[LI] 3- & 4-circle “purpose” Venns (2 items)

Two items posted to LinkedIn, concerning the 4-circle Venn, popularized by association with the Japanese “ikigai” concept, and 3-circle Venns, perhaps the first of which was dubbed the “hedgehog.”

7 lessons about finding the work you were meant to do,” by Kate Torgovnick May, Ideas.TED.com, 29 April 2016 (posted 11 January 2020)

A sub-genre of career advice articles uses Venn diagrams intended to illustrate how one can combine different connections with kinds of work and find an ideal job or career. These usually have 3 or 4 circles. The 4-circle one was popularized by association with the Japanese “ikigai” concept – work you love, work you’re good at, work the world needs, & work you can get paid to do.

Here’s an example of a 3-circle diagram. In this version, accompanying an article on Dave Isay’s 7 “lessons” about “finding one’s calling,” being paid is not one of the circles, so apparently assumed in the background (although this consideration emerges in the 7th lesson).

Comparing the titles of the 3 circles here with the 3 remaining circles in the ikigai Venn: “Feeling appreciated” seems to me to be one important dimensions of “work you love” (but not the only one); “Doing something you’re good at” is the same as its counterpart in the ikigai diagram; and I read “Making people’s lives better” as essentially the same as “work the world needs.” cc Kate Torgovnick


The Truth about Ikigai: Definitions, Diagrams & Myths about the Japanese Life Purpose,” by Kyle Kowalski, Sloww.co, n.d. (posted 18 January 2020)

For those interested in Venn diagrams illustrating how one can combine different connections with work and find “purpose” in life & career, Kyle Kowalski has a thoughtful & informative discussion of two popular approaches. These are: a 4-circle Venn is often associated with the Japanese concept of “Ikigai”; and a 3-circle Venn dubbed the “hedgehog” by Jim Collins (in 2001; the reference is from Isaiah Berlin’s “The Hedgehog and the Fox”).

Two quick notes:

    • There’s another early 4-circle version, possibly the earliest, by a former kindergarten teacher, Dorothy Shapland (2011). She has “bliss” in the central overlap.
    • There have been many variants to the 3-circle version, depending on what 3 factors are chosen.


Other blogs > LinkedIn > LinkedIn articles & posts, 2020

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