Ikigai: Giving every day meaning and joy Flexibound – 24 May 2018
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An exploration of the Japanese concept of Ikigai, and how to apply its principles to your own life to find joy and purpose every day.
About the Author
Yukari is a freelance journalist and writer based in Los Angeles. She grew up in Tokyo and spent most of her childhood in Japan before moving to New York with her family. After graduating from Keio University in 2004, she began working as a freelance translator and writer. At the same time she set up her blog, TechDoll.jp. While most of her writing is in Japanese, her work has also featured on the BBC World website. www.techdoll.jp @yukari77 (Twitter and Instagram).
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Its a book aimed at getting you to crank back on the way we all tend to barrel through life at breakneck speed as if its a race to get to the end first (the end being death i assume?). It talks about chnaging the focus of your life and sitting back and actually thinking about what makes you happy.
I think we are all guilty of periods of just drifting along without much thought until a major thing makes us think. It can be a funeral or birth, or even something small and we realise life has passed us by and we spend most of it doing things we actually either dont care about or dont want to do.
Ikigai seems to be about actually thinking about what makes you happy and focussing on doing that. Its about looking for the happy in even odious tasks (like work!) and creating a better work life balance.
This is a nice little book that wont take long to read. The worst thing i dont like about the book is where 1/3 of it is given over to interviews with people so they can give their views of what ikigai means to them. I can see the point of a few interviews but a third of the book? bit extreme!
I actually put a lot of the positivity in my life down to the fact that I used to be woken by an alarm telling me the latest news now it is the birds in the trees in the garden.
The first hour of the day sets the mood for the next 23!!
This charming little book (and it is genuinely pocket sized) is so beautifully calm-making with its lovely delicate blue cover and inner illustrations invoke delight and serious intent.
It is a book for meditation Yukari invites you to think deeply on the nature of your personal achievements = how you got to be you and what your continuing motivations for remaining happy and positive.
This is a little book to take with you, to find quiet spots where you can think your own untroubled thoughts, investigate your own comfort zones and exchange with friends your own findings.
I have used the book by taking one question at a time and giving it as much time as is needed:
"What brings happiness to my every day life?"
"What puts a smile on my face just thinking about it?"
"What keeps me from being bored?"
These are just uncomplicated questions that can take your mind into that complex box of memories we all take with us and the "aanswers" ~ there are no wrong answers ~ can reveal so much about us.
As a shared experience this can be a delight as a soitary one it can bring trouble to the surface to be discarded s unnecessary baggage.
I truly loved this little book ; it ia life-changer
There are little insights and sparkles of inspiration throughout but equally there are contradictions such as stating that work isn't really ikagai for most Japanese people, then interviewing successful Japanese people of whom most say work is their ikagai, or at least the foundation for/area of their work is their ikagai. I was a little bemused, although it did strike a sense of how cynical and financial or positional 'success' driven we Westerners are when you hear how it's the nature and value of people's work and how that relates to their passions or self value that drives Japanese ambition more so over financial gain such as with the cleaners for the Bullet train and some of the interviewees, that's not to say there are no financially or ruthlessly ambitious Japanese people, but a desire to be useful and helpful not just to your boss or customers but your work/interaction for wider society seems to be a cultural difference I notice in contrast with older more financially powerful Western generations and what they pressure younger generations to feel/do.
This I feel is a big impact on my own self value and happiness or Ikagai as here in the west stay at home mums tend to be derided as lazy or lacking ambition and that we had better get back to work, and any work at that, or we will be unemployable and never be of value to society again with an older relative even accusing me of having been fired because I chose not to return to work after 8 months maternity leave. This book reframes that thinking as your Ikigai is mutable, it can be lifelong and it can be transient, but to find joy between the successful moments instead of just at the end of ambition and how your Ikagai can adapt when life throws you curveballs, or provide new ones alongside lifelong Ikagai, or how they may come to an end and be replaced and that's ok and doesn't mean you've failed, only that you have changed and have new purpose to get up in the morning.
This is a breathe of fresh air in a society where people are expected to be Instagram perfect and fulfil cultural expectations of success (and the studies that show the psychological impact of this) rather than embrace their own happiness and I like how this isn't a 'time out' from the rat race like hygge has been adopted in the UK, but a reframing of mindset to help give constant purpose instead of targets and past glories.