Oct 24, 2017

After the passing of the Danish lifestyle trend hygge, the Japanese are back to introduce a new one called ikigai. This concept could be the secret to unlocking true happiness (and the secret to longevity).

Ikigai comes from the words iki, meaning life and gai, meaning value or worth. Essentially, ikigai is about finding your purpose in life. Héctor García, co-author of Ikigai: “The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” wrote in The Guardian, “Ikigai can be translated as “a reason for being”—the thing that gets you out of bed each morning.”

Finding your ikigai

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With a little help from the ikigai book, it is often associated with four different elements overlapping each other:

  • What you love
  • What you are good at
  • What the world needs
  • What you can be paid for

First, make a Venn diagram containing the four elements. What you find in the intersection of the four is your ikigai. It’s as simple as that. In fact, you can completely omit money from the equation. A 2010 survey by Central Research Services showed that from 2,000 Japanese men and women, only 31 percent of participants considered “what you can be paid for” as their ikigai. Japanese retirees find a better purpose in their hobbies, which gives them a sense of meaning and a more active lifestyle.

Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”

“Have you ever been so absorbed in a task that you forget to drink and eat? What type of task was it? Notice those moments when you enter flow, and your ikigai might be embedded in those moments,” says García when we enter a state of ‘flow’.

Find your strength by saying “no” to the things you dislike and know you’re not good at, and focus on the things you do love and you’re good at. May it be hobbies, a new sport, or yoga, making time for these things can catapult you to a better life.

 

Photos courtesy of Unsplash

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TAGS: fixture health & wellness ikigai japan Japanese lifestyle nolisoliph