Ikigai: The Secret to a Long, Happy Life.
"Imagine a sign far off in the future with a number on it that represents the age of your death. Every year you live, you advance closer to the sign. When you reach the sign, you die."
"Now imagine a rabbit holding the sign and walking to the future. Every year that you live, the rabbit is half a year as far away. After a while, you will reach the rabbit and die. But what if the rabbit could walk at a pace of one year for every year of your life? You would never be able to catch the rabbit, and therefore you would never die. The speed at which the rabbit walks to the future is our technology. The more we advance technology and knowledge of our bodies, the faster we can make the rabbit walk. Aging’s escape velocity is the moment at which the rabbit walks at a pace of one year per year or faster, and we become immortal.
This is an excerpt from a terrific little book, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, that I read before going in for surgery this fall (see photo below). While the book doesn’t spend much time talking about how modern technology will extend our lives, it does focus on the Japanese values that have made the country one of the prime examples of “Blue Zone” living. To be in a state of Ikigai is to be in a state when you’re doing what you love and do well while being compensated for doing something the world needs.
If you’ve ever watched the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” you see a chef in his mid-80s pursuing his purpose while in this state of Ikigai. His purpose is almost a form of a rabbit on the move, as outlined in the quote above—a state which requires deep love and profound dedication. The Japanese call this dedication to a craft or skill “takumi.”
How might you find your “Ikigai” or “takumi” as a means of creating a rabbit that prolongs your longevity?
P.S. Our upcoming 8-week online course “Designing Your Purposeful Path to Work” starts June 4 and features an insightful diagnostic that can help you find your Ikigai. Sign up now as spaces are filling fast.