Goodreads rating: 3.8/5
Published: April 2016
Author: Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
Translated: Heather Clearly
Genre: Self-help, non-fiction
The people of Japan believe that everyone has an ikigai – a reason to jump out of bed each morning. And according to the residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa – the world’s longest-living people – finding it is the key to a longer and more fulfilled life. Inspiring and comforting, this book will give you the life-changing tools to uncover your personal ikigai. It will show you how to leave urgency behind, find your purpose, nurture friendships and throw yourself into your passions.
The above taken from Goodreads.
4) Read a non-fiction book on meditation OR mindfulness
Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years - Japanese proverbIkigai roughly means 'the happiness of always being busy'. It's a simple analogy of staying happy and having a fulfilled life to live to a hundred years old. According to the book, the keys to longevity are diet, exercise, ikigai and strong social ties. Not forgetting 'hara hachi bu' which means to fill your belly to 80% so as not to over eat. Also stress is one of the main killer of longevity and sleep is a key anti-aging tool. 'A sound mind in a sound body' with 'a positive attitude and a high degree of emotional awareness' also help in maintaining a healthy fulfilling life.
Both authors have collected various researches and findings related to ikigai and compiled it into this book. With so many outcomes, even if it's not 100% proof worthy, I did find it agreeable as it's logically true. Their study leads them to various places especially to the famous Village of Longevity - Ogimi, Okinawa, where the residents live a very long and fulfilled life. They included their stay and outcome at Ogimi in the book, halfway towards the end.
I liked the objective of this book with many researches and fact findings shared with so many references to actual results. They all shared the same end in mind which is to find one's life purpose and to live a long healthy life. They have shared many ways, thoughts and therapies to achieve both those purposes.
My take on this in summary: Self-discipline is of utmost importance and single filed mind is the best to be fully productive as opposed to multi-tasking. We may have many ikigai's but doing it one at a time, fully focus at each one and diligently is the best. Too many distractions in life such as soc-med will disrupt our concentration so to tone down our mind and hone our skill by doing meditation and ritual of sorts like a simple exercise, yoga, qigong and tai chi to name a few.
Points to note: a healthy diet consists of natural antioxidants such as tofu, tuna, carrots, cabbage and seaweed with lots of white and green tea preferably sanpin-cha (jasmine tea) are encouraged. Apparently sanpin-cha helps to reduce the risk of heart attack, strengthening the immune system, helping relieve stress and lowering cholesterol.
Hector and Francesc ended this book with a summary:
Stay active and don't retire; take it slow; don't fill your stomach; surround yourself with good friends; get in shape for your next birthday; smile; reconnect with nature; give thanks; live in the moment & follow your ikigai.
Some notable quotes:
One way to reach a state of mindfulness is through meditation, which helps filter the information that reaches us from the outside world. It can also be achieved through breathing exercises, yoga and body scans.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how ~ Nietzsche
Sunday neurosis, for example, is what happens when, without any obligations and commitments of the workweek, the individual realizes how empty he is inside. He has to find a solution. Above all, he has to find his purpose, his reason for getting out of bed - his ikigai.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. ~ Aristotle
Other studies indicate that working on several things at once lowers our productivity by at least 60% and our IQ by more than 10 points.
The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for ~ Washington BurnapReferences shared in this book:
Logotherapy: It helps you find reasons to live (Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl)
Frankl realized he had been the first patient of his own practice. He had a goal to achieve and it made him persevere during his detention at Auschwitz.
Morita therapy: Accept their emotions without trying to control them (Morita Therapy and the True Nature of Anxiety-Based Disorders by Shoma Morita)
Morita therapy is not meant to eliminate symptoms; instead it teaches us to accept our desires, anxieties, fears and worries, and let them go.
The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow is the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.
Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe
To use the principle of "compass over maps" as a tool to navigate our world of uncertainty.
Anti-fragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better."