In Japanese, Okinawa has a truly unique phenomenon that makes the island different from the rest of the world. This phenomenon is called "ikigai". In this article, we will look at what this phenomenon is and how to find your ikigai.
The world-famous writer, explorer and traveler Dan Buettner, with the support of National Geographic, has spent five years identifying and studying special places on our planet, which he later called "blue zones". The Blue Zones are areas where there is the highest concentration long-lived people.
In the course of his work, Buettner, along with his colleagues, sought to identify what are the patterns of behavior, culture and nutrition that allow the inhabitants of these territories to live much longer than people live in other places on the Earth.
So, one of the most interesting places was the Japanese island of Okinawa. By the way, the percentage of centenarians in Japan is generally very high, but the concentration of centenarians in Okinawa is simply amazing. Men, for example, live here, on average, up to 88 years, and women even more – up to 92 years.
Of course, one can refer to the fact that the Japanese diet consists mainly of seafood, fruits and vegetables. You can also point to the traditional presence in the life of the Japanese physical activity и spiritual practices East. However, there is a truly unique phenomenon in Okinawa, thanks to which the island differs not only from the rest of Japan, but from the whole world in general. This phenomenon is called "ikigai".
What is ikigai?
To begin with, as a brief illustration, we will give one curious story, which is often told by the Japanese themselves:
“Once upon a time, in a small Japanese town, a woman lay on her deathbed due to illness. At some certain moment, she began to feel that her soul is separated from the body, rises up and finds herself right in front of the spirits of her ancestors.
One of the spirits asked her in a loud voice, "Who are you?"
The woman replied timidly, “I am the mayor’s wife.”
But the spirit said to this: “I did not ask who your husband is. Tell me who are you?
The woman replied: “I am a mother of four children and a school teacher.”
But the spirit was tireless – he said: “Did I ask you to tell me how many children you have and what you worked for?”
This whole conversation continued until the woman answered the spirit: “I am the person who wakes up every morning to help my family and teach children at school.”
As soon as she said this, her soul returned to the body, and the disease began to recede – the woman found her ikigai.
It is rather difficult to give any unambiguous and specific translation of the Japanese term "ikigai". But if you don’t get attached to the number of words, then you can interpret it something like this: ikigai is what fills a person’s life with meaning; what makes a person wake up with joy every day.
To put it a little differently, ikigai is a capacious and elegant, like all Eastern culture, definition of the main vital interest of a person and the occupation that makes his life happy and joyful.
Despite the fact that ikigai is an integral part of life and philosophy for the people of Okinawan, something about it is known in the Western world, and very famous people who managed to reach unsurpassed heights in life are guided by it.
For example, Wilbur Wright (the man who invented the airplane) said that he and his brother could not sleep and wait until the morning to do their favorite job – designing an airplane as soon as possible. And the founder of the world famous company "Apple", unfortunately, untimely departed, Steve Jobs advised people to do only what they love more than anything in the world, because only this can lead to their success and prosperity. Every morning, Steve Jobs looked at himself in the mirror and asked himself the question of whether he would like to do what he does that day if it were the last day of his life? And if for several days in a row he answered this question in the negative, this served as an indicator for him that it was time to change something.
Only an interest in life and a thirst to start a favorite activity as soon as possible and do it as best as possible give people the feeling that they mean something, give life meaning and a sense of satisfaction.
If a person knows his ikigai, he is spared the occurrence of depressive states, is able to remain optimistic and be in a cheerful mood, practically not prone to destructive habits. It is for this reason that absolutely every person who wants to live meaningfully, happily ever after, is simply obliged to find a reason for himself to get up in the morning with joy – to find his ikigai.
But how to do that?
How to find your ikigai
Finding your ikigai, of course, is not a very simple matter, because our consciousness is often clouded by a lot of things, problems, worries, imposed values and substituted ideals. Therefore, to overcome these barriers, it is quite likely that a lot of time and effort will be required.
The search for ikigai is, of course, associated with the adoption of a number of important and, perhaps, even fateful decisions. But if you do not accept them, then ikigai may not be found, or it may be too late to find it. So, the sooner you begin to strive for your ikigai, the sooner contentment and peace will enter your life.
But let's get down to practice.
In order for the search for ikigai to begin to give the desired results, you must start asking yourself specific questions, namely:
- Achievement questions: Which of your life accomplishments are most valuable to you? Take paper and pencil and write down two or three things that you are truly proud of. Answering this question can be a great start in the process of finding your ikigai;
- Knowledge questions: What do you think your unique skills and knowledge express? In what areas do you consider yourself a professional? What things do you tell your friends and acquaintances with rapture and pleasure? What literature is most interesting to you? What websites do you like to visit? The answers to these questions will help you find the right direction in your further search for ikigai;
- Feeling Questions: Here you need to understand that the activity in the area in which you are well versed will be the key to promotion for you, but if you are striving for happiness and prosperity, then you should do exactly what you love. Ikigai is an area in which success in business is not very important when it is not accompanied by real spiritual joy. Think about what business could become your life's work;
- Questions about self-esteem: do you have an image in your mind that you aspire to? What are you dreaming about? Are you a writer, businessman, motorcycle racer, librarian or Nobel laureate? It is likely that the way you present yourself can become the filter that will select only the most necessary from your actions;
- Questions about personality: there are no absolutely identical people in the world. Different people have different types of personality, and different types of personality are indicated or contraindicated for this or that activity If you know your personality type, you will be able to understand why something brings you joy, and something gives you continuous torment.
In the process of finding ikigai, a special map can also help you, clearly showing exactly where YOUR business is located. It looks like this:
You can print this map, or better yet, draw your own. Do this and keep it with you at all times.
No one can give an exact answer to the question of when insight will come to you and you will understand what your ikigai is. Perhaps this will happen as early as this week, or perhaps in a few months or even a year. But this is not so important, because ikigai is worth it: just once you understand what it is for you personally, you will never be the same again, and your life will take on a completely different color.
FINALLY: In addition to the questions that help you find ikigai, there are other methods that greatly speed up and simplify this process. You can't help but notice that the topic of ikigai is very closely intertwined with how well a person knows himself. After all, in fact, ikigai is what comes along with self-knowledge – when a person begins to recognize himself and the characteristics of his being from the maximum possible number of sides.
We wish you success in your self-discovery and search for ikigai!
A source: 4brain.ru
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