The origin of the word ikigai goes back to the Heian period (794 to 1185). “Gai comes from the word kai (“shell” in Japanese) which were deemed highly valuable, and from there ikigai derived as a word that means value in living.” ikigai is similar to “happiness” but has a subtle difference in its nuance. Ikigai is what allows you to look forward to the future even if you’re miserable right now. One can believe the sum of small joys in everyday life results in more fulfilling life as a whole. Ikigai is about feeling your work makes a difference in people’s lives.