Hear from Reem Al Najjar, a LearningPlanet Youth Fellow and a participant in the first iteration of LearningPlanet’s Ikigai+ Programme. This is a brand-new purpose development programme for gamechangers to discover purpose, align it with passions and skills, and put it into action in corresponding communities.

Why did you participate in the Ikigai+ programme?

I decided to join the programme because I was curious about unlocking a deeper understanding of myself and my life’s purpose. The concept of Ikigai, with its emphasis on aligning passion, mission, vocation, and profession, intrigued me. I wanted to explore the intersection of what I love, what I’m good at, what the world needs, and what I can be rewarded for.

What was your experience like?

Participating in the Ikigai+ programme was a transformative journey. The structured approach provided a clear roadmap to explore and align my passions and strengths. Engaging in the meetings allowed me to delve deep into understanding the intersections of what I love, what I excel at, what the world needs, and what I can be rewarded for. The result? Feeling empowered with a profound sense of direction and purpose.

The emphasis on sharing experiences resonated with me. As such, I wasn’t only getting to know myself better, but I was also gaining insights into the journeys and perspectives of others. This collective understanding enhanced my own self-awareness and also created a sense of unity and a shared purpose with others. It made the entire experience more meaningful and fulfilling. We were not just individuals going through a programme, but a community sharing and learning from each other.

What did you learn about yourself or others?

Through Ikigai+, I discovered the beauty of embracing constant change within myself. I realised that personal growth is a dynamic, ongoing process. Moreover, I understood that I should continually seek to discover and understand myself, acknowledging that I evolve daily.

Discovering myself was only one part of the journey. The second part involved the profound connection I felt with the people who participated in the program. Despite our diverse backgrounds, we found fundamental similarities. We opened up to each other, sharing deeply personal stories that shaped us into the individuals we are today.

I heard many inspiring stories from these young changemakers in their communities that resonated deeply with what it means to be human. It was a powerful reminder that all actions, no matter how small, can make a difference and that at our core, we all share common threads that bind us together on our individual journeys of self-discovery. The programme evolved into a source of inspiration, with meetings driving my creativity and enriching my personal and professional life through shared experiences.

How do you see your future?

More than anything, when I envision my future, I first envision a feeling. That feeling is one of peace and calm. Currently, at my age, I always feel I’m in a rush, busy and disconnected. I feel that the world is moving much faster than I am and If I don’t keep running, I’m gonna miss on a lot. 

When I think of what I want my future to look like, I envision a much more peaceful, calm, and relaxed version of myself. I envision a future that involves a continuous pursuit of my personal and professional growth, seeking opportunities that will allow me to be creative and make a meaningful impact. I want to continue to embrace change and remain open to new experiences. 

Meet Reem Al Najjar

Hey there! My name is Reem, which is Arabic for gazelle, embodying grace and curiosity. I find joy in life’s simple pleasures and cherish meaningful connections with friends and family. Empathy is my compass, prompting me to prioritize the well-being of others. I’m most alive in creative spaces where I can push boundaries and think beyond the ordinary. My goal is to explore new horizons, break free from constraints, and make a positive impact. 

Discover Reem’s project here, and learn more about the Ikigai+ programme here.