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01 May 2020

IKIGAI - The Japanese secret of longevity

 

Visiting Japan several times, walking in Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, I noticed many older people, coping well with the pace of modern life. Such "teenagers" after the 80s. A lively step, a smile on the face, generally say good energy visible from afar. I immediately remembered some demographic research that shows that Japan has the highest percentage of people over 100. I wonder isn't it? These studies show that the majority of such people live on the island of Okinawa, in the south of the archipelago of the Japanese Islands. For every 100,000 people living in Okinawa, 25 are 100 years old and older. This is the highest percentage among all communities in Japan and definitely higher than the world average. Moving through the topic, asking my friends in Tokyo, I heard a mysterious word: IKIGAI.

While discussing what IKIGAI is, we came to several conclusions that I will share in this post.

First of all, everyone has their own IKIGAI, they only need to be seen and nurtured. Secondly, it is closely connected to the "meaning of life". Thirdly, the modern way of living separates us from nature, causing us to easily lose the sense of our existence. Powerful forces (money, desire for power, domination, rush to success) affect our lives almost every day, do not let them take control of yourself. Our intuition and curiosity are a good adviser in the search for our own IKIGAI. All you have to do is follow the things that make you happy, give up those you don't like. Let yourself be carried away by emotions and curiosity, be busy with what brings meaning to your life and makes you happy. And don't say you don't have IKIGAI. You just don't know it yet. I would compare it to passion - everyone has a passion, but not everyone has discovered it yet. Example? I, I discovered my passion and my IKIGAI at the age of 42. Late? I do not think so. There is always time to change, to do something differently. What's more, it doesn't have to be something big. Being a good parent, human, neighbor can also be your IKIGAI.

There is no single, perfect strategy to find your passion, your IKIGAI. But what you can learn from the people of Okinawa is that you should not worry too much about searching. Simply take care of what makes you happy, being surrounded by people you love and who love you. IKIGAI will speak to you by itself.

 

IKIGAI - 10 rules

1. Stay active; do not retire

Those who give up doing the things they like too soon lose the meaning of life. Continue doing things that add value to your life. Continue your passion, make progress, bring changes to your life but also to the lives of others. Change the world around you, even if you are already retired. Or maybe because of that.

2. Take it slow

Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to the quality of life. As the old proverb says - "You go slower, you will go further". Leaving the rush behind, time and space will have other, new meaning.

3. Don't  fill your stomach

The 80/20 Pareto principle also works here. If we want to live longer, let's not eat to our full stomach. We should be fed enough to not stay hungry, but not fill our stomachs full. A glass of water before a meal helps to achieve a satiety effect on an incomplete stomach.

4. Surround yourself with good friends

Friends are the best medicine for sorrows, for dismissing worries, for sharing experiences. A good friend can brighten up even the darkest day.

5. Be ready for your next birthday

Water remains fresh if it is in motion ... The same applies to our bodies. If you want to keep fit until your next birthday, take care of your daily "service" (Gentlemen, this also applies to you). In addition, movement triggers happiness hormones, so well-being will be better. Important note - no one requires us to run marathons. Gymnastics, yoga, whatever. Just do it.

6. Smile!

A smile is not only a relaxing activity on the face. It's a way of life. Everything is not always perfect, it's a fact. But it may be worth remembering that being here and now is a privilege for which many, already deceased, would give anything. Small things, small victories are always a good excuse to smile. In my experience in Asia, it appears that a smile overcomes all barriers in dealing with Asians.

7. Reconnect with Nature

 We live in the 21st century, most of us in cities. However, we still remain part of the natural world. Let's not forget about it and connect with Nature as often as possible. Forest, lake, plot. Here we can "charge" our vital forces.

8. Give thanks!

Parents, for calling you to this world, nature, because it provides fresh air and food that you eat every day. Give Thanks your family, friends and colleagues just for being there, to everything brightens your world, with kindness and a smile. It's for free. And it makes you feel happy.

9. Live here and now

Stop regretting the past, stop being afraid of the future. The present is all we have. Make the most of every moment. Make it worth remembering.

10. Follow your passion

You definitely have your passion, unique talent. Everyone has. It is "this something" that drives your life. If you haven't discovered your passion yet, make your search for it your passion.

 

I wish you find your IKIGAI as soon as possible.

Let's take a cup of green tea.

Good luck!

       

 

 

 

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