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Home » How to Ikigai: Tim Tamashiro (Full Transcript)

How to Ikigai: Tim Tamashiro (Full Transcript)

Here is the transcript and summary of Tim Tamashiro’s talk titled “How to Ikigai” at TEDxYYC conference. In this TEDx talk, Canadian jazz singer and radio broadcaster Tim Tamashiro provides insightful guidance on finding and embracing one’s life purpose, a concept central to the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai.

Listen to the audio version here:


Hi, everybody. How enthusiastic are we today? Yeah. No indifference in this crowd, that’s for sure. That’s what I like to see.

Today, I want to tell you about an amazing word, and it’s that word right there. That word, first thing you have to learn is how to pronounce it. It’s pronounced ee-kee-guy. You lift your cheeks like you’re smiling. It’s ee-kee-guy. Say it with me. Ee-kee-guy. You got it. That’s right. It’s not pronounced ee-kee-guy. If I was wearing a lime green fur Speedo, that would be an ee-kee-guy.

This is Ikigai. And the most wonderful thing about this word is that, first off, it’s a good-looking word. But secondly, this word is really like a treasure map. And this treasure map can help you find your way to finding wonderful things about yourself that you can share with the world, and the world will say, thank you for it.

So let me tell you all about it. But first, I have to warn you, it takes work. Now, I had a job once upon a time, about this time last year. Had a radio host job at CBC Radio 2. It was wonderful. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was so good. However, I quit my job.

I quit my job so I could focus on my work instead. So let’s just clarify that. A job, in this context, is something that you do as a regular form of employment. It’s what you get, you know, money to do, so you can pay for your house and for your food and things like that.

Work — on the other hand, work is something that you do in order to achieve a result. Something like a product, or maybe even something like a purpose, like maybe like a more meaningful you. Sounds good, doesn’t it? So this last year, my work focused on anything that I could do that was exciting, that was interesting to me.

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