Ikigai and how you can find happiness in life

Many people in the world work their job, and they work hard. They do their best to keep their job, provide for their family and themselves. They don’t really think about the work they do, and they just get things done. These are people who just want a stable income to be able to live comfortably. And that’s OK. But that’s not Gladys P.Nut, founder and creative director of CutieSquad.

Let me tell you a little story…

For as long as she can remember, Gladys P.Nut was drawing – on everything and all kinds of cute things. However, as expected from any intelligent person, she went to get her degree and found a ‘proper’ job in IT consultancy. But her love for kawaii never left her. In business meetings, she felt out of place. Not only, because she was the only one in a hoody and with a fluffy, feathered pen, but she felt unattached. Like, life was happening, and she was doing everything that was expected of her, but it wasn’t her life.

After Gladys experienced some dark times, she decided to shake things up. Quitting her job was the best first step she took. Step two was closing herself off for a full month, just to think, draw and create without any plans, deadlines or outside influences. Her family was quite shocked by her choices and were surprised that she quit the stability of her job. Not everyone was supportive at first, but Gladys P.Nut decided to use that energy and turn it into something positive; this was how her CutieSquad was born. Every single family member became a kawaii character she turned their “negative” traits into a fun part of their characters. It made Gladys P.Nut stronger, and she was able to create something light and bright in a sea of negativity.

Match your life and purpose

This is a red line within Gladys P. Nut finding her purpose in life and finding true happiness, as the Japanese call: Ikigai. Ikigai is “iki” (life) and “gai” (value or worth), and about finding joy in life through purpose. In other words, your ikigai is what gets you up every morning, keeps you going and makes you happy. Gladys P.Nut noticed that she could get out of bed again because she didn’t have to go to an office and ‘role-play a corporate exec’ but could just spend her days drawing, creating and seeking inspiration. Her love for kawaii and her creativity is the perfect match for her to live her life with real purpose.

Finding your ikigai

Finding your ikigai is not easy; it’s about thinking and reassessing what you do and what you love. It’s about discovering your passion, your personal drive and incorporating this in your everyday life. You don’t have to quit your job if you value financial stability, you can also find a hobby that fulfils you. Ikigai is not about finding your dream job, though it can be if you want, it’s just about doing what you love and doing it as often as you can. Whether that’s running through the forest early in the morning before you start your day, to purposefully raising your family, to quitting your job to become an artist or from cooking a new recipe every week. But how do you know what you love, how do you know what truly makes you happy? By trying out and doing new things, being more in the moment and aware of your place and surroundings. Try to get rid of elements that block you in finding your ikigai. Make sure that you create the time to seek your purpose, mentally and physically. Again, you don’t have to quit your job and close yourself off for a month as Gladys P.Nut did but make an effort. Try something new, change your daily routine and make more conscious choices. Only then you open yourself up to ikigai.