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Reason for Being: Ikigai, The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Why do you get out of your bed every morning? Do you feel bored and exhausted with life? What do you look for in your day? These were the questions I found asking myself every single day until I realized what the problem was. That’s when I asked the only question that really matters.

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What is the purpose of my life? However, finding your life purpose can often be challenging and hard. That’s when I discovered ikigai the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. Could Ikigai give me a reason to jump out of my bed and start my day with excitement? Was Ikigai the solution I was looking for. The answer was yes.

 

Why do we need a reason to get out of bed

“Essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” – Hector Garcia Puigcerver

Have you ever thought that you’ll be happier if you got that promotion or that raise? Have you ever felt that life would get better if you owned that particular thing you’ve been craving for so long? I am pretty sure your answer is a resounding yes. However, that is not what we actually desire. All of us are constantly looking for a solid reason to go through another day. And money and materialistic possessions are definitely not what we are looking for.

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Having a sense of purpose is undoubtedly the biggest factor that contributes towards our vitality, health and overall well being. Without a defined sense of purpose in our lives, we will not only struggle through our life experiences but we will also face several mental and physical health issues.

This is why more and more people today are investing a significant amount of time and effort in seeking their purpose. The shift in focus from financial success and possessions to seeking a more meaningful life is refreshing and necessary to some extent. And this mindset has brought me to ikigai the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. According to the Japanese, discovering your ikigai is essential for a happy life and it can be found only by taking a long and deep look inside yourself. This is the way to bring meaning to your life.

 

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What is Ikigai?

 

 “Our ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning.”
– Hector Garcia Puigcerver

Originated from the island of Okinawa in Japan, ikigai simply means “reason for being”. The term is derived from the words iki (meaning life) and kai (the realization of your hopes & expectations).

It is mainly a lifestyle which attempts to balance practical aspects with spiritual and psychological aspects. This Japanese concept includes the convergence of 4 major elements:

  • What you love doing (your passion)
  • What you are good at (your vocation)
  • What the world needs (your mission)
  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

Each of these elements must intersect and work in congruence to help you find your life purpose. Your passion will lie at the convergence where your talents and passions meet with what the world requires and for which you can earn a living. If you miss either of these elements, then ikigai won’t work for you. By missing out on even one single element, you will not be able to utilise your life’s fullest potential. Finding the right balance of all four aspects will enable you to discover your ikigai and help you experience happiness and fulfilment.

Ikigai refers to the reason we start a new day, the reason we get up and the reason we live for. It tells us that true happiness in life doesn’t come from making money or getting a fancy designation at work. It comes from doing what you love and helping others. According to this Japanese self-development concept, all of us have an Ikigai and discovering our Ikigai will make our lives purposeful and meaningful.

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Theo Harrison
Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.
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