There’s this little blue book entitled “Ikigai” written by Francesc Miralles & Hector Garcia. It talks about the Japanese secret of living a long and happy life. They studied the people of Okinawa, whose population is known to live healthily past the age of 100. That sounds like a great proposition – how can I achieve a long and healthy life for myself? Today, we’re going to talk about Ikigai and how it can be applied to you.
Ikigai can be defined simply as daily purpose. It answers the question of “When I wake up, what do I look forward to doing?” The answer to this is intuitive. Most likely, you know what you want to do but there may be factors stopping you from doing so.
Some people say that Ikigai is our life’s purpose. Purpose is a pretty big word, and it can be daunting to tackle. That’s why life purpose is more of a Westernized interpretation of what Ikigai is. It is usually depicted as the intersection of 4 circles: what you love, what you’re good at doing, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for. While that’s a handy framework to have, that alone isn’t the essence of Ikigai.
To the people of Okinawa, there is no concrete definition of Ikigai. It is just something they innately feel. To them, a daily life with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a sense of community all contribute to that sense of purpose. The challenge for us is to find a way to incorporate their good habits into our daily lives.