In their book ‘Ikigai, The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’, the authors Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles describe the concept of Ikigai in a very thorough fashion. Published in 2016 by Penguine Books, this book was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and has sold more than 1.5 million copies.
The concept of Ikigai
Feeling Ikigai, as described in Japanese, usually means the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that follows when people pursue their passions.
Literal meaning is ‘a reason for being’ – something like ‘a reason for being alive; something that makes life worth living. More generally, it may refer to something that brings pleasure or fulfilment.
Our Ikigai is hidden deep inside each of us, and finding it requires a patient search. We do not create the meaning for our life, as Sartre claimed— we discover it. Each one of us has a unique reason for being, which can be adjusted or transformed many times over the years.
Our intuition and curiosity are very powerful internal compasses to help us connect with our Ikigai. Follow those things you enjoy, and get away from or change those you dislike. Be led by your curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness. It does not need to be a big things: we might find meaning in being good parents or in helping our neighbors.
The ten rules of Ikigai
1. Stay active; do not retire. Those who give up the things they love doing (and do well) lose their purpose in life.
2. Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life.
3. Do not fill your stomach. 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.
4. Surround yourself with good friends.
5. Get in shape – The body needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time. In addition, exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.
6. Smile. A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing—it also helps make friends.
7. Reconnect with nature
8. Be thankful to everything that brightens your days and makes you feel lucky to be alive.
9. Live in the moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it.
10. Follow your Ikigai. There is 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, your mission is to discover it.