What is IKIGAI?

What is IKIGAI? Does anybody know? It’s a Japanese word which means “your reason for getting up in the morning” Your IKIGAI? Why is it essential?

Because is Okinawa, in Japan, part of the island homes some of the longest living people in the world. They have the most people over living over 100 years.

What do you think Okinawan people call “retirement”? Surprise, surprise….. They don’t know what retirement is? There is so such word as “retirement” in their culture. That word does not exist. That’s is one of the biggest reasons, in fact the biggest reason, why they live as long as they live.

They a reason for getting up every morning. They have an IKIGAI throughout their lives. Day in Day out which leads to longevity and more vitality.

Interestingly in 1889, a man by the name of OTTO VON BISMARK from Germany founded the Retirement age of 65. He made people disabled from work after age of 65 in return for pension funds. People had to give up their jobs for more young individuals back then. The average life span in 1889 was less than 67 years. Which kinda makes sense. Retire at 65. Gives you about 2 years to chill and “enjoy” what’s left.

So in the 20th Century countries started adopting the arbitrary age of 65 for retirement with no basis of any kind. Companies were built, and are still thriving today and we were being marketed to save money, delay leisure and the fact that works sucks. Push on till retirement so you can finally start relaxing, walking, meditating, enjoying time with family and rest.

We have been conditioned to believe retirement is the HAPPY PLACE – that’s what all is about. In Okinawa there is no retirement. They have an IKIGAI.

Which reminds me about Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.  After 3 years of researching he likes of great individuals like Martin Luther King, Wright brothers and Steve Jobs. He explains why only a fewer individuals or organizations are so successful and inspire action. And he draws 3 circles.

  • Outter Circle – What – Every individual or organization in the world know’s what they doing
  • Middle Circle – How – Some individuals and organizations know how they do it, whether it’s value proposition or unique offering or customer service
  • Smallest – Center Cicle – Why – but very few people or organizations know WHY they do what they do. And it’s not money, money is a result.

It’s WHY, your purpose, your calling, your beliefs  – YOUR IKIGAI

So if you looking for more vitality and longevity surely thinking about retirement is going to get you there. You need a reason for getting up every morning. And so WORK is going to be IT. That is where we spend most of our time. Day in and Day out.

What’s your IKIGAI? My IKIGAI is to turn young minds into future leaders. Is to make everyone I meet more successful in every small way. Is to impact 1 Million South Africans. That’s my IKIGAI.

And it can change and its shifts as you move along, as you grow. That’s totally fine.

So the next time your get up in the morning. And I pray its tomorrow morning. Do me a favour… think about your IKIGAI!

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