Ikigai summary


Rating: 8/10

Author: Héctor García Read The Original

The Book in 3 Sentences

  • Meditation is key to achieving Ikigai and can be mastered by anyone.
  • Finding passion in the work you do everyday, is key because you want to be entering a state of flow almost daily.
  • The diet of the oldest living Japanese include drinking tea, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and making sure to not overeat.

Ikigai Summary

I IKIGAI The art of staying young while growing old

  • Ikigai => “the happiness of always being busy,”

II ANTIAGING SECRETS Little things that add up to a long and happy life

  • There is a tension between what is good for someone and what they want to do.
  • Our neurons start to age while we are still in our twenties. This process is slowed, however, by intellectual activity, curiosity, and a desire to learn. Dealing with new situations, learning something new every day, playing games, and interacting with other people seem to be essential antiaging strategies for the mind.
  • cortisol increases the release of dopamine and blood glucose, which is what gets us “charged up” and allows us to face challenges.
  • Mindfulness can also be achieved through breathing exercises, yoga, and body scans.
  • Dr. Howard S. Friedman, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, discovered that people who maintained a low level of stress, who faced challenges and put their heart and soul into their work in order to succeed, lived longer than those who chose a more relaxed lifestyle and retired earlier.

III FROM LOGOTHERAPY TO IKIGAI How to live longer and better by finding your purpose

  • Frankl explains that one of the first questions he would ask his patients was “Why do you not commit suicide?” Usually, the patient found good reasons not to, and was able to carry on. What, then, does logotherapy do? The answer is pretty clear: It helps you find reasons to live. Logotherapy pushes patients to consciously discover their life’s purpose in order to confront their neuroses.
  • The process of logotherapy can be summarized in these five steps: A person feels empty, frustrated, or anxious. The therapist shows him that what he is feeling is the desire to have a meaningful life. The patient discovers his life’s purpose (at that particular point in time). Of his own free will, the patient decides to accept or reject that destiny. This newfound passion for life helps him overcome obstacles and sorrows.
  • Just as worry often brings about precisely the thing that was feared, excessive attention to a desire (or “hyper-intention”) can keep that desire from being fulfilled.
  • Morita therapy focuses on teaching patients to accept their emotions without trying to control them, since their feelings will change as a result of their actions.
  • The idea is to reenter society as a new person, with a sense of purpose, and without being controlled by social or emotional pressures.

IV FIND FLOW IN EVERYTHING YOU DO How to turn work and free time into spaces for growth

  • Einstein goes, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That is relativity.”
  • According to researcher Owen Schaffer of DePaul University, the requirements for achieving flow are: Knowing what to do Knowing how to do it Knowing how well you are doing Knowing where to go (where navigation is involved) Perceiving significant challenges Perceiving significant skills Being free from distractions
  • “compass over maps” as a tool to navigate our world of uncertainty. In the book Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future.
  • In business, the creative professions, and education alike, it’s important to reflect on what we hope to achieve before starting to work, study, or make something.
  • There are many types of meditation, but they all have the same objective: calming the mind, observing our thoughts and emotions, and centering our focus on a single object.
  • The winner of the 1988 Olympic gold medal for archery was a seventeen-year-old woman from South Korea. When asked how she prepared, she replied that the most important part of her training was meditating for two hours each day. #meditation
  • Meditation generates alpha and theta brain waves. For those experienced in meditation, these waves appear right away, while it might take a half hour for a beginner to experience them. These relaxing brain waves are the ones that are activated right before we fall asleep, as we lie in the sun, or right after taking a hot bath. We all carry a spa with us everywhere we go. It’s just a matter of knowing how to get in—something anyone can do, with a bit of practice.
  • The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are the ones who spend more time than others in a state of flow.

V MASTERS OF LONGEVITY Words of wisdom from the longest-living people in the world

  • Osamu Tezuka, the father of modern Japanese manga, shared this feeling. Before he died in 1989, his last words as he drew one final cartoon were “Please, just let me work!”

VI LESSONS FROM JAPAN’S CENTENARIANS Traditions and proverbs for happiness and longevity

  • One hundred percent of the people we interviewed keep a vegetable garden, and most of them also have fields of tea, mangoes, shikuwasa, and so on.

VII THE IKIGAI DIET What the world’s longest-living people eat and drink

  • ACCORDING TO THE World Health Organization, Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world: 85 years for men and 87.3 years for women. Moreover, it has the highest ratio of centenarians in the world: more than 520 for every million people (as of September 2016).
  • Locals eat a wide variety of foods, especially vegetables. Variety seems to be key. A study of Okinawa’s centenarians showed that they ate 206 different foods, including spices, on a regular basis. They ate an average of eighteen different foods each day, a striking contrast to the nutritional poverty of our fast-food culture.
  • They eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. At least seven types of fruits and vegetables are consumed by Okinawans on a daily basis.
  • A 1988 study conducted by Hiroko Sho at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology indicates that jasmine tea reduces blood cholesterol levels.
  • White tea, with its high concentration of polyphenols, may be even more effective against aging. In fact, it is considered to be the natural product with the greatest antioxidant power in the world—to the extent that one cup of white tea might pack the same punch as about a dozen glasses of orange juice.
  • All citrus fruits—grapefruits, oranges, lemons—are high in nobiletin, but Okinawa’s shikuwasas have forty times as much as oranges. Consuming nobiletin has been proven to protect us from arteriosclerosis, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity in general.
  • In 2010 the UK’s Daily Mirror published a list of foods recommended by experts to combat aging. Among these foods readily available in the West are: Vegetables such as broccoli and chard, for their high concentration of water, minerals, and fiber Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, for all the antioxidants in their fat Fruits such as citrus, strawberries, and apricots; they are an excellent source of vitamins and help eliminate toxins from the body Berries such as blueberries and goji berries; they are rich in phytochemical antioxidants Dried fruits, which contain vitamins and antioxidants, and give you energy Grains such as oats and wheat, which give you energy and contain minerals Olive oil, for its antioxidant effects that show in your skin Red wine, in moderation, for its antioxidant and vasodilatory properties Foods that should be eliminated are refined sugar and grains, processed baked goods, and prepared foods, along with cow’s milk and all its derivatives.

VIII GENTLE MOVEMENTS, LONGER LIFE Exercises from the East that promote health and longevityy

  • The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again.
  • Yoga comes from India, where it was developed millennia ago to unite our mental and physical elements. The word yoga itself comes from the Sanskrit term for “yoke,” which refers to the crosspiece that binds draft animals to one another and to the cart they’re pulling. (Location 1326)
  • Tai chi was originally a neijia, or internal martial art, meaning its goal was personal growth. Focused on self-defense, it teaches those who practice it to defeat their adversaries by using the least amount of force possible and by relying on agility.
  • The book Xiuzhen shishu, known in the West as Ten Books on the Cultivation of Perfection, dates back to the thirteenth century and is a compendium of materials from diverse sources on developing the mind and body.

IX RESILIENCE AND WABI-SABI How to face life’s challenges without letting stress and worry age you

  • A wise person can live with these pleasures but should always remain conscious of how easy it is to be enslaved by them.
  • Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable, and imperfect nature of the world around us. Instead of searching for beauty in perfection, we should look for it in things that are flawed, incomplete.
  • This is why the Japanese place such value, for example, on an irregular or cracked teacup. Only things that are imperfect, incomplete, and ephemeral can truly be beautiful, because only those things resemble the natural world.
  • A complementary Japanese concept is that of ichi-go ichi-e, which could be translated as “This moment exists only now and won’t come again.” It is heard most often in social gatherings as a reminder that each encounter—whether with friends, family.
  • Step 1: Create redundancies Instead of having a single salary, try to find a way to make money from your hobbies, at other jobs, or by starting your own business.

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