Ikigai

It must be around 6 months since I first heard of the concept of Ikigai.  This diagram was the first thing I saw and it drew me particularly because I had been wondering what to do about my job and my business and what my ‘mission’ in life should be.  Apparently Ikigai translates roughly as life’s worth or purpose and is the reason that those who find it get out of bed in the morning.  It is about doing something that you are passionate about and never wanting to stop.

At first looking at this diagram it seemed to me like Ikigai might be pretty difficult to achieve but when I started to break down each area I felt like I might be closer to seeing what it would look like for me.  I haven’t found it yet (still working on that) but since then I have watched a couple of video clips about it and read the book by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.  The book has the strapline “The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” and looks at some of the most elderly people and communities in the world and tries to work out what their secrets are.  I love the subtitle of the first chapter ‘the art of staying young while growing old.’  It’s not that I have anything against growing old – in fact that’s a good thing when you think about the alternative – but I don’t want to feel old inside, I don’t want to stop ‘living’ when I get to a certain age.  As you might have guessed the book says that finding your Ikigai or reason for living is key to this and “whatever you do, don’t retire!”

I don’t imagine that any of the advice on Ikigai will be new to you – it’s all been around for ages in various forms but it’s certainly interesting to see it all put together in this way.  Rather than go into it all I’ll give you some bullet pointed advice from the book and you can decide for yourself if you want to read more.

Secrets to a long and happy life:

  • exercise your brain
  • find a way to reduce stress and anxiety (although a little stress is good for you)
  • too much sitting will age you (you don’t necessarily have to do strenuous exercise just make sure you move)
  • get enough sleep
  • find flow in everything you do and do it passionately
  • eat less (and eat healthy)
  • never stop learning
  • smile and have a good time
  • don’t worry or hurry
  • celebrate and enjoy life
  • give thanks
  • connect with nature
  • nurture your friendships
  • develop resilience
  • live in the moment
  • find your purpose in life

Sounds like heaven doesn’t it?  Obviously there is a lot more detail in the book in particular about finding your purpose, finding flow, resilience and the Ikigai diet and exercise.  So if any of this has piqued your interest you might want to read it.  There are some themes in the book that I don’t agree with as they don’t line up with my faith but the concept itself is totally complimentary as you can probably tell from the list above.

I’m definitely going to be working on finding my Ikigai.

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