Had the first sneak peek of the Japanese term ‘ikigai’ inscribed on a light blue hard covered book in the hands of a co-passenger while I was travelling from Mumbai to Delhi. Out of curiosity, I inherently clicked on the Google icon on my mobile home screen, typed ‘meaning of ikigai’ and this is what I found.
Ikigai (生き甲斐, “a reason for being”) is a Japanese concept referring to having a direction or purpose in life.
At that point of time, that did not appeal to me much as I was unaware of the fact that at the end of the day, we all seek and run behind happiness and joy. We may be too much engrossed in our daily activities and other stuffs but have we ever contemplated on what we desire from the flow of life?
Whenever things are not happening the way we want them to happen, we put ourselves in the clouds of irritation, anger and frustration. The opposite happens when things are falling in place. This is natural human tendency. Why? Because all we seek is true happiness; only the sailing boat varies from individual to individual. Some of us gain happiness on seeing others happy while some derives it through materialistic accomplishments. Happiness comes to some from passionate work while others enjoy the realm of joy from adventures. Only the sources differ but the objective remains unaltered, i.e. seeking happiness.
According to me, peace of mind is the new cool.
The boredom and anxiety developed on account of the lockdown being imposed every now and then in India has snatched away the most vital yet unspoken aspect of our lives known as ‘peace of mind’. We all agree that our minds have the superior power to attain anything provided it is calm and peaceful. Once agitated under the influence of external situations, we tend to commit mistakes and end in improper decision-making.
Being an avid book reader, I had strongly felt the urgency to quickly get hold of a book which will be a guiding star and help me improve the vision of my life. Bang on. My memory related to the sneak peek of that light blue hardcovered book (mentioned at the start of the article) popped up and I ended up placing an online order for the book, ‘Ikigai’. This decision was 100% conscious and not a compulsive one. It was a one-day delivery and no sooner did the book arrive than I started reading. I kept on reading until I reached the end of two chapters without having a hint of the passage of time on Day-1.
The book is a know-how of living a long, healthy and happy life. We all desire to have a long lifespan but what we fear are the adversities which may haunt us during the course of living like dearth of happiness and good health. If we are the owners of a happy and healthy life, we are ready to live forever.
Unlike other self-help books, the language used is very lucid and to the point with real life instances explained well. It is not bombarded with jargons which makes the messages easy for interpretation.
A quick dive into Top-10 key messages which brought a difference in my routine in a very short span (1 month) are given below-
- Maintaining an active and adaptable mind helps us stay young. It is an anti-ageing secret. An art of staying young while growing old.
- Wake up in the morning with a purpose. It may not necessarily be a rocket science purpose but simple ones like writing a blog, cooking a new dish, reading a book, starting an online course, applying for jobs (if unemployed), yoga etc.
- Always stop eating once you are 80% full. The concept is known as hara hachi bu in Japanese. Eat less to live longer and healthier.
- Always keep yourself busy and never stop learning.
- Be involved in activities which allow you to relax like painting, doodling, playing games, chatting with family and friends, gardening, cooking (if it is your passion). The bottom line is to be passionate about everything you do. Do not sit continuously for 30 mins, instead get up and walk for 5 mins and then get back to your seat.
- In spite of having one or multiple purposes in life, do not take them very seriously. Just relax and enjoy all what you do.
- Do not overthink.
- In the digitally toxic era, make a habit to stay away from any gadget 1 hour prior to sleeping and 1 hour after waking up.
- Try having a secondary source of income.
- Get rid of the things which makes you fragile like certain people, things and habits.
Believe me, this is a life-changing book and must be included in the school curriculum because then the execution will begin much earlier leading to a much healthier, happier and fulfilling life. This book is available in 51 languages. If you have not yet being a part of the Ikigai journey, then get the book and start reading.
Always remember, there is no particular age to learn.
That’s all folks!