Ikigai, The Japanese Secret To A Long And A Happy Life is a beautiful book by Hector Garcia and Frances Miralles. In the book they talk about Okinawa is a place in Japan which has the highest life expectancy rate in the world. They also talk about finding our ‘ikigai’ in life.
Each person has a unique ‘ikigai’ or the reason to live. It is our reason to wake up in the morning and go about life. It is our flow.
After meeting hundreds of people living in Ogimi (an island in Okinawa), the authors of the book give us ten rules to find our ikigai at the end of the book.
Here are those ten – they might change your life, as per the book:
“1. Stay active; don’t retire. Those who give up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life. That’s why it’s so important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping out, and shaping the world around you, even after your “official” professional activity has ended.
2. Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes, “Walk slowly and you’ll go far.” When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.
3. Don’t fill your stomach. Less is more when it comes to eating for long life, too. According to the 80 percent rule, in order to stay healthier longer, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.
4. Surround yourself with good friends. Friends are the best medicine, there for confiding worries over a good chat, sharing stories that brighten your day, getting advice, having fun, dreaming…in other words, living.
5. Get in shape for your next birthday. Water moves; it is at its best when it flows fresh and doesn’t stagnate. The body you move through life in needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time. Plus, exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.
6. Smile. A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing – it also helps make friends. It’s good to recognise the things that aren’t so great, but we should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world so full of possibilities.
7. Reconnect with nature.Though most people live in cities these days, human beings are made to be part of the natural world. We should return to it often to recharge our batteries.
8. Give thanks. To your ancestors, to nature, which provides you with the air you breathe and the food you eat, to your friends and family, to everything that brightens your days and makes you feel lucky to be alive. Spend a moment every day giving thanks, and you’ll watch your stockpile of happiness grow.
9. Live in the moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.
10. Follow your ikigai. There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, as Victor Frankl says, your mission is to discover it.”
Try and tell us how these rules help you!