What is ikigai & meaning of it?
Have you ever wondered what is ikigai? Ikigai, which translates to “reason for being,” is a Japanese concept. Japanese words for “life” and “value” are “iki” and “gai,” respectively. Your ikigai is your true self, your happiness. It’s what makes you happy and motivates you to get out of bed each morning.
It’s understandable why western culture has adopted it as a means of finding a fulfilling career. It’s important to keep in mind that traditional Japanese philosophy is all about finding your bliss, while westerners have used ikigai as a way to find your dream job.
According to the Westernized version of ikigai, you’ve found your dream job if it combines the following four characteristics:
- A thing you love
- What you excel at
- What you are worth money for
- What the planet requires
Why is ikigai so crucial?
Women can expect to live 88.09 years on average in Japan, while men can expect to live 81.91 years on average. While it’s true that diet has an impact, many Japanese people think ikigai plays a significant role in their longevity and quality of life. Knowing your ikigai will not only help you live a longer and happier life, but it will also:
- Create your ideal work environment.
- Establishing strong social ties at work and striking a healthy work-life balance
- Go after your career goals.
- Having fun at work
Knowing and comprehending your ikigai will put you in alignment with the work you’ve always wanted to do and the work the world needs you to do.
How to find happiness with ikigai
Do you have the goal of living a very long life? How about we go with a joyful one? What if it were possible to get both of them? Finding joy and purpose in one’s life daily is the key to a long and healthy life. The majority of us consider these ideals to be nothing more than pipe dreams, which only a select group of people ever realize.
On the other hand, the Japanese people have been practicing ikigai, which translates to “reason to live,” for centuries. They can enjoy happier and longer lives as a result. Because of this practice, Japan is considered to be one of the world’s five Blue Zones, which are regions with the longest life expectancy.
There are a lot of people who get caught up in the never-ending pressure to perform everything in a more efficient, effective, and laborious manner. Discovering your ikigai, on the other hand, will enable you to take life more slowly and thoroughly enjoy it. Discovering the meaning behind your existence has been shown to increase longevity.
The author of “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life,” Hector Puigcerver, is a native European who moved to Japan in 2004 and became enamored with Japanese culture. His book is titled “The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.” In this book, he explains how we can make better use of ikigai to improve our lives.
These are the three most important things I’ve learned from his work:
- To live a long and happy life, having a reason to get up in the morning is one of the most important factors.
- If you are interested in living a long life, it is in your best interest to heed the guidance of some of the oldest people in the world.
- Make sure that you get enough exercise so that you can enjoy good health throughout your entire life
How to find your ikigai
Are you prepared to discover how to live a longer, healthier, and more joyful life? Let’s go!
Lesson 1: If you want to be happy and live longer, the first thing you need to do is find your ikigai, which is a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Okinawa, which is located in Japan, is home to some of the people who have lived the longest out of anywhere in the world. Their ikigai is what keeps them going. The term is composed of two characters: ‘iki,’ which translates to “life,” and ‘gai,’ which stands for value. Asking yourself these four fundamental questions can help you find your ikigai in no time at all:
- What are some of your greatest assets? Consider the things that you do better than everyone else.
- What exactly does the world require? Imagine something that you believe is missing from the world.
- Where do your interests and energies lie? Imagine the things that you are capable of doing nonstop for an entire day.
- How are you going to put food on the table? You have to sell your work to support yourself, but how can you do that?
Finding your ikigai may take you only a short amount of time, but it may also take you a very long time. On the other hand, once you do, you might conclude that you don’t need or want to retire ever again. A higher risk for a variety of health issues is associated with retirement, even though this concept was invented by the Germans. Finding your ikigai is the best way to ensure that you will never have to retire and, as a result, prevent your health from deteriorating more quickly as you get older.
However, your ikigai does not have to be associated with the work that you do. Your purpose could originate from something like a hobby or the connections you have with members of your family. Find whatever it is that gets you out of bed in the morning and make it a point to stick with it no matter what.
Despite being forced into retirement, Okinawans continue to remain active in their communities and with their hobbies, which helps them live longer. Because of their strong sense of purpose and high level of physical activity, the elderly people of Okinawa have been found to have significantly lower rates of dementia and heart disease, according to research.
Lesson 2: Okinawan elders are well-versed in matters of health, and if we want to live as long as they do, we should take their recommendations to heart.
Because of their extensive life experiences, elderly people have a wealth of knowledge and insight to impart to the younger generations. Those of us who are younger may sometimes act as if we are aware of everything, but we really ought to pick up a thing or two about life from those who came before us.
Okinawans who have lived to be centenarians have imparted the wisdom to worry as little as possible. It is helpful to acknowledge that you do not need to have everything figured out right away, to take your time, and to slow down. There is a wide range of harmful effects that anxiety has on one’s physical health.
Instead of being preoccupied with worries about the future, you should give your full attention to appreciating the good things that are already in your life. Connecting with anyone and everyone in your immediate environment, including strangers, is a great way to accomplish this goal. Old-timers from Okinawa recommend always keeping a friendly smile on your face and keeping an open heart toward the people you meet.
Focus on enjoying life for what you have, instead of being afraid of what might go wrong. You can increase the number of friendships you have throughout your life by being friendly. The elders of Okinawa strongly encourage keeping those relationships as well. When you become a grandparent, you may find that replacing some of your worries with time spent with friends encourages your grandchildren to pay more frequent visits.
Eating healthily, rising early, and making sure you get enough exercise throughout the day are all recommendations made by Japanese centenarians.
Lesson 3: One of the most important things you can do to maintain your health is to keep moving, even if it’s just a little bit here and there throughout the day.
Okinawans believe that it is not always necessary to participate in athletics or to go for long runs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Finding easy and consistent ways to move more throughout the day is the key to a longer life and better health.
As a result of the possibility that intensity will discourage consistency, Okinawans aim for simplicity in their forms of exercise. A simple way for them to keep moving around frequently is to do things like go for a walk around the neighborhood, spend the day in the garden, or sing karaoke.
Since its beginning, the Japanese radio Programme Radio Taiso has encouraged Okinawans to lead healthier lifestyles and get more exercise. Many people in Japan tune in to the station to hear instructions on how to exercise properly.
Even though most people watch it on their computers or television these days, the show still airs continuously throughout the day in Japan. Radio Taiso is a popular form of exercise in Japan because it consists of only a few basic moves, such as lifting one’s arms above one’s head and then lowering them back down again.
Regardless of whether you find an exercise program similar to that or not, you should always make time in your day to move around in a way that is slow and steady. You can read exhaustive article on finding you ikigai here
Ikigai is an incredible idea that can be of use to a lot of different people. If you are unhappy in your current job, want to live longer, or just want a deeper level of happiness and meaning in your life, discovering your “reason to live” will help you achieve all of these goals and more.
The book Ikigai appears to focus on how to live a long life rather than the concept of ikigai itself; however, further research into the subject reveals that there are numerous books on the subject that can be read in greater depth. I can’t wait to get started and figure out how to extend my working life so that I can be happier and healthier.