The 10 Rules of Ikigai Are the Key to Happiness

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Ikigai" by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are the 10 rules of ikigai? How can applying these rules help you live a happier and more fulfilling life?

In their book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia outline 10 rules or commandments of ikigai. Use these rules as a map for fulfilling your life purpose in loving community with other people and the world around you.

Keep reading for the 10 rules of ikigai, according to Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia.

What Are the 10 Rules of Ikigai?

Why do you get up in the morning? What gives your life meaning and purpose? Many people can’t answer these questions. Even worse, they’re stuck in dysfunctional lifestyles that prevent them from ever finding out what their purpose is.

In Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, author and blogger Héctor García and writer Francesc Miralles teach you to apply the Japanese concept of ikigai to your own life. Drawing on lessons from the people of Okinawa, who live longer than anybody else on earth, as well as on insights from art, science, and psychology, they assembled a condensed list of 10 core rules of ikigai.

  1. Don’t retire. Remain active throughout your life. Keep helping others and bringing beauty into their lives even after your professional career has ended.
  2. Don’t hurry. Stay slow, gentle, and full of ease.
  3. Eat well, and don’t overeat. Practice the 80 percent rule: Eat only until you feel 80 percent full. Or, practice intermittent fasting.
  4. Have friends around you. Enjoy the company of the people you love, and who love you back.
  5. Keep moving. Practice gentle movement of some kind.
  6. Keep smiling. Maintain a cheerful attitude.
  7. Get in touch with nature. Take time to get away from cities and recharge your spiritual batteries in communion with nature.
  8. Be thankful. Take some time every day to direct a grateful attitude toward everything in your life. Find beauty in everything by applying the attitude of wabi-sabi.
  9. Remain mentally present. Give up regrets and fearful anticipation. Live in the now. Practice ichi-go ichi-e.
  10. Follow your unique talent and passion. Follow your ikigai, which motivates you to spend your life sharing the best of yourself with the world. If you’re still not sure what your ikigai is, bear in mind the advice of Viktor Frankl: If you don’t know your mission, then currently, your mission is to find it. 

Exercise: Live Your Ikigai

This exercise helps you to focus on the most important items on this list for your own life.

Which of the “10 Commandments of Ikigai” identify things that you most need to focus on to improve your life and fulfill your ikigai? Name two or three.

Why are these items currently the most important ones for you and your ikigai?

What are one or two specific steps that you can take right now to implement your selected commandments?

How do you think your life will change if you take these steps?

The 10 Rules of Ikigai Are the Key to Happiness

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Here's what you'll find in our full Ikigai summary:

  • How to apply the concept of ikigai, or life purpose, to your own life
  • Why the people of Okinawa live longer than people anywhere else
  • The 10 commandments of ikigai

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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