What is Ikigai?
“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. In this book, Garcia has broken down the ten rules that can help anyone find their own ikigai.
“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.”
Ikigai is seen 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 is said to bring fulfillment, happiness and make you live longer.
Find it and pursue it with all you have, anything less is not worth your limited time on planet earth.
Following are the 10 rules of ikigai:
1. Stay active and don’t retire
“Those who give up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life. That’s why it’s so important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping out, and shaping the world around you, even after your“official” professional activity has ended.”
- Body and mind are very smart: The moment you lose your purpose, they too will start retiring.
- Develop a hobby or a side profession that you can continue when you are old. Not for money, but for yourself.
- Your life is as good as over if you retire and watching television becomes the most important activity of your life.
2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
“Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to the quality of life. As the old saying goes, “Walk slowly and you’ll go far.” When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.”
- Good things take time. Just be patient.
- Don’t react immediately to people and situations.
- Think long term. Short term victories might jeopardize long term plans. Do not let short term happiness affect your long term goals.
3. Only eat until you are 80 percent full
“Less is more when it comes to eating for long life, too. According to the 80 percent rule, in order to stay healthier longer, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.”
- Eat local produce.
- Eat fresh.
- Eat 50% raw diet.
4. Surround yourself with good friends
Young people often say “My life has no ikigai”. This is obvious. People who isolate themselves can’t have ikigai – meaning or purpose. Ikigai is only found in interpersonal relationships. – Ishikawa Tatsuzō
Without connections and kinships, we can’t encounter association, closeness or love, nor would we be able to share our delights, expectations, battles, and fears.
- Meet your friends more often. Find ways to celebrate.
- Avoid toxic people and situations.
- Friendship is highly underrated, never neglect your friends or friendship.
5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
“Water moves; it is at its best when it flows fresh and doesn’t stagnate. The body you move through in life needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time. Plus, exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.”
- Exercise regularly. It’s not about weight, it’s about being fit.
- Being fit should be a way of life, rather than a goal.
6. Smile and acknowledge people around you
“A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing – it also helps make friends. It’s good to recognize the things that aren’t so great, but we should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world so full of possibilities.”
- Smile is the most potent tool for happiness.
- Smiling triggers happy signals in your brain and creates a positive vibe for the people around you.
7. Reconnect with nature
“Are you familiar with the Japanese word shinrin-yoku. It translates to ‘forest bathing’ and means connecting with nature using the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. It is a mindfulness practice to help you reconnect with nature so that you can rejuvenate the body and give the mind a moment of peace.”
- Prefer gardens and nature over malls or urban life.
- Spend some time with nature like under a tree or beside a river. Even if it’s just for a while.
8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive
“To your ancestors, to nature, which provides you with the air you breathe and the food you eat, to your friends and family, to everything that brightens your days and makes you feel lucky to be alive. Spend a moment every day giving thanks, and you’ll watch your stockpile of happiness grow.”
- Appreciate people, situations, success as well as failures. They all shape you into something.
- “Thank you” should be your most-used word.
9. Live in the moment
“Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.”
- The past should only be remembered for lessons and happy memories.
- Enjoy the present. It’s the only thing you have control on!
- Do not let the past, neither your future, disturb your present.
“The present moment is all you ever have. There is never a time when your life is not ‘this moment.’ Is this not a fact?” – Eckhart Tolle
10. Follow your ikigai
“There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, as Viktor Frankl says, your mission is to discover it.”
Just follow the 9 rules mentioned above from the book ‘Ikigai‘ for a successful and happy life.
If you have already read this book and are aware of these 10 Ikigai rules then, do let us know your take of it in the comments below.
Also, please share these rules with your friends and family who need to read this to make a change in their lives.
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