What’s Your Ikigai? Overcoming the Arrival Fallacy and Finding Meaning in Everyday Life

Speaker: Jen Brandt

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What’s Your Ikigai? Overcoming the Arrival Fallacy and Finding Meaning in Everyday Life


Ikigai is a Japanese concept that stems from two words iki, which means life, and gai, which describes value or worth.  Essentially, ikigai is the reason why you get up in the morning—it’s your “purpose in action.”  One’s ikigai may have nothing to do with income.  Someone’s value in life can be work—but it is certainly not limited to that.

Arrival fallacy is that empty feeling we may experience after striving for and achieving a challenging goal—like becoming a vet.  It stems from the premise that sometimes, when we set a goal, we create an almost dreamlike idea of what life will be like once the goal is achieved.  Everything will change! I’ll feel fulfilled!   And then, once we reach the finish line, we realize it’s not exactly what we had pictured.  This may set up a cycle of continually searching for external things to fulfill and complete us, leading to increasing self-doubt and a chronic sense of not feeling “good enough.”

In this presentation, we take a look at the beliefs and expectations that contribute to arrival fallacy and discover how the concept of ikigai encourages us to find happiness and look toward the future by reconnecting to what we truly value, what we like to do, and what we are good at. By the end of the seminar, participants will:

  • Define ikigai
  • Describe the arrival fallacy trap
  • Describe a three-step process for identifying your top values
  • Identify moments of “flow”
  • Describe two strategies for maintaining alignment between your values and actions (hint—it’s okay to say No!)