Ikigai, that’s what it’s called. It is a Japanese word for “the thing that you live for” or “your purpose in life.” Knowing what motivates you every day to do what you do makes every unpleasant circumstance you encounter along the way bearable and in the long term, makes you live a long and happy life. Your Ikigai consists of those things that make you want to wake up in the morning and go grinding hard at work.
All the residents of Ogimi, a village in Japan, know their Ikigai and that’s why they have the highest percentage of centenarians. The word ‘retirement’ doesn’t exist in this village. Even at an old age, the people of Ogimi still move about happily, doing what they love. Their ‘Ikigai’ inspires them to work and they do so as long as their health allows them.
Living a purposeful life, for the Japanese, is the solution to enjoying a long and happy life. The estimated 3,024 people who live in Ogimi spend the days of their lives doing the work that makes them feel fulfilled, eating vegetables, giving and receiving support from their must-have small group of friends and staying committed to a group or role. So what can we learn from them?
Here are the 4 things to learn about the Japanese secret to purposeful living:
Having A Social Life Is Necessary
Moai is a Japanese word that means having a small group of friends, about five or so, that grows to become family. In the course of interviewing the residents of Ogimi, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles (authors of the book, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life) discovered that nearly all of them had a moai. This small group of friends supports each other throughout life as a family would.
So, apparently, having a moai is one of the keys to living a long and happy life on earth.
Maintaining A Healthy Diet Is Important
The natives of Ogimi are vegetarians, they live off a plant-based diet. Their meals consist of colorful vegetables like asparagus and pak choi. And they don’t eat to be 100% full. Once they are 80% full, they stop eating.
If you can incorporate a healthy diet into your lifestyle, you may consider yourself well on your way to living a long and purposeful life.
Those Who Do The Work They Love Live Longer
Statistics show that those whose jobs are less demanding live longer than those whose jobs are overly demanding. While there is no definite reason for that, the discrepancy has been traced to the fact that people with less demanding jobs usually have time to socialize.
Either way, when you do the work you love or that makes you feel fulfilled as the Ogimi people do, you won’t get easily stressed or feel depressed and that could bring about living a long life.
Finding Your Purpose And Staying Committed To It Is Essential
Not everyone is lucky enough to know, without doubt, what their ‘Ikigai’ is. But the natives of Ogimi believe that knowing what drives you to do what you do every day gives you the energy to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
There are certain ways you could go about finding your Ikigai, they include asking yourself what you love, what it is you excel at, what you can receive payment for now that could transcend into your future job and what the world needs. Answering each of these questions can help you discover your Ikigai.
When you find your Ikigai, stay committed to it.