“What’s in it for me?” is a very selfish and honestly consistent thing we ask ourselves before we often take a risk. We want deep happiness and feel like what we’re about to get into has a purpose to it. So, it’s really not selfish at all, it’s human.

I ran into a great subject that opened my eyes to this very idea in a Japanese concept called ikigai. It provides a clear reason for living and when practiced consistently can create the very source you need to create a longer life of happiness.

On the island of Okinawa in Japan they’ve reasoned a true secret to longevity boils down to a reason for living or in our inner motivation for a specific purpose/activity. Ikigai is more accurately described as the intersection between four different elements:

  • What you’re passionate about
  • Where your skills lie
  • How you can earn a living
  • What the world needs

The good news in this belief, everyone has an ikigai. It can be exactly what you need to get yourself out of bed in the morning. The benefits of this commitment are clear. Okinawa has the world’s highest concentration of centenarians (a person who is 100 years or older) in the world. These centenarians have the low rates of both heart disease and dementia.

When you have purpose and move through your life with that purpose it keeps your mind active and reduces stress. Both of which are foundations for longevity. When we neglect the mind, don’t engage it with our passions, skills, drive, and purpose we accelerate the aging process on our bodies. We actively work on decreasing our health.

Immersing yourself in any activity, especially what your passionate about, can help keep you young. Any time we create a state of flow regularly it has the affect of increasing our enjoyment of life. That’s why any time you can take in a new experience, you should go for it. It is super healthy for the mind since flow focuses you on a single object for a sustained period of time. Ikigai practiced regularly, keeps you in a state of flow. The only thing to really be aware of is calibrating the level of difficulty. If it is to easy, you’ll get bored and check out. Challenge yourself.

Challenging yourself brings movement to the game. This also is important to living a long and happy life. According to a medical researcher Brigid Schulte in 2014, sitting adversely impacts your health. Even after just 30 minutes of sitting your body drastically shifts into a slower metabolic activity. Just getting up for 5 minutes every half hour is adequate to offset the negative affects of not doing so.

If you want to learn more about the positive impacts of ikigai? Here’s a few articles to check out I found interesting on the subject:

What is your Ikigai? · The View Inside Me

The Japanese Concept ‘Ikigai’ is a Formula for Happiness and Meaning

BBC – Capital – Ikigai: A Japanese concept to improve work and life

By finding your purpose that drives you each and every single day, you can focus your energy and extend your years. It’s simple and something anyone can adopt.

Have a great week and I hope you find your ikigai!

✌🏻 Shawn


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