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Five Lessons I Learned from Reading Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

The book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life is written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.

As an avid reader, occasionally I come across a book that stops me in my tracks and either affirm my beliefs or make me pause and reflect on its message. It focuses around the concept of Ikigai, which translate into “reason for being,” our “reason d’être.” That thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.

This book came to me in the middle of the pandemic, when I needed it the most. Needless to say it has changed my perspective on life and has become a trusted companion. Here are my takeaways:

1. Find Your Ikigai

In other words your life’s purpose. According to the authors, it is that unique combination of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for. It is never too late to find it. It will certainly bring fulfillment to your life.

2. Appreciate the little things

We all aspire to be happy and on that journey to happiness, it is essential not to overlook the small moments that bring us joy. Like the residents of Ogimi, it is important to cherish a warm cup of tea or a stroll through nature’s embrace as these moments contribute to our overall sense of well-being.

3. Take care of your body

Our bodies are our temples and are deserving of the utmost care. It comes down to nurturing our physical health through regular exercise or just moving around often, nourishing meals, and adequate rest.

These activities are crucial in our pursuit of a long and fulfilling life. In fact, gardening seems to be the best form of exercise for the centenarians in Ogimi who eat until they are about 80% full. This certainly requires enormous discipline, doesn’t it?

4. Take care of your mind

Meditating, journaling or other creative ways are essential in promoting wellbeing. Having a positive outlook on life and a sense of optimism can help our mind relax. According to the book, It is that attitude that encourages us to never stop learning.

5. Nurture your community and your friendships

Human connection is at the center of our being. Having that support system is vital. It is so comforting to have friends to lean on when you need it the most. In Ogimi, residents are close, they celebrate little things and big things like birthdays together. They check on each other and are most likely part of a neighborhood associations.

Garcia and Miralles also have a list of principles we must follow to live a more purposeful life. You will find them in the book or I’ll share them in another post.

I truly believe that subconsciously, we already know these guiding principles to living a fulfilling life. This book review's lessons offer an overview of a life's purpose fulfilled. It is a reminder to embrace these truths and continue on the journey of self-discovery and happiness.

Have you read Ikigai? If yes, what stood out to you?

Until next time, be kind to yourself and others, and take care.



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