“Ikigai” is a Japanese term that means the “art of living”, it refers to the practice of living a purposeful life with respect to a person’s sense of the self. Ikigai is a perfect example of a self help book, which narrates the real life stories of people of Okinawa island and demonstrates how a healthy and stress free life can contribute to longevity. The title of the book is enough to depict the idea inside the book and gives a perfect understanding of ‘why is lifestyle important?’. The book has nine chapters and each chapter has a different story and teaches a different lesson that can help you in leading a happy and healthy life. Because of the uniqueness of the content of the book, the book has been an international bestseller.
The book is titled “IKIGAI” and in ordinary language it means “purpose of being alive”. The book is written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. According to Aikihiro Hasegawa, ikigai can be defined as ‘a sense of being alive now, an individual’s consciousness as a motive to live.’ It is based upon the people of Okinawa island of Japan. The authors did extensive research on the people of this island and discussed how Okinawa island of Japan has achieved the world’s highest life expectancy and are at the top in the blue book ranking. It can be said that they have found their ikigai.The book talks about practices and gives tips to live a happier and healthier life.
“We don’t create the meaning of our life, we discover it!”
According to the authors, the reason for their longevity is hidden beneath the term “ikigai”. The book is pretty insightful and will introduce you to the entirely different world which is filled with new thoughts. Just like the title of the book, IKIGAI, the book will give you the purpose of reading it because of several case studies which are there inside the book. The book not only discusses the importance of having a purpose in life but will also tell you the importance of healthy eating habits and mental health, and how they are related to longevity. With the different chapters, one will find the different aspects which are really needed to know.
The book gives a ten-point concise rule of ikigai:
- Stay active; don’t retire.
- Take it slow.
- Don’t fill your stomach.
- Surround yourself with good friends.
- Get in shape for your next birthday.
- Smile and be happy.
- Reconnect with nature.
- Be thankful.
- Live in the moment.
- Follow your ikigai.
While reading this book, you will come across the point where you will ask a few questions to yourself such as why am I taking so much stress when stress is so harmful. You will ask the question why we are sticking to a monotonous schedule and keeping my brain exhausted when this is acting as a bar in my mental growth. The book states that avoiding stress is essential for a healthy lifestyle. This book enlightens us about a technique known as Morita therapy. It was primarily introduced to relieve anxiety and obsessive behaviour. The therapy requires the individual to cultivate new emotions by accepting their feelings and mannerisms. The book in this segment provides a detailed explanation of how this therapy functions, which can be practically applied by an individual to attain one’s ikigai.
(Ekka Aqueen, Book Review – Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, 2020, https://www.legalbites.in/ikigai-the-japanese-secret-to-long-happy-life/)
“The moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.”
You will learn about the importance of experimenting new things and their role in longevity. One of my favourite parts of this book is chapter IV titled “FIND FLOW IN EVERYTHING YOU DO” because after reading this chapter I personally felt the urge of doing things which I never did in the past several years because life was so busy. In this chapter, you will learn the importance of how going with the flow can make you happy and give immense pleasure. At times, we give a lot of thought to things and keep thinking about the future and miss all the beautiful moments happening in the present. Also, I found two important things which inspired me a lot, one is choosing tasks and second is having a clear objective towards the same task. We all usually choose tasks, but fail in finding the objective of doing that task and just do those tasks because everyone is doing it. Having a clear objective in life towards things is really important.
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. (Ikigai: How to enrich your life by finding purpose, 2020 https://www.accenture.com/in-en/about/inclusion-diversity/vaahini-book-review-ikigai)
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. 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. (Ikigai: How to enrich your life by finding purpose, 2020 https://www.accenture.com/in-en/about/inclusion-diversity/vaahini-book-review-ikigai
Overall, this book is worth giving time and an amazing piece of writing. It inspires you to do better and become a better version of yourself. It reminds you of the importance of today, living in the moment and making the best of it.
“Savor this moment as if it were your last breath. You can live only one day at a time, and no one can be certain that they will wake up the next morning. So let’s not postpone happiness. The best moment in your life is always this one.”
(The writer of the book review is a final year law student at the Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia. She is an enthusiastic reader. Image credit goes to the writer)