Minimalism Life

From the Japanese words “iki” (life) and “gai” (worth), IKIGAI aims to cultivate one's happiness towards a purposeful life through nurturing plants.
-@ikigai.plants on Instagram

Ikigai is a concept relative to minimalism that is composed of four ideas: what you’re good at, what you love, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for. From a personal point of view, as a plant enthusiast, amateur botanist, and biology instructor, the concept of Ikigai strongly resonates with my interests and profession. There are a number of connections between taking care of houseplants, the plant hobby, and the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai, which seeks to live a life of meaning.

What am I good at?

Ikigai stresses the significance of delighting in tending to something and witnessing it flourish. Contributing to the growth of something bigger than yourself, like tending to a plant, can be a source of purpose. It centers on the concept of nurturing life — being compassionate about plants. Am I good at plants? How do I deal with plants? A modest “maybe,” to be honest. Frankly, it’s because one of my favorite things to do is to learn the names and characteristics of as many plants as I can, and another is to grow plants in my cramped condo, no matter how small the space. Still, we’re humans and fall short of perfection; after all, there’s at least one plant that made it to the plant heaven under our care (a minute of silence for them). What’s important is that we learn from our mistakes to become better plant parents.

What do I love?

Obviously, plants! But how much do I love them? It's more than just about taking care of plants and enjoying their beautiful, lush growth. That’s what matters the most. That’s the essence of being a plant parent in the first place. Digging deeper, the act of tending to houseplants can be a meditative practice, promoting focus and mindfulness in the present moment. Ikigai aligns with this concept, encouraging individuals to be fully engaged in the present activities they find fulfilling. If given a chance while working full time, I would go out and explore forests in the Philippines and conduct plant diversity studies. One of my dreams in life is to discover a new plant species. Soon, it will happen. Trust.

What does the world need?

Of course, more plants! For me, the easiest way to share with the world the beauty of plants in our chaotic, internet-based society is to post them online, where people can appreciate the fantastic foliage one post at a time (but seeing them in person is way better). Sometimes people become curious about plants; our task is to share the things we know about them. Help NPPs (non-plant people) by giving thousands of unsolicited advice and ideas until we convert them into neophytes (pun intended). We can extend our generosity and kindness by propagating them and sharing them with our friends.

That leads us to the last question: Will I get paid for it? Definitely. Are you open-minded? For starters, a plant parent could become an instant entrepreneur by selling propagated plants for a certain price an interested person can afford. By doing so, we are not only able to share the beauty of the plants, but we are also earning a living that could pay some bills or buy more plants. Remember, turn your passion into pesos! Though you need to invest your time and finances, for someone who is very resourceful, those things will never be an issue. That also creates a connection from novice plant keepers to plantrepreneurs to establish market and business-driven opportunities to expand your plant world.

Overall, caring for houseplants and the plant hobby can be a microcosm of the core tenets of Ikigai. It can provide a sense of purpose, promote mindfulness, and foster a connection with nature, all of which contribute to a more meaningful life.