Ikigai, the purpose of life: 5 books that will help us find it

Ikigai is a Japanese word that means “reason for being”. According to Japanese culture we all have one but how can we find it? Let’s see it together

The term Ikigai it is not translatable into Italian. Ikiru means to live while kai indicates a purpose. Therefore, if we want to paraphrase the term, we would say that, translated, it means “The purpose of life”. What makes us wake up in the morning? Why do we do what we do?

Okinawa’s Centenarians | Ikigai, the purpose of life: 5 books that will help us find out

In the world there are five geographical areas called zone blu. These are areas where the average life span of the inhabitants is higher than the world one. The first of all is Okinawa.

On the Japanese island of Okinawa there are about twenty-four centenarians for every hundred thousand inhabitants. Their culture has therefore been studied for a long time to try to understand the reason behind this inexplicable longevity. The inhabitants of the island live very well, following a healthy diet and developing an excellent approach to physical activity from an early age. Their secrets are l’Ikigai, a strong reason for living, food and friendship (Moai). Here there is no word retirement, seen as a retreat to a solitary and sad life but everyone, even the centenarians, continues to work and have fun.

This way of life is far from the Western one because we are used to developing a precise idea of ​​the future, of work, without worrying about what makes us really feel good. We think about what will come by living what it is now, not being able to enjoy the present even a little. Retirement is a goal but to feel good you need a life purpose, one reason of to be.

How to reach Ikigai? | Ikigai, the purpose of life: 5 books that will help us find out

We tend to see life as one words, a long staircase from which you can fall, climb, descend but the Ikigai method sees life as a circle. It is therefore not a question of descending, climbing or falling but of turn until the right path is found. A complete life cycle that covers various areas of the same importance therefore without any priority. A life project that brings us back to the day itself, to the present, to the valid reason for getting up in the morning and to the responsibility of making that day unique by deciding how to start it.

What we have to do is unite the pillars of our existence and enclose them in them areas vitali. But what are these areas? Passion (what you love to do), mission (what you need), vocation (what you do best), profession (what you get paid for). When there is harmony, or when these areas converge, we will have reached Ikigai, hence the zone blu which will be the meaning of our life.

The preconceptions of life | Ikigai, the purpose of life: 5 books that will help us find out

Day after day we are transported by preconceptions of life. We are born to follow a precise plan, to study, to find a job, to create a family, to grow old and to pass these principles on to generations to come because so we have been told, so we have been taught. Thinking about a better future we lose sight of the present, which is the real engine of what will come, and failing to live it fully, we live in eternal anguish and a growing anxiety for what is and will be.

The Ikigai method tells us to stop every day and ask ourselves what we really want, what our passion, vocation, mission and profession tell us and what ours tells us. heart so that we can follow him and not social conditions and beliefs.

5 recommended books

Now that we have explored enough the term and the Ikigai method, here are some books that talk about it:

  • Ikigai – The Japanese method of Bettina Lemke
  • Ikigai – What Worth Living For by Sele Calloni Williams and Noburu Okuda Do
  • The Ikigai method. The secrets of Japanese philosophy for a long and happy life by Hèctor Garcia and Francesc Miralles
  • The little book of Ikikai. Ken Mogi’s Japanese Way to Happiness
  • IKIGAI: The Japanese method of happiness and a life worthy of being by Isato Takeda

We just have to look for our Ikigai because we all have one, we just have to keep turning!