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Finding Purpose: The Ikigai Way

January 2024 – George Lee

Themes: Book review, Purpose,

Finding Purpose:
The Ikigai Way

Our exploration of ‘purpose’ directs our attention to Japan, particularly focusing on Ikigaithe unique reason that ignites our excitement to start each day. While we understand the significance of diet and exercise for a healthy life, the emphasis on purpose is often overlooked. 

Much older Japanese man in his woodwork room

Ikigai, rooted in Japanese tradition, empasises the value of leading a meaningful life. It goes beyond mere happiness; it significantly enhances well-being and potentially adds years to our lives. When we consider the advice from Okinawa’s elders, known for their long and fulfilling lives, urging us to find our Ikigai for a truly satisfying life, it really gets us thinking about the importance of purpose and fulfillment. 

Ikigai involves four key components: 

Passion: The activities that bring us profound joy and fulfillment. 

Skills: Our natural talents where we thrive effortlessly. 

Contribution: The actions we take to positively impact society or make meaningful differences in others’ lives. 

Profession: The means of sustaining oneself financially. 

When these pieces fit together, they form Ikigai—an incredible space where you feel deeply inspired and truly alive. Finding your Ikigai isn’t just about that spark finding that ‘spark’ it becomes a guiding light, helping you figure out your life’s meaning and what you want to leave behind. This discovery can have a big impact on your health and how long you live.  

“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.” Hector Garcia

For those eager to explore Ikigai, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesca Miralles is highly recommended. This book has resonated with people globally, offering life-changing tools to uncover personal Ikigai, urging readers to prioritise purpose, nurture connections, and pursue passions. 

Much older Japanese woman with an octopus

Photography by Beth MacDonald

Garcia and Miralles adeptly simplify complex ideas, making them accessible to diverse audiences. They skillfully intertwine Japanese philosophy, scientific insights, and personal anecdotes, illustrating how these elements contribute to a sense of purpose and fulfillment. The book seamlessly integrates inspiring stories, emphasising that Ikigai is achievable for everyone, regardless of circumstances. 

Furthermore, the book explores Japanese lifestyle and culture, shedding light on practices contributing to longevity and happiness, aligning with one’s Ikigai. Garcia and Miralles’s engaging writing style, coupled with illustrations throughout, enhances the reading experience, reinforcing key concepts. 

‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ stands as a timeless guide for those seeking greater fulfilment and purpose. It invites readers to reflect on their values, passions, talents, and potential impact, making it invaluable for those seeking a more meaningful existence. 

Feeling inspired to uncover your unique purpose and discover your Ikigai? ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ is your go-to guide. Reflect on your values, passions, and talents – let this book be your compass as you explore your potential impact on the world. Start your journey to a more meaningful existence today. 

For those interested, the book is available to listen to on YouTube below.

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