• Yasharth

3 Key takeaways from Ikigai - a must-read

An overview

Ikigai, a small yet comprehensive book with a lot to take from it. I came across this book in a small bookstore and was immediately attracted to it. It is the first self-improvement/help book I have read. It talks about finding your purpose, about finding a reason to jump out of bed every morning. It mentions how having an “Ikigai” is the secret to staying happy and living a long life.

An active mind is a secret to a youthful body. You should not retire, in the sense that you should pursue your passions to the very end. It is as important to give your brain a workout as it is to keep your body fit. Even the simple act of playing a board game can offer new stimuli and prevent the depression that comes with solitude.

Stress and anxiety are one of the most common problems modern society faces. According to researchers at the Heidelberg University Hospital, antibodies react to stress in the same way they react to pathogens. This damages healthy cells, leading them to age prematurely. More studies have revealed that the greater the stress, the greater the degenerative effect on the cells.

Stress in moderation can be beneficial, they help us overcome challenges in our daily lives. However, the stress that human beings face today is harmful. We should be fully conscious of our feelings so that we can control and limiting thoughts that tend to spiral out of control. One way to reach mindfulness is through meditation, breathing exercises and yoga, which we will talk about further.

Takeaway 1: Try to incorporate movements whenever you can. Take a small walk after meals. Replace junk foods with fruits to curb the urge to snack. Get more than 7 hours of sleep.

Sitting is more harmful than you realise. Being sedentary can lead to diseases, increased appetite and even certain kinds of cancer. It is necessary to change our daily habits to incorporate movements whenever possible. Spending too much time seated at work or home not only reduces muscular and respiratory fitness but also increases appetite and curbs the desire to participate in activities. Here are some suggestions by the author to improve your sedentary lifestyle:

· Walk to work, or just go on a walk for at least twenty minutes each day

· Use your feet instead of an elevator or escalator

· Participate in social or leisure activities

· Replace your junk food with fruit and you’ll have less of an urge to snack

· Get the right amount of sleep

· Play with children or pets

· Be conscious of your daily routine in order to detect harmful habits and replace them with positive ones

Takeaway 2: Accept who you are. Don’t create meaning in your life, discover it.

Discover your unique meaning in life. We all have the capacity to do noble or terrible things, which side of this equation you end up with is based on your decisions. Have the courage to throw yourself into your passion.

Find out what you love to do, what the world needs, what you are good at, and what can you be paid for. Discover what you are meant to do, and you will never retire; find a reason to jump out of bed every day and you will never age.

Logotherapy and Morita therapy suggests that you should accept your feelings and discover your meaning in life. We should oversee our actions, as they are what affect our emotions. Keep asking yourself, “What should I be doing right now?”. Maybe you know the answer to this or perhaps you need to work harder to find it.

Takeaway 3: Waking up early doesn’t matter, what counts is what you do while you are awake.

Flow is when you are completely engrossed in the task at hand. It is when your productivity is at its peak. It is when your concentration level is at its highest.

When we flow, we are concentrated on a concrete task without any distractions, time flies by because we enjoy ourselves.

Strategies to achieve flow:

  1. Choose a difficult task (but not too difficult) Stretch outside your comfort zone so that they are interesting enough to keep going but not hard enough to give up. Add a little something extra to push you outside your comfort zone. For eg. Playing the piano only by sheet music without listening to the piece.

  2. Don’t obsess over your goal so much that you cannot concentrate on the task at hand. Having a clear objective is important in achieving flow, but we also have to know how to leave it behind when we get down to business.

  3. Concentrate on a single task. We often think multitasking will save us time, but in most cases, it lowers the quality of work being done. Focusing on a single task is key to achieving flow. Our brains can take in millions of bits of information but can process a few dozen per second.


This book helps you change your mindset towards life, it helps you approach your days with a positive attitude. It is a must-read - no matter which field you belong to or how old you are. Its simple language makes it easy to read for everyone so you must not hold any excuse. Drop a comment if this post inspired you to discover meaning in your life!


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