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The Japanese Secret to Happiness, Longevity and Job Satisfaction

Do you hate getting up in the morning? Don’t see yourself as a morning person? Ikigai is a word used by the Japanese to explain (as Ken Mogo, neuroscientist, defines it) “your reason to get up in the morning”.

Whilst some of us do not experience this Monday morning dread, a lot of us do and it may even be shortening our life expectancy.

Many people who are already rather successful in their career will admit that even they haven’t found their ikigai, ye it is clear that all the craftsmen, teachers and farmers out the have.

So what is ikigai and how can we adopt it into our lives so that we can find the joys in even the most mundane of days?
To find your Ikigai, you must ask yourself these four questions:

  • What do I love?
  • What am I good at?
  • What can I be paid for now?
  • What does the world need?

Once you’ve asked yourself those four vital questions, you can then begin to put together your own version of the above image and begin finding your Ikigai, and eventually lead yourself to a more fulfilling life.

Many people believe that their job is the issue but more often than not is an unfulfilled mind-set that holds someone back. Once you find the balance, things often because much easier.
In the book “Ikigai the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Hector Garcia and Fransesc Miralles, they state the 10 rules to follow when in search for your 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% fill
  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

Life expectancy in Japan is among some of the best in the world, even though they have their fair share of natural disatsters and economic challenges.
It is clear that a sense of belonging and a clear purpose (alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise) is the magical ingredients for real happiness and success in life.
Take Jiro Ono as an example. He is the oldest Michelin starred chef in the world and at the age of 92, he’s still thriving: