The Japanese Path to a Long, Happy Life
Millions of people in Japan have ikigai, meaning a reason to jump out of bed each morning on purpose.
The Japanese island of Okinawa, where
Ikigai or reason for being has its origins on Okinawa the home to the largest population of centenarians in the world.
The Big Q: Could the concept of ikigai contribute to a long life?
Let’s explore your reason for being, shall we
The concept of ikigai is not exclusive to Okinawans, there are a few other places called ‘blue zones’ such as Sardinia and Nicoya Peninsula where that same concept exists among people who are living long lives.
The Big A: Make a list of your values, things you like to do, and things you are good at. And within the lists lies your ikigai.
Studies show that losing one’s purpose can have a detrimental effect.
Joseph Campbell, the American mythologist and author wrote this: “My general formula for my students is “Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and do not be afraid to follow it.”
“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing,” says Hector Garcia, the co-author of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.
He writes,“Just as humans have lusted after objects and money since the dawn of time, other humans have felt dissatisfaction at the relentless pursuit of money and fame and have instead focused on something bigger than their own material wealth. This has over the years been described using many different words and practices, but always hearkening back to the central core of meaningfulness in life.”
So, we now see ikigai as the convergence of four primary elements:
- What you love (your passion)
- What the world needs (your mission)
- What you are good at (your vocation)
- What you can get paid for (your profession)
Discovering your own ikigai will bring fulfilment, happiness and make you live longer.
Now, ask yourself the these 4 Questions:
- What do I love?
- What am I good at?
- What can I be paid for now, or something that could transform into my future livelyhood?
- What does the world need?
In their book Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles break down the 10 rules that can help anyone find their personal ikigai.
- Stay active and do not retire
- Leave urgency behind, take your time
- Only eat until you are 80% full
- Surround yourself with good friends, and good people
- Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
- Smile and acknowledge people around you
- Reconnect with Nature, get grounded
- Give thanks to anything that brightens the day and makes you feel alive.
- Live in the Eternal moment, the Now.
- Follow your ikigai
Unlock your ikigai
Follow your curiosity.
Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, make it happen. The world needs is people who have come alive.
The problem for millions of people is that they stop being curious about new experiences as they assume responsiblities and build routines.
Their sense of wonder starts to escape them.
Change that, looking for meaning and fulfillment in what you do every day.
Albert Einstein encourages us to pursue our curiosities.
He famously said: “Do not think about why you question, simply don’t stop questioning. Don’t worry about what you can’t answer, and don’t try to explain what you can’t know. Curiosity is its own reason. Aren’t you in awe when you contemplate the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure behind reality? And this is the miracle of the human mind — to use its constructions, concepts, and formulas as tools to explain what man sees, feels and touches. Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity.”
We are born curious.
Our insatiable drive to learn, invent, explore, and study deserves to have the same status as every other drive in our lives.
Fulfillment is fast becoming the Key priority for most of us.
Millions of people still struggle to find what they are meant to do, what excites them, what makes them lose the sense of time, what brings out the best in them. Curiosity is Key
Ask yourself this: What is the simple thing you could do or be today that would be an expression of your ikigai?
Find it and pursue it with all you have, anything less is not worth your limited time on Earth.
“Decide on a course of action, make the effort, follow your heart, it will happen, know this: Resiliency, optimism and strong intentions are significant contributors to success and a long life.” PE
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively