A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Brian Johnson and his Optimize website through a quick video I watched on YouTube about “Ikigai”. Ikigai is the Japanese philosophy which translates into “reason to get up in the morning”, or “reason to live”.
I’ve thought about Ikigai whenever I consider what I’m doing with ZooFit. It’s honestly the most important thing I’ve done in my life, but I can’t seem to get other people to see the pertinence and relevance in today’s world. It becomes discouraging.
When I found Awakening Your Ikigai on Scribd, I decided to go ahead and listen to it, and see if anything struck me with inspiration and enlightenment. It’s a really short read, only three and a half hours long, so it was the perfect “theme for the day” so to speak.
When the Japanese refer to Ikigai, they aren’t talking about a job. Your reason for getting up in the morning is your purpose. What moves you to get up and go?
My favorite idea from this book was the creative flow of Ikigai. Those with Ikigai aren’t doing art or their craft for others. Others may well benefit or enjoy their life’s purpose, but that’s not the point of their work. Gagaku musicians are known to play their traditional music for crowds of absolutely no one. Sumo wrestlers dedicate themselves to their sport even though they never win a match.
This concept is important for me to take notice. I need to remember I am writing for me, and while I hope what I have to say is important enough for others to take notice, it shouldn’t be the point of my writing. My purpose in writing, when I have Ikigai, is to write for the sake of writing.
The pillars of Ikigai are important to understand as well. They are
1) Start small
2) Release yourself
3) Harmony and sustainability
4) The joy of little things
5) Be in the here and now
Flow is vital for Ikigai. It is creative energy, it is a vocation, a passion, a calling for something greater than ourselves.
Ikigai can be massive life altering ideas, like Conservation Fitness to me. It can be the small things, like my cats. Literally, my cats are my Ikigai, I get up in the morning for my cats. I live for making them happy. But Ikigai is about your own happiness.
I discovered this summer that even though I have a literal reason to get up in the morning, it is not my Ikigai. Ikigai isn’t something you HAVE to do, it’s something you DO. It’s what drives you and moves you.
What in your life is driving you? Do you have Ikigai? What is it? Find your harmony and joy and get up and do them!