Have you heard of the land of centenarians?
It is a place where every individual lives past 100 years of age. It is a land that thrives with longevity, vitality, and joy.
Would you believe if I told you that this land is right here, on our planet Earth?
Sounds unbelievable! But it’s true.
Amid this concrete clutter that we know our planet to be that is reaching the tipping point with illnesses, negativity, mindless rat race, and all things that go against life, this patch of land thrives like a flickering hope for the mankind.
I know it sounds like a fairy-tale. But the best part is that there are a handful of such places dispersed in some of the virgin and less frequented corners of the world.
These are home to people who have discovered the true essence of life. They have learned that living ‘healthy and happily ever after’ is indeed quite effortless and simple.
Or may we say – they have found their Ikigai? ;P
Having said that, several other lifestyle practices shape up a healthy and happy life of the centenarians, but today we will talk in-depth about Ikigai that acts as a major amplifier.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is a Japanese word which means ‘life to be worthwhile.’ Precisely, it refers to having a purpose of life.
Every human being has an Ikigai or purpose of life. There has to be a distinct reason for you to wake up every morning – the reason that gives you contentment in what you do and also helps to serve the world.
Most of us who are chasing target and profit from dawn to dusk are oblivious about our Ikigai.
But the people on the island of Okinawa – the land of centenarians – have a clear notion about it. Today we will try to learn it from them.
A Brief Background
In Okinawa, there are 24.55 people over 100 years of age for every 100,000 people which far ahead of the global average.
Surprisingly, Okinawa had reportedly lost two hundred thousand lives during the Second World War.
Yet there is not a trace of animosity among the people towards the outsiders. Say so – authors Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia.
The duo visited Okinawa in search of the elixir of life that exists in this place, and what they got back from there is the word ‘Ikigai.’
They presented the concept of Ikigai through their book – ‘IKIGAI – The Japanese Secret of Long and Happy Life.’
So let’s delve deep into this concept of Ikigai. I hope at the end, you will be able to find your purpose in life.
Why Is It Important to Find Your Ikigai?
Ikigai gives you your life’s purpose. Now the question arises that why at all do you need a purpose?
I mean, of course, the concept sounds a little ambiguous.
Many people… No, I think most of us would stare back with a blank expression if they were ever asked about our life’s purpose.
Yet some could even scratch their head and share some of their aspirations. ‘The purpose of life’, precisely, the purpose of human life is much higher.
And as long as you find that, you are most likely to slog all your life. And that is what is happening to most of us.
We do a job that does not give us contentment. Because it is not aligned with our life’s purpose.
We are surrounded by toxic people who are far from being our friends. After a point of time, it takes a toll on our body and mind. And all these roots from one point – not knowing your Ikigai.
Not being able to find a work that helps you to fulfill your life’s purpose leads to mediocrity and stress.
In the book, ‘IKIGAI – The Japanese Secret of Long and Happy Life’, stress has been deemed the biggest threat to health and longevity. And if we proceed with our lives without finding out our Ikigai, we are inviting stress for ourselves.
How to Find Your Ikigai?
The career that we chose defines the entire course of our life, and finance is just a part of it. But how mindfully do we select our career?
Are we even aware of the parameters that we should keep in mind while taking such a vital decision?
Some people say, follow your heart. Do something that you love doing? But, is it necessary that we would be good at something that we love?
Well, then, do something that you are good at doing. Yet, if you get to do something that you love and you are also good at it, is it necessary that you will be able to generate income out of it.
A set of people believe that it is the mullah that makes sense at the end of the day. Hence, whether or not you like the job, go for something that pays well.
And one point that seldom comes up is that whether or not the job that we do, serves the world in any way or not.
As per the concept of Ikigai, it is the culmination of your response to all these questions that help you to arrive at the purpose of your life.
Ikigai or your life purpose is what you find out of the four intersecting circles.
The intersection of the first two circles, if we move anti-clockwise, is the culmination point for your response to ‘what you love’ and ‘what you are good at’. What you get out of this culmination is your passion.
Your passion can give you satisfaction but there is a feeling of uselessness unless you can make money out of it. Hence, moving further south in the diagram of Ikigai, you answer the question – what you can get paid for.’
The culmination of ‘what you are good at’ and ‘what you can get paid for’ gives you your profession.
Now, your profession can give you comfort, but you are bound to feel empty from within because it is not something that you love.
Next moving to the next circle… Just try to answer the question that is seldom asked – ‘what the world needs’. The culmination of ‘what you can be paid for’ and ‘what the world needs’ helps you to arrive at your vocation.
At this point, one obvious question would be – ‘what is the difference between profession and vocation?’
All our lives we believed profession and vocation to be synonymous. Yet, as it turns out that there is a fine line difference.
Profession refers to the job we do and vocation is a notch higher than that. Vocation refers to our calling. It is a tad bit compelling as a pursuit than just doing a job.
Now having sorted out the difference between profession and vocation, let us come back to the vocation part of the Ikigai diagram. Our vocation gives us excitement and complacency. Yet there will be a sense of uncertainty.
Moving further north from there, we arrive at a culmination of ‘what the world needs’ and ‘what we love’. Here, we arrive at our life’s mission. This gives you delightfulness but there is no monetary benefit.
Now if we focus on the core of the diagram, we arrive at the intersection of all the four circles. And here lies our Ikigai.
Hence, our Ikigai is the culmination of our responses to all the four questions. Leaving out a single point would leave a void that will eat into our vitality and well-being.
Inspiring Videos & Quotes on Finding Purpose
Quoting Words of Stalwarts who Amaze and Inspire us through their Astounding Success.
“I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.” – Oprah Winfrey
“The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion.” ―Terry Orlick
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” ―John F. Kennedy
“The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.” ―Charles Dickens
Other Vitamins Boosts Longevity and Vitality
- Never Retire
- Eat a balanced diet. But more importantly, eat till you are 80% full
- Lead an active life
- Be surrounded by good friends
- Reduce stress but do not nullify it altogether. A tad bit stress is essential.
- Avoid sitting for long hours. Physical movement is necessary for agility and an enhanced immune system.
- Get 9-10 hours of sleep.
- Soak up a moderate amount of sun every day.
- Discover the power of flow in your work.
- Avoid multi-tasking. Concentrate on a single task.
- Enjoy mundane tasks
- Give yourself an ‘instant vacation’ every day. Practice meditation.
- Nurture friendship and embrace a communal life.
- Embrace a slow life. There is no hurry.
- Practice a form of exercise that revitalizes both your body and mind such as Yoga and Tai Chi.
- Be resilient.
- Reconnect with nature
- Smile more often
- Be grateful
So, What Is Your Ikigai?
If you take a break from the rat race and mundane of the contemporary life and the targets you chase day and night, you will be able to recall some happy-go-lucky people you have met.
He could be your grandfather or a friend of your grandfather or a neighbor, landlord, or anybody who could smile more than you do.
Such people woke up early, went for a walk, spent time gardening, shared jokes with their spouse while having a meal, and lived a simple life.
Earlier you might have ignored them. You might have felt that they are slow-paced and lack enthusiasm or aspiration in life. They lack that go-getter’s spirit.
Now after learning about Ikigai, go and take a closer look at their lifestyle. You will know what exactly is missing in your life and how simple it is to get it back.
Featured Image: Freepik