People in Okinawa live longer than any other ethnic groups in the world. In 2002, there were about 34 persons aged 100+ years for every 0.1 million inhabitants (highest ratio in the world). While stumbling through the internet, I found Ikigai; the secret for their longevity.
“Ikigai” means “a reason for being”. According to Japanese people, every person has an Ikigai. Ikigai could be awakened only by one’s own life experience, maturity and constant exploration of self. Awakening of Ikigai leads a person to inner peace, eternal happiness and understanding one’s existence in the world.
In Okinawan culture, Ikigai is the reason that wakes them up in the morning. The below Venn diagram explains how various aspects of life plays a key role in awakening one’s Ikigai.
Awakening of Ikigai stems from four basic priorities in life:
⇒What you love ?
⇒What you are good at ?
⇒For what you get paid for?
⇒What the world needs?
Clarity in those priorities and balancing them in daily life gives an individual a reason to live, reason to work, reason to enjoy life and reason to accomplish things. With each individual’s needs and potentials different and diverse, coming to terms with his/her priorities takes its own course of time.
Books about Ikigai:
Ikigai by Sebastian Marshall – a self-help text in finding your own Ikigai.
What makes life worth living? by Gordon Mathews – This book explores the varied approach in various life aspects (life, education, self-worth, self-realization, god etc.) by Japanese and American people.