Ikigai- The guide to a happy and long life

Ikigai- The guide to a happy and long life

book cover of Ikigai

Ikigai is a book that is based on an ancient Japanese practice that goes by the same name. It is written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. Well, the authors wanted to present a very antecedent truth about life- happiness is the key to a long life. Alas! Happiness is the thing we desperately crave in this world. It has become a substance rather than an essence. 

In our fast and workaholic lives, happiness doesn’t knock our doors often, while we keep getting hit by quarter-life or mid-life crisis or life in general. This wears us down; we feel exhausted and burnt at the end of our day rather than fulfilled. But because of this, many of my colleagues and teachers recommended that I should go through this book. Many mentioned that it’s life-changing. This was bizarre to me, I couldn’t wrap my head around that the idea that a book with such a trivial life lesson can be so popular. So I gave it a try.

 Well, Ikigai’s literal meaning is a ‘reason to jump out of bed every morning’. Ikigai is a combination of the words ‘life’ and ‘to be worthwhile’ in Japanese. It also gave an introduction to many new words many of us were unfamiliar with like ‘Blue zones’, ‘longevity’, flow, tai chi, and more.

According to the Japanese, everyone has an Ikigai- a reason for being. Japanese are well known for their disciplinary lives and how well developed their country is in spite of numerous natural and man-made turbulences. They undoubtedly believe that everyone has an Ikigai. Only patient search can bring it out, and Ikigai does just that. It motivates one to search for their passion, their fuel and put that into work. The book doesn’t go too deep into the human minds or hearts but talks about life’s small secrets on philosophical levels. It talks about small, productive habits that can yield large effects in the long run.

 The book talks about interviews taken by the authors of people living in Okinawa, Japan. They chose to go to Okinawa because it comes under the Blue zone. Blue zone are the areas on earth where people had lived longer than the average life span of humans. The trip to Okinawa seems to be the crux of this book. The reason being, the authors really wanted to know the art of living from people who have lived the longest on this earth. 

The interviews highlighted a part that how the people of Okinawa have kept themselves in touch with our earth. How they have inculcated their cultural values to make a peaceful living.

Lessons from Ikigai

picture showing a diagram representing how Ikigai works
How Ikigai works
  • Active mind, youthful body:

A healthy, sound mind can lead to a healthy life. The book emphasizes that mental exercise is needed to keep our brains in check. Our brains also need exercising to stay active, alert, and process all the new information it swallows every day.

At many points in the book, the author has mentioned that the killer of longevity is stress and anxiety. It kills our active cells and causes pre-mature aging.

  • Logo therapy or substantially one’s reason to live is vital to stay happy.
  • Morita therapy talks about the importance of accepting one’s feelings.
  • Flow: we all need this flow to live in the present and not dwell in past or stress about the future. With flow, we feel completely immersed in our lives. 
  • Traditions, communities, and people give us positive energy so it is important to stay connected with others and our roots.
  • Resilience is the art of never giving up. One should run behind their passion no matter what. 

I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all these points coming my way at once. The reason is the structure of the book. The book contains such detailed examples of people, practices, and soothing words, that all these teaching felt necessary and important. 

Even when 117 years old Mina Okawa said, “Eat and sleep, you will live a long time. You have to learn to relax”, it felt believable and word of wisdom at the same time making me feel more connected to the book.

So did Ikgai blow my mind? Not exactly. 

Ikigai is a book that serves as an introduction to the good life. It is exemplary in its flow. Ikigai talks about various life lessons that are either too boring to follow or too repetitive to pay much heed in an engaging way. It simplifies small things and why they are important. It brings our attention to people and how their experience on Earth has been fruitful due to these habits. It’s lovely to notice how Japanese culture frames the values of the people. You will notice how happiness is affected by little things. It makes happiness attainable by promoting small life changes. Ikiagi is rather soothing than mind-blowing. It serves as a positive affirmation we need to preach and follow in our lives. Ikigai is worthwhile to read as it leaves deep impacts in simpler words.

Need something inspirational to watch, that to read? Check out our blog: 5 Inspirational Hollywood movies to boost your day.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anushka

    Very insightful blog!!💯🙌

  2. Yashsvi

    I think i might try reading ikigai now 💯👏


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