Ikigai can describe having a sense of purpose in life, as well as being motivated. Psychologist Michiko Kumano describes Ikigai as eudaimonic well-being, as it “entails actions of devoting oneself to pursuits one enjoys and is associated with feelings of accomplishment and fulfilment”.The word ikigai is also used to describe the inner self of an individual, and a mental state in which the individual feels at ease. Activities that allow one to feel ikigai are not forced on an individual; they are perceived as being spontaneous and undertaken willingly.
National Geographic reporter Dan Buettner suggested ikigai may be one of the reasons for the longevity of the people of Okinawa. According to Buettner, Okinawans have less desire to retire, as people continue to do their favourite job as long as they remain healthy. Moai, the close-knit friend group is considered an important reason for the people of Okinawa to live long.