According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. An ikigai is essentially ‘a reason to get up in the morning’. A reason to enjoy life.
Having spent most of the last few years helping dozens and dozens of entrepreneurs find their ikigai, whilst also searching for my own, I can now visualise where it belongs.
Your ikigai lies at the centre of those interconnecting circles. If you are lacking in one area, you are missing out on your life’s potential. Not only that, but you are missing out on your chance to live a long and happy life.
I have had a long time obsession with outliers, and interestingly enough, there are some outlier communities in the world that live far longer than average. If you are interested in learning more about this, watch Dan Buettner’s TED talk on How to Live to 100+. There are some surprising conclusions about the factors that create a long and healthy life. One of the most significant factors is ikigai.
These days, my reason for getting out of bed is to work on projects that reimagine society and education. For someone who spent decades struggling to find a reason to get out of bed, it is now a refreshing change to have this deep sense of purpose. My health and wellbeing have radically improved during recent years, too. The primary reason for this has not been the healthy choices I have made or the diets I have followed, but because I now live with a sense of purpose – and that is the platform for all the other decisions I make.
In The Dandelion Project, we are looking to make Guernsey the best place to live on earth by 2020. Part of that mission is discovering how we can all live a long and healthy life. One of our moonshot goals is for Guernsey to become the first country on earth to have a life expectancy of 100.
We have created this goal to challenge our community to look at healthcare in a radically different way. Living a long life has very little to do with medicine and surgery, which is where most of our health care spending goes. It has everything to do with moving, eating and meaning. All of which can be achieved at no cost to the community.
If we can come together with a collective sense of belief and purpose and take action on this, our population of 65,000 will live longer and be in better health. All without a single doctor’s appointment or pill!
The secret to a long and happy life is not to live in the hope of a great life tomorrow. It is to live with intention today. What I love is that this is possible not only at the individual level, but entire communities can learn from it, as well.
Have you found your ikigai?
– Are you doing something that you love?
– That the world needs?
– That you are good at?
– And that you can be paid for?
How can you live with purpose today, to live a longer and healthier life?
As ever, I am interested to hear your thoughts, comments, and experiences. Please share them in the comments section below.