IKIGAI – the japanese secret to a long and happy life

Ikigai is a Japanese word that means “a reason for being”. The word derives from iki (meaning life) and kai (meaning the realization of hopes and expectations). A reason to jump out of bed each morning!

Ikigai celebrates the concept of collecting small joys in everyday life that will lead to overall well-being and a fulfilled life. The daily triumphs come in different forms for different people; our passions and talents are unique to each of us. Doing your best and and enjoying it, being useful for others, making a difference in people’s lives is a true essence of ikigai, no matter what activity you embrace. This purpose doesn’t disappear when a person retires.

I read a delightful book called ¨Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life¨ (by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles) that reveals ideas of how to enjoy each day, how to find your ikigai (or create it) and how to apply the secrets of Japan (including the ¨antiaging¨ keys) in a western society.

After investigating the Ogimi village, which is famous for having more centenarians in the world per inhabitant (¨blue zone¨), the authors of this book decided to do some deep research in order to understand the reasons why these people reach 100 years of age. Everything they learned is narrated in this ¨Ikigai¨ book .

The book concludes with 10 rules of ikigai:

  1. Stay active, do not retire.
  2. Take it slow.
  3. Don’t fill your stomach.
  4. Surround yourself with good friends.
  5. Get in shape.
  6. Smile.
  7. Reconnect with nature.
  8. Give thanks.
  9. Live in the moment.
  10. Follow your ikigai.

Japanese culture says that your ikigai lies at the centre of four interconnecting circles:

The ikigai diagram: a philosophical perspective

Each of these elements helps contribute to your happiness, health, finances and intellectual pursuit; all four are crucial for you to find “the reason to wake up in the morning.”  The objective is to identify what you are good at, what gives you pleasure to do and what, in addition, you know that it contributes something to the world.

The ikigai concept can be applied to leaders and organizations, teaching us how to be a powerful source of inspiration and motivation to others.

Consider the following four questions of ikigai:

Mission: What you love?

Vocation: What the world needs?

Profession: What you can get paid for?

Passion: What you are good at?

Héctor García, along with Francesc Miralles, wrote this book from his heart, so his passion and the wise ideas he brought through the ¨Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life¨ book have inspired many people around the world. It is written with both style and elegance.

If you are ready to be, have, do and give more, this book if for you, so I invite you to join this journey.

¨Wherever you go, go with all your heart !¨ (Confucius)

Bonus track for Ikigai concept:

Youtube: Video Ikigai in the Village of Longevity

Spanish version books:

Ikigai: Los secretos de Japón para una vida larga y feliz

Ichigo-ichie: Haz de cada instante algo único (Cuerpo y mente)

El método Ikigai: Despierta tu verdadera pasión y cumple tus propósitos vitales

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