikigai. We hope to inspire you to find your Ikigai, your own driving force.

So, join us this year as we embark on a journey to help you seek your Ikigai, a journey to compel you to pursue your dreams.


TEDxPICT is coming soon. Stay tuned!


6 thoughts on “Ikigai

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