Ikigai” by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles gives you the life-changing tools to uncover your personal IKIGAI. It focuses on finding our purpose in life and throwing ourselves into our passions. No matter what your age is, it’s never too late to work on your ikigai.

Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.

Japanese Proverb

People of Japan believe that our IKIGAI is hidden deep inside each of us, and finding it requires a patient search. According to those born on Okinawa, the island with the most centenarians in the world, our IKIGAI is the reason we get up every morning. It roughly translates into a reason for being happy.

Our IKIGAI is different for all of us, but the common thing about us is that we are all searching for meaning of life. We all want to be happy, isn’t it? And in order to be happy, you need to spend your time doing something with IKIGAI.

Components of ‘IKIGAI’

There are four components that you need to check off in order to achieve ikigai and without all four you will never truly be happy.

1. Something you love:

We all have something that makes us feel good. Many of us enjoy the art of reading, writing, singing, and dancing because it takes us into a state of bliss where we feel good.

2. Something you are good at.

It means that you’re able to put in the time and effort in order to get better at a skill. It’s being able to improve.

3. Something you can be paid for.

You need to get paid enough to live comfortably. After all, you need to pay your bills anyhow. If you are not making enough money to live without stress, then you can never achieve happiness.

4. Something that the world needs.

You need to find something that creates a visible positive outcome for those around you. Professors, doctors, or scientists fall into this category as the world needs them.

ikigai-diagram as depicted in the book

The interesting thing about this Japanese concept is that you can tell where you are in life and what you need to work on by looking at the components you have so far.

  • If you know something that you love and are good at, then you’ve what’s called Passion. People who fall into this category are all aspiring artists. But the problem that they face is the fact that they don’t get paid enough. If you belong to this category, then you need to focus on marketing yourself so that you can start getting paid well.
  • If you have something that you love and can see how the world needs it, then you have what’s called a Mission. A lot of people who fall into this category are amateur bloggers and activists. These are the people who want to bring positive change to the world. Unfortunately, they aren’t good enough to actually convince people to join their cause. If you are in this category, then you need to focus on getting better at your domain, and figuring out how to convince people instead of just stating your opinion loudly.
  • If you are something you get paid well for and are good at, then you have a Profession. The maximum number of people prefer Profession to Passion or Mission. But if that 9 to 5 job is bothering you, then it’s quite a probability that you don’t love your work. You need to figure out how it can actually work for you.
  • If you know something that the world needs and can be paid for too, then it’s termed as Vocation.

The 10 rules of ‘IKIGAI’

  • Try to stay active, don’t retire.

Many Japanese people never really retire. They keep doing what they love for as long as their health allows.

  • Slow down and relax. Don’t be in a hurry.

Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to the quality of life. When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.

  • Don’t fill your stomach. Eat only until you are 80 percent full.
  • Surround yourself with good companions. Take time to nurture your relationships.

Okinawans live by the principle of ICHARIBA CHODE, a local expression that means treat everyone like a brother.

  • Get in shape for your next birthday by exercising daily. Cultivate good habits.
  • Smile more.

Related post: 30 Uplifting reasons to make you smile today.

  • Reconnect with nature.

The Japanese are skilled at bringing nature and technology together: not man versus nature, but rather a union of the two.

  • Live in the moment. Be in the present.
  • Follow your IKIGAI.


IKIGAI is the place where your needs, desires, ambitions, and satisfaction meets. It’s a place of balance. Having a clearly defined IKIGAI brings satisfaction, happiness, and meaning to our lives. The purpose of this book summary is to help you find yours and to share insights from Japanese philosophy on the lasting health of body, mind, and spirit. So, do read this book, find and work towards your IKIGAI and make every single day of your life worth living.

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Nature lover, voracious learner, keen observer

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