Being the richest copywriter or entrepreneur has never been my priority…

Yes, I absolutely want to build an abundance of resources to ensure I’ll always have a comfortable life.  And that my kids will have all they need until they are fully able to support themselves.

But do I need to be the next billionaire to be happy?  No way.

Money is one goal.  Not the goal.

I know that some people who spend their lives in the pursuit of wealth at all costs end up miserable.

Yet I also recognize the other side of this.  That you can’t just “embrace your passion and the money will follow.”  Just doing what you love is NOT a prescription for paying the bills — much less getting rich.

Frankly, I would love to simply spend every day making electronic music.

And yeah, there are some people who are doing very well in that business.

But even though I’m pretty good and I love it, it’s really not something I saw a clear path to getting paid well for.  And so I pursued other paths to make a living.

Still, sometimes that feels like a sacrifice.  Not between these two things in particular, but the mere act of choosing between what you love to do, and what you can get paid for.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

Because in life, I’m constantly growing.  Constantly willing to shift my direction — sometimes by a degree or two, sometimes in a dramatic way.  Constantly looking for ways that I can maximize my happiness while also ensuring material success.

I was talking about this with my coach, Joseph Rodrigues, and he reminded me of the Japanese concept of Ikigai.

Is this the secret to true happiness at work?

Ikigai is best understood as the intersection of four key areas…

  1. That which you love…
  2. That which you are good at…
  3. That which you can be paid for…
  4. That which the world needs…

When any given opportunity fulfills all of these for you, it is your Ikigai.

Whatever opportunity meets all of these goals for you will feel fulfilling and energizing.  Working on it will make you happy.  And because it’s something the world values and needs, you can achieve financial success with it as well.

I’ve included an interesting graphic with this article, to help you see how this works.

Let’s look a little deeper at what each of these actually mean — the pros and cons of focusing on each area…

That which you love…

Pros…

When you love to do something, it will bring you joy, in the simple act of doing it.

This is huge.  Because all of those little moments of joy will lead you toward ongoing joy in your life.

Cons…

The downside of simply doing something you love is that things we love often don’t pay the bills.

Love watching college football and eating hot wings?  You and millions.  And nobody’s paying you to do that.  If you want to earn a living, you’ll need something more.

That which you are good at…

Pros…

Being good at something creates a sense of accomplishment.  You know you’re good at it.  You get the gratification of all your practice and skill development paying off.

Cons…

There are plenty of things people get very good at that have very little financial value.  Devoting your life to mastering Candy Crush only ensures you will be good at Candy Crush.  Meanwhile, your cell phone bill needs to be paid.

That which you can be paid for…

Pros…

We live in a world where money is a critical tool used to exchange value.  Things like food, shelter, and most human necessities and comfort require a steady stream of money.

Unless you want to go off-grid and live in survival mode, you need to get paid.  Having a skill you can get paid for can give you the money to live, and beyond that to build a comfortable life for yourself.

(Important note here.  “Getting paid for” something can have lots of different levels.  Cost of living is enough for many people.  Making millions is the expectation for others.  What’s important is recognizing how well it meets the level of your desire or expectation.)

Cons…

Just because something makes money doesn’t mean you’ll be happy doing it.  There is a whole world full of miserable people who are doing jobs that pay at or above a living wage, who have found that money doesn’t buy happiness.

And at the extremes, there are plenty of people who are exorbitantly rich who practically have to pay people to “love” them, and who live in constant fear that if they lost their money, they’d be a nobody.

That which the world needs…

Pros…

When you’re fulfilling a need for the world, it’s gratifying in a social sense.  You feel like you are serving other people, which carries its own form of happiness.

Cons…

Just because the world needs something, doesn’t mean it’s something you’ll enjoy working on, or that it will pay you well enough to live.

We often spend years of our lives close to Ikigai, but not in it…

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of this.  But the further you are away from your Ikigai, the more you’ll likely feel that something is missing.

Here are some examples that are close to Ikigai — but not quite there…

If there’s something you love to do and the world needs it, that can be your mission.  Mission work is often immensely gratifying to the soul, but missionaries are stereotypically broke.  For many, mission work can only be done during gaps in your life, where you go and serve the world in a way you love, and then go back to the grind.

If the world needs something and is willing to pay for it, it can be a vocation, a job.  I don’t think there’s a lot of people who love the trash business.  But in our modern world, we generate a bunch of trash, and we’re willing to pay people fairly well to take that trash away.  It’s a vocation, a job.  But it’s not necessarily spiritually fulfilling work for most.

If you can be paid for something and you’re good at it, that can be a profession.  This tends to be distinguished by going above and beyond the level of untrained labor.  So a lawyer who is great at what they do but who doesn’t love their work may have it as a profession, but still want more from life.

And if you’re good at something and love it, that’s a passion.  This is something you could do all day long, and that might even get you adoration from fans.  But it doesn’t necessarily translate into financial or career success.

And of course, even these can overlap.  Something could be a mission and a passion, but not pay worth squat and so you are out of alignment in terms of being able to create a good living from it.

The closer you come to your Ikigai, the more pleasurable and effortless success becomes…

And I think this is definitely a case of a moving target.  At least for someone as ADHD as me.

When you find the sweet spot, you find work that you love, that the world needs, that you can be paid for, and that you’re good at.

That’s your Ikigai.

In that space, you’ll find flow and inspiration and momentum.  In that space, you’ll be energized to get up and go to work, and time will fly by.

In that space, you’ll be surprised with how much you achieve, how fast.

And that will be measured in income as well as a thousand other measures.

No matter how you look at it, you will feel successful.

No matter how you look at it, you will be successful.

And then you ride that, while it is fulfilling.  And then if what you want changes, you remain open to shifting directions and finding your new Ikigai.

So…

What’s your Ikigai?

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Like This? Get More...

Get daily marketing tips by email... Enter your info below!

Your Privacy is SAFE! We won't sell or share your email.

Instant Download: 5 Free Gifts

Especially valuable for: Copywriters, Direct Marketers, and Internet Entrepreneurs... 

   • My Response to a Copywriter Looking for Career Advice
   • The Master Secret of Great Marketing
   • The Single-Most Powerful Word in Persuasion
   • Total Business Breakthrough Marketing Audit
   • Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins (PDF and Audiobook)

Enter your info.  Try my daily emails.  Get instant download access to these 5 gifts now. 

Thanks! Check your email to confirm & grab your free goodies...