Finding The Connection
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I am 50 today and have been working in our family business of wealth management designed for middle income Indians, Bajaj Capital, since the age of 20.
All through these years, I have always pondered- what would I do, if I weren’t born with this ‘silver spoon’ and had to take my own path, like many other entrepreneurs. I kept toying with semi- baked ideas like being a Creative Head of anadvertising firm, since I have a dire passion for design, creativity and new ideas.
In my mid- thirties, with my mid- life crisis in full bloom, I intensified the search of finding the true me. I joined Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) around that time and formed a forum along with seven other entrepreneurs, working on goals around business, health, family and self-growth.
As I neared the age of 40, I realisedthe need to find mylife purpose or ‘Ikigai’, as it is called in Japanesephilosophy. This ancient wisdom is encoded in every Japanese person’s brain and they would know their Ikigai very instinctively.
My curiosity towards this philosophy took me to many places. I visited Okinawa Island in Japan, which is called a Blue Zone, or a centre of healthy longevity,as it has the largest population of healthy centenarians. There, I met several elderly Japanese people and understood the prime and foremost reason behind their long and happy lives –they all knew their Ikigai, they all knew how ‘to be happy every day’ in their daily pursuit of choice, as per National Geographic magazine research.
I also met Professor Akhihiro Hasegawa from Toyo Eiwa University, Japan, who indeed is the only man I know to have done a PHD in Ikigai.I learnt from him that one’s Ikigai gives a sense of fullness or value of living, countered to a feeling of emptiness despite immeasurable material success.
Ikigai is a deep emotion; anything which doesn’t trigger an emotional response in you can’t be your Ikigai.
This journey of researching Ikigai also took me closer to my own Ikigai, which was the study of human longevity and particularly, the interplay between health, wealth and longevity. I realised that helping people discover their Ikigai gives me true joy, and this became my own Ikigai.
Further, this helped me sharpen the mission statement of our company Bajaj Capital to ‘financial well-being over a lifetime’, as we stay committed to offering financial well-being solutions to investors. Therefore, finding my own Ikigaitriggered a series of actions and helped us refine and align our Corporate Mission and discover our Company Ikigai.
This journey also led me and my wife, Anu to find our common Ikigai in total wellbeing, or how to live your life well with full vitality. This led to the birthing of our total wellbeing platform, OmniLife, which became an outcome of our common passion for wellness.
I consider it as a blessing, to wake up each morning with full energy and vigour to work towards my mission. Commercial success is hence, nothing more than a sweet fruit of this labour of love; the true joy is in the journey of following your purpose itself. The Ikigai Venn diagram has truly come alive in our lives, where our vision, mission, passion and profession have all blended together into one.
I invest time over the weekends in coaching people and companies, helping them to explore their Ikigai, and I find true joy in doing the same.
(This article was first published in the March issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)