Mission: the Intersection of What You Love and What the World Needs

Mission: the Intersection of What You Love and What the World Needs

The word mission can hold a variety of different meanings depending on its context. It can have personal, political, or business connotations, to name a few. Within the context of Ikigai, however, it means the intersection of what you love and what the world needs. Keep in mind that mission is only the second of the four elements that make up one’s Ikigai—one’s reason for being. And this element is what I will explore here.


Source: Toronto Star

One part of the Ikigai meaning of mission is “love.” The things we love say a lot about us as individuals. Personally, I revel in process, good stories, and various types of improvement. If left to my own devices, I can be found working on finding a better way to do something, reading a good fantasy book, or playing a game with a good storyline. Obviously, there are other things I enjoy, but for the sake of this post we will keep it simple! The activities and experiences that we love give us energy and fulfill us. They help make life on this spinning rock more enjoyable and worthwhile, regardless of whether they better the rest of the world or not. In and of themselves, they are good.

Now, how does love factor into mission? Love provides fuel for the other half of mission: “what the world needs.” Before you feel tempted to get all up in arms about service and “but what has the world done for me lately?” let’s take a look at the meaning behind the idea. What the world needs can be just about anything: a product, a service, or even a simple kindness. It doesn’t have to be servitude or the grand things we always hear about on the news. A phrase comes to mind: “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” When we talk about what the world needs, it does not need to be earth-shattering; it can be as simple as helping a single person.

Combining love and “what the world needs” to create a mission is an important facet to the jewel of Ikigai. In the diagram and article linked above, the intersection of mission and passion is noted with the phrase “delight and fullness, but no wealth.” Obviously, wealth plays a big part in most people’s happiness and fulfillment because it allows us to afford to do more, with less effort. We will cover the monetary piece in later posts, along with the other half of the diagram. As you may realize, each of these parts have their own balance of elements that in turn balance the other pieces of the Ikigai puzzle.

What do you love? What do you think the world needs? What thoughts do you have on the concept of mission? We here at Protagonist would love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a line at!

Posted by Curious in Reflections, 0 comments
Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Hey, everyone!

It’s that season again; you may have already seen the ads on TV and radio. It’s engagement season! This might come as a shocker, but I loathe those ads. Yes, I am happily engaged at the moment, but that is not why I dislike these ads. To me, they put the focus on the wrong kind of love.

Back in the day, I was not always the happiest of people. I had just been dumped by my boyfriend, with whom I’d had a very serious relationship, and the only other person I cared about lived across the country. I wanted more than anything to be with the guy across the country; he was my best friend, and we talked all day, every day. He meant the world to me. But after a while, the distance became too much and he shut me out.

Around the same time, my parents began to put more and more pressure on me about what I should do with my future. With no plans to attend college and no summer plans, I began to doubt myself. I often felt that I could never live up to my parents’ standards. I also was trying to forget about the boy back home by trying to date. To little surprise to me, it just didn’t work. I constantly felt like the backup plan or the one who came in second.

Between not meeting my parents’ expectations and the constant rejections I received, my self-worth became basically non-existent. I truly believed I would never be good enough for anyone, not even on a miniscule level. These emotions and poisoning thoughts led to a much deeper part of my depression.  Granted, I feel it is important to say that I obviously worked through all of these issues and am much better now. However, I won’t lie—it took me until about two years ago to truly accept myself and to love myself.

I want to express the importance of really loving yourself, and to help you understand and feel that you’re not alone in feeling like it may take you a while. The best, most honest way I can advise on how to reach that level is by starting small. Keep a journal and remind yourself of one thing you do love about yourself, or even just like. Today we live in such a crazy world where everyone is constantly judged and being judged, and it is hard to find and reflect on the positive. Every time I found myself thinking or saying anything negative about myself I would try and be like; “But I guess I do like this.” It began there.

After years of doing this, I finally was able to start sticking up for myself and accepting that I am not perfect, but I am imperfectly perfect in my own way, as we all are. I often draw on the fact that I have survived the darkest of my days and sure, a day might seem bad and get me down, but not only have I been through worse, but tomorrow is another day. Every morning is a re-do for a bad day.

I finally arrived at my peak love for myself a few years ago while doing some personal reflection in the desert. I realized that if I’m not happy with a situation, I have the power to change it. Not only do I have that power—I deserve the change! It was a moment of epiphany for me. I was filled with such a wave of relief. I could suddenly see my future for the first time, and I was happy with whatever was in store. I truly knew that I deserved to be happy, and I actually felt that I loved myself.

Because of these new feelings, I was able to change so much in my life. Because I am able to encourage myself, I have more confidence. When I finally got through to this stage in my life, I felt like everything changed for the better. Loving yourself is often hard; we are our own worst critics. However, once you accept and learn to love yourself, your entire perspective on things changes for the better.  

I like to tell people to take a day and just do some reflection on yourself and your life—really take the time to think and process. Sometimes I feel like we don’t allow ourselves to do that, and that is a roadblock on the path to loving ourselves. As cliché as it may sound, it really is true that to love others, we must first love ourselves; personally, I used to hate that expression, but I can now see the truth in it. No one wants to be around someone who constantly turns down compliments, even the little ones, and who always has a negative outlook. They carry a sort of dark cloud around them and no one wants to be engulfed in that darkness. You may not notice your cloud because you’re so accustomed to it, but it affects the other person any relationship, and at times can make them doubt themselves. You can apologize and tell them, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but that still doesn’t eliminate the problem. Eventually the two people lose interest in pursuing the relationship. Or the one trying gives up because they simply grow tired of putting all the energy towards what they might call a lost cause. It’s a heartbreaking experience for each party involved and doesn’t help either person’s well-being.

All this is to say that no matter what the engagement ads tell us, loving yourself is the most important thing you can do. Take the time to practice self-love. The chain reaction that follows is a blessing we all deserve to experience!

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, Reflections, 0 comments