Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why do you get out of bed in the morning?

She knows.
DeWitt Wallace, who founded The Reader's Digest, used to ask people, "Why were you born?"

If you can answer that question, you might live seven years longer.

People who study things have studied certain cultures that embrace the Japanese spirit of ikigai. In a seven-year study of 43,000 Japanese, for example, researchers found that individuals who believed that their life was worth living were less likely to die than those without this belief.

A National Geographic study showed that some of the happiest and longest living people in the world are from Okinawa, Japan. Their average lifespan is seven years longer than ours in North America. They have more 100-year-olds than anywhere else in the world.

There you go, boys and girls. Get yourself some ikigai.

Long ago I picked up the idea that to choose the right career you should determine 1) what you know how to do, 2) what you like to do, 3) and what the world needs. Note that you may not like doing what you know how to do. Note also that No. 3 is ambiguous: it could mean what the world will pay for or it could mean the world needs -- more love, for example. ( I think it needs more chocolate, but I don't know how to do that.)

Well, wouldn't you know the Japanese had already figured it out. Ikigai is believed to be the union of four elements: What you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.

Please note that this does not mean what you do for work. It can very well mean what you do on weekends or what you do when you retire from work.

Heck, on Okinawa they don’t even have a word for retirement. Literally nothing in their language describes the concept of stopping work completely. So they just keep on ikigaiing, if that's a word, until they drop. It just takes a lot longer for them to drop.

They say that determining your ikigai takes a lot of mental work. Maybe. But what is it that you find yourself doing more than anything else? Doing when all the other stuff is done. For me it's writing. It's my ikigai.

(Thanks, Bev)

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