The Japanese have a secret that embodies the idea of happiness in living, and it is called Ikigai.
Essentially, Ikigai, loosely translated to life value, or life worth, is a concept of living that the Japanese culture imbibes for decades.
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Ikigai is illustrated in four overlapping circles, as in a Venn Diagram which talks about a synthesis of:
According to psychiatrist Mieko Kamiya, the concept of Ikigai is similar to happiness, but with a difference.
Ikigai looks at the larger picture of life, allowing you to be ok with a miserable situation, as the grand vision of life, and the future is still positive.
The concept of Ikigai aligns with everyday life, as opposed to a lifetime. It makes us appreciate our daily life, celebrating it, and experiencing the small joys of living.
Ikigai is the reason you wake up in the morning for, that thing you live for, daily.
Japanese have a large number of senior citizens, including many centenarians, with the average lifetime being 87 years for women and 81 years for men.
Ikigai has been a major reason for the long life of the Japanese, along with special kinds of diets.
Make three small lists:
The cross-section or overlap of these three lists, is your Ikigai, something you should do for the rest of your life.
Ikigai is not a theoretical concept to be understood and left aside, and can only work in daily action and constant practice.
Your work should make a difference in people's lives, and not necessarily would be just working hard.
In the last 20 years, there has been a shift in Japan towards more awareness and freedom to seek one’s desired role. Job hopping, once considered Taboo, is gaining acceptance.
The young generation holds the key to untangle and repair the connections between true ikigai and the work they do so that the work-life balance is enhanced.