I’m reading a book at the moment about the secret to finding your Ikigai. This is a summary of part one of the book.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means your ‘reason for being’ and I stumbled upon this book at a National Trust Shop the other week! Now I’m fascinated by the concept.
It talks about life in Japan, a country which has the highest number of centenarians in the world. What is their secret is to a long and happy life?
Like all good diets (& I should know I’ve done them all) the book recommends a balanced diet, ‘everything in moderation’, regular exercise and getting enough sleep. (I laughed out loud at the sleep part... I’m a mum of a toddler so yeh, that’s never gonna happen.)
It goes on to talk about ‘having a purpose’ and that we, as humans, are happiest when we have one, be that looking after someone, having a job, playing a sport or whatever floats your boat really.
Conversely, not having a purpose, makes us sad. This makes me think of the times I have heard of people retiring and then not long after passing away, or old people losing their spouse and the other dying not long after, they’ve lose their purpose.
So the book makes the suggestion to never retire! To keep your mind active and retain purpose in your life for a longer lifespan.
Now, the chapter I am up to, I can really relate. It's about ‘finding your flow’. Do you find yourself procrastinating? We have so many daily distractions that stop us finding our flow from answering emails and texts, to social media monitoring. Is it any wonder we can’t get our heads in the game?
The book makes you think about a time that you found yourself lost in your work or some sort of activity. Not because you have to but because you're actually enjoying yourself so much that you look up and hours have passed. What were you doing? That’s probably your Ikigai!
I know my ‘flow’ was first realised whilst creating my friend's wedding invitation. Firstly it was fun to do, it made her happy, it meant a lot to her and my creativity was in full swing. I could literally do it all day!
On further reflection, it’s more than that, it came down to her reaction and how much she liked it. I realised it was actually ‘pleasing others’, that put me in my happy place.
So that’s what my aim is now, to make others happy, by taking a load off their busy lives, by helping them realise themselves, their brands and their true potential. That’s my purpose and if I can make a couple of quid in the process then I’ll be well on my way to finding my Ikigai.