Does this word ring a bell? Yes its also one of the most popular google search terms.
Ikigai pronounced as ee-key-guy is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.”
When you combine both terms it means that which gives worth to your life or meaning to your life or the purpose of your life.
There is a similar French term that goes as ‘raison d’etre’ or the ‘reason for being’. Though the concept has been there for years, it is after the release of the book it garnered worldwide audience.
The concept ‘Ikigai’ evolved from the basic health and wellness principles of the Japanese traditional medicine. The basic principle of which is that the physical well-being is predominantly dependent on the mental-emotional health and sense of purpose in life.
The devotion or activities that one enjoys brings in a sense of well-being and fulfillment which is called ‘Ikigai’. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy stresses on pursuing or taking up activities that give enjoyment, a sense of mastery that helps in alleviating the disorder of depression. It is known that Ikigai resonates the same.
The Ikigai diagram well illustrates the concept as a purpose in life that has both personal and social dimensions. It has spheres which overlap the below which make it easier to understand and implement the concept in daily life.
- What you love
- What you are good at
- What the world needs
- What you can get paid for
Here I list down my takeaways from the book
Finding the Ikigai
Ikigai is the reason to jump out from bed every morning for the Japanese. As straight forward as it is, it is the very reason that you wake up for the new day ahead. Finding it out and finding the right one can make a lot of difference. Waking up with positive thoughts will definitely guarantee a good day. The people at Okinawa have their backyard gardens, community gatherings and little walk that they look forward to during each day. The reason you wake up needn’t be to change the world at one go.
Right amount of sleep
There are certain factors that help you age comparatively slower than normal. Sleep is one of the most important factors. As we age the functionalities of our body slow and complications pop up, it is inevitable. To slow the process down we take steps to reduce stress and eat healthy meals but not to forget the scientifically proven tool for anti-ageing is sleep itself. Melatonin that secrets when we sleep is one of the most powerful anti oxidant that has various benefits. Slowing down the risk factor for Alzheimer, prevention of cancer, osteoporosis, heart problems and improving immunity are some to name a few. So the secret to longevity is within us.
Love for the imperfect or wabi sabi as they call it can be explained with a classic example in the Japanese culture the level of attention given to making tea rather I’d put it as the art of making tea.
Handling with slowness and precision makes tea making a beautiful craft. Taking it at a slow pace and with complete focus on the task is the principle here. This can be applied to any task you do or you see someone to do.
Constant search for beauty in imperfection and the willingness to accept the life’s natural cycle is wabi-sabi. We as people and the life in itself is imperfect, incomplete and not permanent.
Find that something that never makes you to retire. Something that wants you to be kept living has to found. Ensure that your brain and your body is active.
“Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.”
Live in the present or Ichi-go ichi-e
Most of us are too engrossed thinking about the past or worried about the future. We need to slow down the pace and learn to enjoy the present. The present has the moments that matter and they need to be enjoyed.
We discover the meaning of life and we do not create it.
Work really hard but let that be your Ikigai. Hardworking doesn’t mean you have to be too serious and stressed. The effort that you put in has to matter and not the result. So enjoy the process.
80% rule or hara hachi bu
Easiest and the effective rule . As you are eating when you feel almost full, stop eating. So when you are two-thirds full . Eating this way limits the calorie intake thereby leading to less IGF-1 in body as it plays a huge role in ageing. If you are wondering what IGF-1 is its insulin like growth factor 1.
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This post is part of Blogchatter’s half marathon.
14 Replies to “Lessons from Ikigai”
Nice post. will buy and read the book soon.
After reading this post I realised I have been following Ikigai for the past few months, but did not know thats what it is. Thanks for writing this.
Th best thing about Ikigai is it is not restricted to any particular age group. Even school kids (little old) can also read it. It is a great book for us for sure. Simple lessons weaved into beautiful words.
During this fast paced and stressful like ikigai and the lessons you have shared here seems so relevant. indeed, we all need to learn to slow down and enjoy the present moment.
I got this book.a couple of days back and so eager to finish it. I fell for the review of this book. Can wait yo experience it all
I really wanted to know abut this book before making a purchase. Probably the most Instagrammable book, as every other post on social media has this book in the frame. Japanese and hard working traditional folks. Would love to get this book now, thanks for reviewing it.
I have to read this too. I had studied about Japanese culture in my university days and was left stunned to find out how simple and disciplined their way of life is.
Though I’ve not read this book despite being such a hit is simply coz it’s not my genre, I realized thankfully that I’ve been following some of the things that have been shared in the book.
This is certainly my next book. I have heard of it so much that I cant wait to read it. I hardly see people slowing down and enjoying the present time in hand hope this book helps its reader to realise the power of this moment.
Such a unique and beautiful book on lives lessons. I haven’t read it personally but have heard a lot about this one. Would love to grab a copy and immerse myself in the lives lesson.
I first learned the principle of Ikigai when I was working in Japan in 2009 and since than I have practiced them religiously glad you picked it up
Wabi sabi is an interesting concept and I believe in it too. This book is a good read and if we follow it’s principles our life will certainly benefit.
Loved knowing the concept of Wabi Sabi. The other principles too sounds good, shall definitely grab a copy of the book.
This book is one of the inspiring books for me. The best thing about this book is kids can also read it. And I had gifted this book to my daughter.