Applying The Rules of IKIGAI for a more fulfilled life!

Ramesh Dewangan

CEO at Quantum Vision Consulting


Ikigai is a Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living.

The book "IKIGAI: The Japanese Secret To a Long and Happy Life" by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles distills 10 rules from the wisdom of these long-living residents from Ogimi, a small village in Okinawa, Japan. You could interpret the rules as the lifestyle habits that enable the senior residents of Ogami to live long and enjoy their ikigai.

Here is my summary of the 10 Rules of Ikigai:

1.     Stay active; don’t retire: Those who give up the things they love doing lose their purpose in life. It is very important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing value to others, helping out, and shaping the world around you, even after your “official” professional activity has ended.”

2.      Take it slow: Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to the quality of life. As the saying goes, “Walk slowly, and you’ll go far.” When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning. If you are in a hurry, it incites that you are not in control and are under stress. By taking things slow, it means you are more mindful of your decisions, in control, and more often than not doing the things you want to do.

3.     Don’t fill your stomach: Less is more when it comes to eating for long life, too. According to the 80 percent rule, in order to stay healthier longer, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.

4.     Surround yourself with good friends: Friends are the best medicine for confiding worries over a good chat, sharing stories that brighten your day, getting advice, having fun, dreaming . . . in other words, living. People who isolate themselves can’t have ikigai – meaning or purpose. Without relationships and friendships, we can’t experience connection, intimacy, or love, nor can we share our joys, hopes, struggles, and fears. When we consider that we now spend more of our time alone looking at screens than we do spending time with our friends, this rule acts as a reminder of the importance of friendship and all its benefits. Instead of looking through a social media feed, call an old friend and make a date to catch up.

5.     Get in shape for your next birthday: Water moves; it is at its best when it flows fresh and doesn’t stagnate. The body you move through in life needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time. Plus, exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.

6.     Smile: A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing – it also helps make friends. It’s good to recognize the things that aren’t so great, but we should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world so full of possibilities.

7.     Reconnect with nature: Though most people live in cities these days, human beings are made to be part of the natural world. We should return to it often to recharge our batteries.

8.     Give thanks to your ancestors and nature: They provided you with the air you breathe and the food you eat, to your friends and family, to everything that brightens your days and makes you feel lucky to be alive. Spend a moment every day giving thanks, and you’ll watch your stockpile of happiness grow.

9.     Live in the moment: Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering. From the moment we wake up to the time we fall asleep, we are constantly running an internal dialogue with ourselves. Our mind jumps from one worry to another and we forgot to be aware, present, mindful, and alive in each moment.

10.  Follow your ikigai: There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, as Viktor Frankl says, your mission is to discover it.

You may not be living in a small village, you probably work in Corporate or live in a well-resourced town or city, but you have many responsibilities, financial stress, relationship problems, and many things on your mind and so on. The 10 rules are very effective principles you could adopt to improve your health and well-being so you can discover and live your ikigai. It may be hard for you to adopt all 10 rules, but you can start with some of them you find easier.

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Ramesh Dewangan

CEO at Quantum Vision Consulting

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