Ikigai: the japanese philosophy to find purpose

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept that means your reason for being. ‘Iki’ in Japanese means ‘life,’ and ‘gai’ describes value or worth.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Ikigai as "a motivating force; something or someone that gives a person a sense of purpose or a reason for living". More generally it may refer to something that brings pleasure or fulfillment.

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai (a reason for living). And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world's longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life. 

It’s important to mention that while traditional Japanese philosophy focuses on finding your bliss, western interpretation has used ikigai as a method of finding your dream career.

Having a strong sense of ikigai means that each day is infused with meaning. 

It's the reason we get up in the morning. 

It's also the reason many Japanese never really retire (in fact there's no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense it does in English): they remain active and work at what they enjoy, because they've found a real purpose in life, with the happiness of always being busy.

The Japanese philosophy of ikigai dates back to the Heian period, between 794 and 1185.

Okinawa is a Japanese island south of the mainland. The island has the highest proportion of people over 100 years old in the world and Ikigai plays a major role in Okinawan culture. But this Japanese secret isn’t just linked to the elderly. It’s becoming popular with younger generations both in and out of Japan who are interested in having meaningful work lives.

Japan is ranked second in the world for life expectancy, with women expected to live 88.09 years and men expected to live 81.91 years. While it’s true that diet plays a role, many Japanese people believe ikigai has a lot to do with their longevity and living a happy life.

Ikigai may reveal the secrets to their longevity and happiness: how they eat, how they move, how they work, how they foster collaboration and community, and how they find the ikigai that brings satisfaction to their lives. 

And it provides practical tools to help you discover your own ikigai. Because who doesn't want to find happiness in every day?

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