understand the Japanese philosophy ‘ikigai’


Nowadays it is a common occupation to find one’s purpose in life, something that gives our life meaning. A certain country seems to have cracked the code for it. So much so that it is the only country with an astonishingly high number of centenarians.

This is the Japanese island of Okinawa, where many studies have been carried out to solve the mystery of population longevity.

Besides karate, there is another word that comes from Okinawa: ikigai where ‘iki’ means life and ‘gai’ means purpose; it is pronounced as ee-kee-guy.

Ikigai is the sustainable philosophy behind the longevity of Okinawa’s people. Her Japanese medical tradition believes that our mental and emotional health and determination contribute to physical well-being.

The Japanese psychologist Michiko Kumano (2017) said that ikigai is a state of well-being that arises from the commitment to activities that one enjoys and that also bring a sense of fulfillment.

Ikigai is a treasure map to measure your life against to fill it with the best possible value by nourishing its quality for a lifetime.

ikigai -Diagram “alt =” The ikigai -Diagram “/>the ikigai diagram

It is understood that money, good looks, or status in life in and of themselves do not play a role in a person’s happiness or well-being. What basically matters through ikigai is friendliness, quiet contemplative time, what you do with your time (excess of time) and spending time with friends and family.

Ikigai is action – a verb – stands for: serve, create, delight, nourish, provide, teach, heal, connect and build up, all of which aim to add value to others and thus to give meaning to one’s own life and that of others.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, the author Viktor Frankl says: “Because success cannot be striven for like happiness; it has to happen, and it only happens as an unintended side effect of devotion to something greater than yourself, or as a by-product of devotion to someone other than yourself. “

As a card, basically ikigai means that by doing what we love and discovering what the world needs, we are rewarded for what we are good at. It is also related to the concept of flow that occurs when you are in your “zone”, as is known by high-performance athletes or creative people.

By ikigaiFlow arises when we consistently do something we love and are good at, with the possible added benefit of enhancing the lives of others. Finally, ikigai brings meaning, purpose and fulfillment into one’s own life and at the same time contributes to the well-being of others.

Everyone has one ikigai – with a special intersection of passion, talent and potential to help others. It’s all about finding it. the trip to ikigai may require reflection and effort, but it is achievable.

The concept behind it ikigai as a purpose in life, with both a personal and a social dimension, is grasped by the acquaintances ikigai Diagram. The diagram has overlapping areas that include:

• What you love;

• What you are good at;

• What the world needs;

• What you can be paid for;

To determine your own person ikigai With the help of such a diagram, you would fill each sphere with its respective content based on your own experiences, your self-knowledge and your understanding of the world. Filling out such a diagram can help clarify where you are in your search for your ikigai and how to make any adjustments necessary to achieve this sometimes elusive way of being.

When we discover what we love and what we are good at, we get passion. Marrying what you love with what the world needs becomes your mission. Getting paid for what you are good at becomes your profession, and when you are paid for what the world needs it becomes your calling.

That way you have yours ikigai.

A good example of ikigai in practice it is that of world famous primatologist (someone who studies primates) Jane Goodall who pursued her passion, specializing in the field, fulfilling the worldwide need for knowledge / protection of primates and making a living publishing books on monkeys deserved behavior and earning calling fees.

But money is not the only value that can arise from ours ikigai. Besides work ikigai can be family, a dream or just the spiritual feeling that life is worth living.

After interviewing 100 centenarians and super-centenarians in Ogimi, Okinawa to understand their philosophy of life and their secrets of longevity, Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, the book’s authors Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, developed their 10 rules from ikigai:

1. Stay active; not retire;

2. Take it slow;

3. Don’t fill your stomach;

4. Surround yourself with good friends;

5. Get ready for your next birthday;

6. smile;

7. Reconnect with nature;

8. Say thank you;

9. Live in the moment;

10. Follow your ikigai.

Ken Mogi, neuroscientist and author of Awakening Your Ikigai (2018, p. 3) says that ikigai is an ancient and well-known term for the Japanese, which can be translated simply as “a reason to get up in the morning” or, to put it lyrically, “to wake up with joy”.

Did you find yours ikigai?

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