What is Ikigai?

We have set the tone for a Minimalist Lifestyle but then how do we lead our lives joyfully? Is there a purpose?

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Enter: Ikigai!

Ikigai is a Japanese concept turned into a Lifestyle by many. It translates to “Meaning or Purpose of Life”. It could be “Raison d’etre as the French call it. In simple words, ‘it is the reason for your being!’ If one knows his/her Ikigai it makes one’s life worthwhile and gives a meaning to their life.

Who invented Ikigai?

The word Ikigai dates back to the Heian period(794 to 1185). However in 2001, Akihiro Hasegawa, a clinical psychologist and an associate professor at Toyo Eiwa University placed the word Ikigai (Iki- meaning life Gai- meaning value) into everyday Japanese language.

Is finding your Ikigai important?

Preferably yes, in a world which is driven on a compulsion to make money, acquire materialistic things, many of us have lost what it is to truly BE and enjoy what we do. Moreover, we have forgotten the essence of life and made it a mundane lifestyle to be led.

Research and facts say that the Lifestyles of the people in Okinawa is directly related to their Longevity where people out here live upto be a hundred and certainly more! We will look into what keeps them going shortly.

How do we find our Ikigai?

It is possible and when we put our minds and hearts to it we will surely be able to figure out what it truly is.

It is the intersection of ‘What you love’, ‘ What you are good at’, ‘What you get paid for’ and ‘What the world needs!’

Ikigai diagram
PC: dreamstime, Pinterest

Well, that is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?

How do we make it a part of our Lifestyle?

  1. Eating only until you’re 80 percent full
  2. Stay active and don’t retire 
  3. Surround yourself with good friends 
  4. Get in shape 
  5. Reconnect with nature 
  6. Live in the moment 
  7. Give thanks 
  8. Take it slow 
  9. Smile and acknowledge the people around you 
  10. Follow your ikigai

Well let’s look into these rules closely:

1. Eating only until you are 80 percent full –

Japanese follow the rule to eat only until you are 80% full and not to stuff our stomachs completely.

腹八分目に医者いらず – Hara hachi bun me ni isha irazu. 

The above Japanese proverb means ‘Eating to only 80% full keeps the doctors away!”

2. Stay active and don’t retire-

It is of utmost importance to continue doing what you love even if you are professionally retired. While doing what one loves everyday, there is a purpose and meaning for life .

3. Surround yourself with good friends-

Friendships or Relationships or being part of a community is a must to be involved in!

Having and connecting with friends to share your joys, sorrows, getting and giving advice and to just brighten up eachother’s day is of utmost importance.

若い人たちはよく、「生き甲斐がない」といます。しかしそれは当たり前です。孤立した人には生き甲斐がない。生き甲斐とは人間関係です。

– 石川達三

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

4. Get in shape-

Going or a walk or exercising should be a part of the everyday routine. Working on our body; by exercising, walking, cycling, yoga or meditation is of utmost importance to live an energetic life.

5. Reconnect with nature-

Connecting with Mother Earth is a blessing! One must make it a point to connect with her either through gardening, nature walks or spending time outdoors just simply soaking in the beauty around in a natural environment.

This process helps one to rejuvenate and also be closer to nature every now and then.

6. Live in the moment-

When our mind is buried in the past memories or worried about the future, it forgets the present moment. The Present Moment is all we have and we need to live each moment like it was our last! That would bring in a sense of immense reverence to life within us and around us.

7. Give Thanks

Be grateful for every thing around you; your family, friends, nature, your community, things that you have, the place that you stay. Having gratitude or each and everything in your life leaves one humble!

8. Take it slow-

Being in a hurry to finish something and to constantly be in a compulsive state of doing things fast leaves one stressed and confused. One should start to take things slowly, being mindful of the actions and this gives one an opportunity to enjoy the process.

9. Smile and acknowledge the people around you-

A smile always helps one to connect with others and also puts us in a joyful relaxed state albeit the situations.

10. Follow your Ikigai-

It can be one thing you are passionate about doing everyday or it could be a series of things. All you need to do is; discover it!

You can find out more about Ikigai in this book by Hector Garcia and Albert Liebermann.

Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life! -Click here to Buy the book on Amazon

This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on any of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

Have you find your Ekigai?

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