Find your Ikigai

This week we want to help you find your ikigai. Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that’s all about sustainable living and existing in sync with our heart and our surroundings. Ikigai will show you how to live a relaxed life by enjoying the little things and following your passions. It’s about the ride, taking it slowly and contributing to the community of today and, both mostly importantly and difficult, it’s about being able to contribute for a future we ourselves won’t experience.

Humanity has achieved great things, but at what cost? Do we really have to choose between our careers and our mental health? Is there a way to be fulfilled and joyful regardless of the greatness of our achievements?

Our Recommendation

We highly recommend The little book of Ikigai by Ken Mogi, a neuroscientist based in Tokyo. The doctor will give you several examples of beautiful lives and rituals throughout the book, that will better explain the complexities of this philosophy for a happy long life. You can buy it here.

The little book of Ikigai

“What are your most sentimental values?

What are the small things that give you pleasure?”

As we read these questions, we were supposed to ask ourselves along the book, we knew this could allow us to go much deeper into ourselves than we had at first anticipated. By the end we were certain that this was a gem that had to be shared! Get ready to shad layers that are no longer serving you, and step into a more authentic and compassionate way of existing.

Ikigai means reason to live.

Let’s find your Ikigai

Many have described it into the perfect balance between what you are good at, what you love, and what gives you money. We all know people who knew what this was, from an early age. However, the world of today changes fast. What was a great job yesterday, may not even exist tomorrow. Even though we would love to ignore it, we are always changing as well. We all heard that satisfaction comes through hard work. But what if we got it all wrong and instead of long hours in the office, we should spend long hours with ourselves? Maybe there isn’t even a race. Maybe it’s really all about the journey of dealing with our feelings, the people around us and overall life shenanigans, without losing sense of who we are and what we came here to be.

Ikigai 5 pillars
Image source: tokyo weekender

To find your Ikigai, you need to consider 5 main pillars:

  • Starting small
  • Being in the here and now
  • The joy of the little things
  • Releasing oneself
  • Harmony and sustainability

Starting Small

Ikigai is all about simplicity, and starting small, which is a very hard thing to accomplish these days, because we want everything and we want it now! Moreover, we tell ourselves that any contentment and acceptance are the feelings of the weak, of people who are out of the game. But that’s not how the Japanese see business. When you know what you are meant to do, it is not expected that you become a multibillionaire, and it will certainly not be expected to happen overnight. Day by day you will be better at what you love and are good at, and slowly but sustainably, your career will grow. Achievements don’t matter as much when you are passionate about what you do. Ikigai is about having a reason to wake up in the morning feeling like going to wherever it is you’re going.

Time with family may be your Ikigai, just as much as a traditional career.

Enjoy the present moment

Did you just hear your front door closing? That was your stress leaving when you imagined not having to answer your family’s nervous questions about your future everything. Because Ikigai means living in the here and now. This means cherishing the child within, that notices flowers and birds singing on their way to school. It’s about being emerged in a conversation without looking at your phone. It’s about noticing the beauty that surrounds you at every moment. Let yourself enjoy the little things.

Releasing oneself

So that a world where we only compete against ourselves can work we must tackle self-esteem. To understand that we are all unique and beautiful, and that are no inferiors and superiors. There are, however, different life purposes, different Ikigai. We must fall deeply in love with ourselves through a journey of self-discovery. Once we realize we are amazing creatures despite our flaws and all we still have to learn, we can release ourselves. No tittle and recognition will make you bigger than any living thing, nor will you be worthy of more love. Cleaning a toilette doesn’t make you less important than the person who sits on it. No true friend will make you feel like you have something to prove.

So don’t do it to yourself.

Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a loved one, and not some idiot who keeps messing things up. Release yourself from the need to be perfect. Like the beautiful Marie Forleo says: “If you want to be responsible keep your promises to others. If you want to be successful keep your promises to yourself.

Harmony and sustainability

We are not talking about turning your back on the world and retreating to the middle of nowhere. Even though that may be sometimes necessary, we just want that everyone gets to be their best self. First we need to be a little selfish, to get a grip of what we want to do, that translates into what we want to give to society. Like Ken Mogy said, humanity is like a great forest of individuals that need to work together to thrive! And here comes the last pilar: harmony and sustainability. Living with others in peace, contributing to society without expectations, and improving or perpetuating harmony is the sustainable way to preserve the planet.

“Needless to say, a value system centered on just the top few cannot be sustained, because somebody has got to be the underdog, in order for someone to be at the top. In today’s world, where humans are increasingly forced to compete in a global context, we need to consider the implications and repercussions of this obsession with winning the competition.”  Ken Mogi, The little book of Ikigai

Did you find your Ikigai already?

We hope you loved this life philosophy as much as we did 🙂

Have a beautiful day,

NAE

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