Ikigai – The Japanese secret to a Long and Happy Life – deserves all the fame

I was seeing this book everywhere for the last couple of years. Always on the Crossword Bestseller shelf, in the home of every book-lover, in the hands of all influencers, on all aesthetic instagram feeds – there was no good place without this book. I have already said this multiple times in my book-blogs that I usually love to read books with stories and philosophical books make me dizzy. For this valid reason, I had delayed reading this international bestseller for a long time.

After a successful dream-like concert this weekend, while healing from my muscle injury, I finally got my hands on this book and finished it in 1 day. Ikigai – the book is the definition of simplicity. The hard cover book by Penguin is light in weight, with a beautiful readable font and feels as light on the mind as in your hands. I love the books which make you feel this way.

Like India, Japan is known for its traditional values, wisdom and knowledge dating back to centuries. From technological advancement to normal-daily-living, we see references of Japanese philosophies everywhere. I was first introduced to a Japanese philosophy of Poka-Yoke (mistake-proofing or error prevention) by my dad when he used to work in the automotive sector. I remember being fascinated by the simplicity yet effectiveness of the technique. Next in line was Kaizen while doing my MBA ,which is a Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement.

Later on, my curiosity was evoked by the variety of phrases and terms of Japanese origins for so many simple facets of life. Ikigai is one of them. In simple words Ikigai is the reason we get up in the morning. The book cruises through the real-life experiences of a number of people who have lived across a 100 years and tries to find their secret towards their long life. It is a beautiful read with no complex words and I urge everyone to read it at least once.

The book explains and describes a lot of terms, but I am going to mention my takeaways here – which I wish to document for my own sake

  • Nurturing friendships, eating light, getting enough rest and doing regular moderate exercise are all part of the equation of good health but at the heart of the joie de vivre that inspires these centenarians to cherish each new day is their IKIGAI
  • The 80 % rule of eating is one of the profound secrets – eating only till 80% of your stomach is full, stopping when you are still a little hungry.
  • The concept of moderate movement (not exercise). Moving through-out your life is necessary. Sedentary life is what is causing all modern-day problems.
  • Mental exercise – learning something new all the time, getting away from mundane-ness and challenging your brain to do something new all the time.
  • Cherishing relationships and being socially active and co-dependant.
  • Celebrating small things together with your loved ones.
  • Beyond resilience – the concept of Anti-fragility – this concept was so interesting that I urge every inquisitive mind to read this book at least for this concept.
  • Connection with nature – every person in the village of Longevity – Ogimi in Japan owns his/her own vegetable garden and grows his/her own vegetables
  • The power of being in the NOW and finding your Flow (something which makes you lose track of time) is commendable

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

What are you currently reading?

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