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Ikigai: The Japanese Secret Summary

Do you want to live a long, healthy, and fulfilling life? The secret to living such a life can be found on the Japanese island of Okinawa. On this island, the secret to longevity can be summarized into just one word, Ikigai, which roughly translates to your reason for living. Now, how do you find your Ikigai? You have to look at four things. What you are passionate about, where your skills lie, how you can earn a living, and what the world needs. The intersection between these four elements is your Ikigai. Many Japanese believe that everyone has an Ikigai or destiny that they were born to fulfill. Some people find their Ikigai quickly, but for others, it may take time. The most important thing that is discussed in this book is that Ikigai is the key to longevity. In this summary, I'll share with you three key lessons that I learned about longevity.

Key Lesson #1: A deeper purpose in life is the secret to longevity.

Ikigai is your reason for living and it will ultimately be what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning. So if your Ikigai is your job, you should never retire. If it's a hobby that brings meaning and joy, don't ever give it up because that is your key to longevity. In Okinawa, people never get to retire, and if they are forced into retirement, they find a way to stay active and follow their purpose in life.

Key Lesson #2: An active mind is a key to a long life.

When it comes to longevity, having a healthy mind is as important as having a healthy body, if not more important. To have a healthy mind, It's important to exercise your brain in different ways, otherwise, your neural connections get weakened over time. The neuroscientist Shlomo Breznitz argues that elderly people lose brain flexibility because they get trapped in patterns and routines, refusing to try new activities. Any mind game like chess or cards can be super helpful here. Meeting people and having social interactions are also good exercises for the brain.

Key Lesson #3: Immersing yourself in an activity can help keep you young.

A state in which you are focused on what you are doing, free from all other concerns, is called flow. Seeking out activities that produce such a state will increase your enjoyment of life and can help keep you young. Inflow, you focus on a single object for a sustained period, which ideally it's your Ikigai. Just remember, choose a task that is challenging enough, otherwise, you'll get bored and distracted. Also, it shouldn't be too hard because you'll struggle and may give up.

Living a long, happy, and healthy life depends on eating well and getting plenty of exercise. But longevity extends beyond such simple practices. By finding a purpose that drives you each and every day, you can focus your energy and live a long and happy life.

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