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 is the book Ikigai about? How do Francesc Miralles and Héctor García’s explain the Japanese concept of ikigai?
In their book Ikigai, Héctor García and Francesc Miralles teach you how to apply the Japanese concept of ikigai, or life purpose, to your own life. You can think of your ikigai as your “existential fuel.” It’s the thing that keeps you going in life and the reason you get up in the morning.
Here is a brief overview of Francesc Miralles and Héctor García’s book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long a Happy Life.
Ikigai by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles
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, Héctor García and Francesc Miralles teach you how to apply the Japanese notion of ikigai to infuse your life with purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.
Your Reason for Being
The word ikigai is essentially the Japanese equivalent of the French raison d’être, meaning a person’s reason for existing or life purpose. According to the Japanese, each of us has a different ikigai.
Your ikigai could involve helping people or enjoying their companionship. It could involve an art or craft, such as writing or painting. It could involve a sport or activity. It could involve business, science, or any number of other things.
The following diagram helps to illustrate the various elements that go into your ikigai. Note that even though the book of Ikigai doesn’t explicitly address all of these elements, you can benefit from studying the diagram carefully to understand its “recipe” for ikigai and thereby gain a better sense of your own ikigai’s composition.
The purpose of the book is to introduce you to the concept of ikigai and help you understand how it can change your life. What unites us as humans is our search for meaning, the sense that our lives are about something. When you find your ikigai, you’ll have found this meaning, and you can achieve a fulfilling state of flow every day, in everything you do.
As you read, notice the close connection between ikigai and longevity. This book is about both concepts, because living a long, happy life and discovering your life purpose are complementary. Each supports the other.
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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