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According to the Japanese culture, everyone has IKIGAI. It indicates the value that is in your life or the things that make someone feel that your life is precious. It refers to the mental and spiritual circumstances that make you feel that your life is good. IKIGAI is that it is interchangeable. It is unique to each individual and recognizes that the idea of “happiness” is really very difficult to realize. IKIGAI, as a concept, can evolve like you. If an objective path ceases to exist, can adapt, change and pursue new passions with an objective, IKIGAI leaves room for that.

What is IKIGAI?

IKIGAI is a wonderful Japanese concept which basically means “a reason for being”. It is made up of two Japanese words: iki, which means “life” and kai, which means “effect, result, value or benefit”. Combined: “a reason to live”. In other words, IKIGAI, pronounced as “eye-ka-guy” is a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical. This balance is at the intersection where your passions and talents converge with the things the world needs and is ready to pay for.

The Philosophy

Contrary to popular opinion, your IKIGAI has nothing to do with money or even ambition. Your IKIGAI could also simply be the answer to the question “what do I like to do the most?”.

For many elderly Okinawa people interviewed by Hector and Francesc authors of the book” IKIGAI: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life, their IKIGAI ranged from “I plant my own vegetables and cook them myself,” to getting together with my friends“and “making things with wicker”.

How to live the IKIGAI lifestyle: According to Hector and Francesc, these ten factors are Okinawa people’s secret to longevity;

  1. Stay active and don’t retire: One of the most dangerous years of life is the year you retire because you experience a sudden lack of purpose.
  2. Live Slow: Adopt a slower pace of life.
  3. Eat mindfully: Only eat until are 80% full.
  4. Surround yourself with good friends: The people of Okinawa are community oriented and take out the time to return familiar relationship with friends,
  5. Gate in shape:  The authors prescribe daily gentle exercises ranging from the Indian yoga to Chinese Tai Chi.
  6. Smile.
  7. Reconnect with nature: Gardening is encouraged.
  8. Express gratitude.
  9. Live in the moment.
  10. Follow your IKIGAI: Find your passion, what gives meaning to your life.

Discover your IKIGAI

  • To discover you IKIGAI, you must first find what you’re most passionate about. Then, you find the medium through which you can express that passion. IKIGAI is about finding joy, fulfillment, and balance in the daily routine of life.
  • The fundamental truth of IKIGAI is that nothing is soloed. Everything is connected. At the intersection of all of this are feelings of peace and lasting happiness that can sustain us throughout our entire lives.
  • Examples of IKIGAI are often related to aspects of social identity — including work and family life — but it’s often explained as something more than that. It’s the idea of seeking a purpose in everything you do in life. Hobbies, friendships, community and travel all add to your IKIGAI.
  • There are many different facets to IKIGAI, but there is one fundamental part to it that really stood out for everyone: Even if your present doesn’t feel right, if you don’t feel truly valuable in your current state but you have a strong goal you’re striving towards, then you will have found your IKIGAI. This is where you think IKIGAI can serve true value.

Summary: If we follow the ideas of IKIGAI, then we return to ourselves, to our own goal and to the path we take to get there. IKIGAI is about the changes, challenges and mistakes we can make as much as the “final” realization of a happy life. The idea itself is neither innovative nor revolutionary, but it deserves to be noted. In the end, IKIGAI is not just a long and happy life. It’s about recognizing the journey you’re making and making it your own. Know what gives meaning and purpose to your life at all times.

IKIGAI: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life

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