I’d argue that content curation is one of the most important pursuits someone could take on in today’s online scenario. Especially in the upcoming Curator Economy, the role of content curators in their community is vital: without it, the internet would be in complete disarray.
If you’re a content curator — or a creator who curates content — you may think you’re doing a good deed by providing relevant pieces to the audience you serve. When, in reality, you’re doing something much bigger than simply facilitating people’s browsing experience. Because of you, the people who are part of your audience get closer and closer to reaching their ikigai.
(I’ll explain what that term means in a moment.)
Even though millions of them don’t make a single penny from it, curators provide us with the finest, most well-researched content available on several subjects. They plunge into the good, the bad, and the ugly, and emerge with gold — so we don’t have to do any of the scavengings. As a desirable bonus, they enrich that content with insights we’d otherwise get only through life experience.
What’s more, the more curators we have and the more we value them, the more people will find their own Ikigai.
*Iki *means life. *Gai *comes from the suffix kai, meaning the value of something. Together, these words mean “reason for living”, or more literally, “the value of living.”
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that signifies the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.
Ikigai is something much bigger than yourself. It’s the reason why your alarm rings at 6 AM every morning, and it’s also the reason why you get up. Because you *know *that what you’ll be doing from that moment on is not only your life’s purpose, but it will bring the community you serve closer to *their *life’s purpose, as well.
Answer truly: do you think people can find value in life if they’re not doing what they love?
In my view, no one can find value in living if they don’t love what they do.
Besides, if what they do isn’t something the world needs and will thank them for, it’ll be hard for them to get recognition for it.
Consequently, if they don’t get recognition for it, they won’t love what they do…and so it goes. It’s a cycle. That’s why finding one’s reason for living is, most of the time, a lifelong journey.
However, with the right people to guide the way, the path toward one’s ikigai can be much, much shorter.
The concept of ikigai dates back to the Heian period (794 to 1185), and its powerful wisdom has survived the tough test of time.
Typically, the concept is represented as follows:
Nicholas Kemp from The Ikigai Tribe’s Medium was disappointed to find that the concept is passed around wellness bloggers as a simple four-step formula, rather than a profound concept that requires deep understanding of one’s role within a community.
Still, the above map definitely has its value, somehow. Isn’t the concept a lot easier to grasp that way? That’s fine. Life-changing concepts should be passed around and represented in a more digestible manner — but their true meaning should never be lost in the process.
Here’s a brief explanation of each section and intersection, and why they should matter to you.
**What you love: **This is the intersection of your **mission **and your passion. While your passion is a cause you’re truly enthusiastic about, your mission is a duty. Not just any duty, but one you have a deep interest in.
**What you’re good at: **This one refers to the junction of both your **passion **and profession. Essentially, it means you should be passionate about your role.
**What the world needs: **Your role should positively impact the community you’re a part of. Therefore, your **mission **must also be a **vocation **— a *calling. *Deep down, you know you’re meant to be doing this. Not just for yourself, but for the community you serve.
**What can be paid for: **This is where a lot of people’s ikigai become unbalanced. A lot of times, essential pursuits aren’t properly compensated. When someone’s **profession **and **vocation **unite, those should also be a source of income. Humans can’t live on purpose alone, or at least they shouldn’t.
**What you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what can be paid for: **Your ikigai.
The Curator Economy can be a great example of finding one’s ikigai. For a lot of curators, this occupation sits right in the middle of what they love, what they’re good at, and what the world needs.
Yet, a lot of curators still can’t make a living off their careers. The reason why some people are still on their way to find their ikigai is because one piece of the puzzle is missing.
That doesn’t mean it can’t be found.
Here’s how a curator’s career could result in their ikigai:
It’s easy to understand why people love curating useful information for both themselves and other people. It makes life so much simpler for everyone involved.
Zig Ziglar once said: *“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” *By focusing on what matters and summarizing key concepts in their own words, content curators will constantly strengthen their knowledge on topics of interest. The more information they have to explore in their field, the smarter they’ll get.
Plus, they’ll always be discovering new authors, new insights, and maybe even sparking new ideas. Their audience, in turn, will always have access to trustworthy sources to further hone their skills.
I’ve said it multiple times and I’ll say it again: anyone can be a curator. Though a good curator needs a good skillset, anyone can pick and choose. The skillset can be developed by knowledge from a variety of books, films, quotes, and meaningful interactions throughout their lives.
The bigger the skillset, the easier it is for curators (or any professional, for that matter) to make effortless connections with other subjects. Plus, the easier it is for them to provide succinct and detailed explanations alike about their learning interests. After all, according to Einstein, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.”
It’s 2022. We’re surrounded by TikToks, fake news, and unhelpful articles. Buried somewhere under all of that noise is actually valuable information, which we’re unlikely to find on our own.
Even though social engines’ democratization of access can go a long way, it can only do so much. Someone must do the manual work of filtering those millions of results emerging from a single search.
Will that be us? Not if we’re too busy looking the wrong way. It’s only possible for us to look the right way if like-minded people, preferably people who have been where we are, point us in the right direction.
Those people are content curators.
Their role within a community is to simplify people’s lives by front-loading the best sources of knowledge, based on common interest. Their goal is to assist the community with whatever they’re looking for at the moment, be it satisfying a curiosity or understanding a complicated definition.
We all need this type of assistance, and some of us wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for it.
For the upcoming Curator Economy to flourish, it needs more contributors. Not just contributors, but contributors who feel valued and are well-compensated for what they do. Just imagine how much more organized the mayhem of online information would be if the number of great curators increased.
Now, it’s time to get a bit realistic. Though this may sound like your parents lecturing you on choosing the right career, bear with me. This is important.
Unfortunately, being good at the thing you love and that the community thanks you for…those things won’t always pay your bills. That’s just how life is. Yes, it’s a vocation, and yes, it’s something you’re passionate about. But, like I said, you aren’t meant to live on those things alone.
Content curation *could *be the ikigai for so many people, if only they could be financially independent through it. As content curation is much easier than creation — and as curation itself can be seen as creation — it would be awesome if people could make enough money to support themselves through it.
That’s not to say people are unable to make money from curation. It’s possible, and it’s being done every single day. People create and sell online courses, which is a type of content curation. They create and sell ebooks — another type of content curation.
See how creation and curation walk hand-in-hand in those cases? That may be an issue for some people, as not everyone is a content creator.
Now, the question becomes: are people able to monetize their content curation process while keeping creation to a minimum?
The answer is yes. The folks at The Browser are doing it well. Essentially, their job is to read thousands of articles a day, so as to provide their subscribers with five finely curated articles every single day.
By seeing the word “subscriber”, you’ve probably realized that they’re monetizing their service. They are. And they have over 75,000 curious readers checking their inboxes daily.
That is to say: yes, you can definitely monetize content curation alone. If only more people knew the massive impact this career has on everyone’s lives, a lot of curators would have found their ikigai by now.
I did find mine, but not before going through some of the most difficult moments in my life.
After being kicked out of my first job as a startup co-founder and nearly dying at the age of 20, I had an awakening: life is too short and unpredictable not to leave something meaningful behind. Not just for me, but something everyone around me could benefit from.
(By the way, I tell my whole story in this article, in case you’re interested.)
After reading over 100 books written by some of the greatest minds in history, I’ve decided to build Glasp, a Social Web Highlighter, based on my ikigai: “Creating a system that allows everyone to share and develop their learnings as their legacy in a natural way”.
This, I’m sure, is my purpose in life.
We have a limited time in this world. Why waste it going through the rough path when we could learn from the people who have been where we are? Why, if there’s a way to navigate this journey more easily? I wouldn’t think twice about it.
I’ll leave you with this question: have you found your value of living? Or are you still on your path to find it?
See you next time,