Haven’t all of us often felt trapped at times in our personal and professional lives? Do you wonder if it is possible to break out of this routine and find yourself? Wouldn’t it be fulfilling to find depth and purpose, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai?

The concept of Ikigai

"Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life" talks about the Japanese island of Okinawa and explains the various blue zones that are the reason for the longevity of its residents. The concept of Ikigai, or a deep purpose of life, is an important factor in achieving this longevity. Each one of us carries this sense of purpose within us. All that is needed to lead a fulfilling and enriching life is to unearth and discover it.

Finding flow in everything we do

The most significant approach is finding flow. Simply put, it is a reminder to immerse ourselves in whatever we do. We should pursue activities that allow us to do this and avoid things that provide superficial or momentary pleasure. Being in touch with our inner selves, owning and accepting our emotions helps to take charge of our actions. We must gradually push ourselves out of our comfort zones that have become familiar yet constricting. Challenging ourselves keeping a “compass approach” to show the direction is an important part of self-actualization.

Practical tips for everyday challenges

As complex as it may sound, here are things you can do live a happier and fuller life:

  • Healthy eating, avoiding overindulgence, consistent exercise and staying away from a predominant sedentary workday are important factors in our quality of life. Simple exercises and breathing awareness can easily become part of our daily schedules.
  • The effects and demands of the online world and a 24/7 lifestyle are especially stressful, and the authors offer useful tips to manage these pressures.
  • Financial planning, taking calculated risks, identifying our own weaknesses, nurturing friendships and celebrating the small things in life are extremely important.

Giving up is not an option. Can we grow through what we go through?

Resilience or wabi sabi is a mindset that can be cultivated and will help in dealing with the inconsistencies of life. Practical suggestions and examples in the book give direction toward developing these traits. The next level of antifragility, a level beyond resilience which implies emerging stronger with defeat or getting better despite difficulties is also discussed. This is perhaps the most challenging part of our self-growth.

The power to live a better life lies within us

Each of us carries this sense of purpose within us. We can all discover, reinvent or readjust our Ikigai at different points of time. We can use it in all that we do, to enrich our personal and professional lives. Could anything be more powerful? A list of simple rules, which we can read and follow on any given day in our routine lives, takes us closer to ourselves.

The woman at work and her tryst with Ikigai

Finding her Ikigai and nurturing it is relevant especially for the woman at work because of the many demands on her time and thoughts. Other specific themes which will resonate with her are remaining motivated, following her passion and finding a good mentor. Mokai, or relationships with others who at different points in the same journey, forming a support system, is also a concept that she will identify with.

Ikigai has something to offer to everyone. It is the push in the right direction that we all need to introspect within ourselves and move towards a happier existence. Are you ready to take it?

We should pursue activities that allow us to find our flow and avoid things that provide superficial or momentary pleasure.
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