BR: Ikigai – giving everyday meaning and joy.

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Ikigai is a traditional Japanese concept that embodies happiness in living. It is, essentially, the reason that you get up in the morning. This book is about finding your ikigai - identifying your purpose or passion and using this knowledge to achieve greater happiness in your life. Your ikigai doesn't have to be some grand ambition or highly noble life's purpose - it can be something simple and humble, like tending your garden or walking…

It is not a new idea that we all need some sort of ‘motivation’ or passion in order to get up in the mornings feeling alive and motivated. The question is how to find it? Usually we were told it is supposed to be related to what you do as a job. But according to the author, it can be anything and not necessarily limited to just one’s career – it could be taking care of your family or enjoying your hobby. I particularly love the example of the cleaners of the Japanese trains. How they take pride on what they do and how they are appreciated by the Japanese society. Most societies’ perception would be that as cleaners they are at the bottom of the career chain. They are not appreciated, and who would wake up happy everyday if only to get up to a thanklrss  job? But for these Japanese cleaners, the passengers’ comforts seem to be their ‘ikigai’. They maintain a high standard of cleanliness, so that the passengers can travel to work or school in comfort and they, in return, will be able to contribute back to society through what ever they do.

Other than the story of the Japanese train cleaners, I don’t find anything else that is interesting or extremely inspiring . My biggest qualm about this book is that, she only interviewed those people who were already deemed to be ‘successful’ and one of those lucky ones who already know what they want and need to do in their lives from a very young age. If only she could have included interviews from  those people who were ‘lost’ and actually found their ‘ikigai’ by chance or from Zero to Hero sort of story. That would have been more inspiring and more interesting.


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