Forget hygge, it’s time for ikigai.
“Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.” —Japanese proverb
If you snuggled up in thick knitted sweaters and filled your house with wood-scented candles in the pursuit of hygge, (the Danish concept of finding ‘contentment’ in cosiness) or tried the Swedish idea of lagom, (moderate living), you may want to try the Japanese lifestyle concept, ikigai. Apparently, it will help us live our best lives.
Ikigai is quite different to hygge. It’s less about ‘slowing’ down, and more about staying active or striving to find purpose in life, our ‘raison d’etre’. As such, it is a notion often adopted by those unhappy at work or who have retired.
The word itself is composed in Japanese using the characters iki, (or life,) and kai, meaning the result of a certain action that is rewarding. What’s interesting is that studies show that losing one's purpose can have a detrimental effect. For instance, those who lose their ‘raison d'etre’ when they retire become more prone to contracting illnesses.
How do you about find your ikigai?
Before we tell you how, let us tell you how it feels when you’ve hit your ikigai. You enter a state of 'flow' ne n which we lose the sense of time passing. For example, have you ever been so immersed in a task that you completely forget to drink and eat? What type of task was it? Notice those moments and your ikigai might be embedded in them. In other words, your Ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing.
Ikigai is seen as the convergence of four primary elements :
• What you love (your passion)
• What the world needs (your mission)
• What you are good at (your vocation)
• What you can get paid for (your profession)
Want to find your Ikigai?
Ask yourself the following four questions :
1. What do I love?
2. What am I good at?
3. What can I be paid for now — or something that could transform into my future hustle?
4. What does the world need?
According to renowned ikigai authors and experts, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles, there are ten basic rules that can help anyone find their own ikigai.
1. Stay active and don’t retire
2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full
4. Surround yourself with good friends
5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
6. Smile and acknowledge people around you
7. Reconnect with nature
8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive
9. Live in the moment
10. Follow your ikigai
Now that we have more time indoors, why not switch off from Netflix binge watching and pick up a book that might help you find your ikigai. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to find happiness on every day?
Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life