Swapna Mirashi

What do you wake up for? What keeps you awake? What do you want to keep alive for? The answer to all the above is your ikigai – a Japanese term that loosely translates to one’s reason to live / purpose of life.

In line with its tag line – the Japanese secret to a long and happy life – the book presents a sort of a recipe based on authors’ study of centenarians in one Okinawa region of Japan. The recipe is simple – a well balanced and moderate diet, an active day with low intensity exercises, a fun social life blended in the lifestyle and an ikigai.

Your ikigai / reason to live could be anything – being a good parent or tending to your vegetable garden or flying to Mars or moon. But it should be one you deeply deeply care about and one that brings you joy and gets you in your ‘flow’ while working towards it.

The authors quote extensively from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ‘flow’ – explaining what it is, what can get you in a flow or out of it. One of the deterrents to the ‘flow’ that stuck onto me was multitasking. They say that multitasking is counterproductive as it keeps you away from getting into your flow.

  • Ikigai is when your passion, profession, vocation and mission come together.
  • Everyone has an Ikigai. One needs to only discover it within.

The book is a simple read. I read it over the New Year’s Eve. If you’ve read similar books or are familiar with Eastern philosophies, it may not stand out as ‘out of the world’ nor give you extremely unique insights. But it is a delightful read and a gentle reminder of your reason to be. It gives that reason/ purpose a charming name – ikigai and a memorable visual. So you can never lose the sight of your ikigai or if you are still in the process of discovering it, you may find a path to the discovery.