Day 13 of Project Happiness – Ikigai


  • Meditate for 2 minutes – 
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – 
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week – 2/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 20

Very interesting day today.  Fortunately after a night  of trying various inventive ways to get Mr EN to stop snoring, I did get a bit of a lie in.  Then it was straight down the yard to wash and polish the pony so he looked beautiful for his visitors.  The little girl with cancer was a bit too scared of him  (he is very big in comparison to a poorly 4 year old!) so didn’t ride on him, but a family member with cerebral palsy also came along, and she was very pleased to be able to have a ride on him 🙂

I also took eldest EN sprog for a driving lesson.  I have to stay with her during the lesson, so took the opportunity to read some more of The Happiness Equation.  That was definitely time well spent.  It had some really interesting observations on why it is a good idea to keep working, and why retirement is bad.  One quote which particularly resonated with me was as follows :

Never retire.  Your brain needs exercise or it will atrophy”

James Watson. Nobel laureate.

It states that retirement is a relatively new concept, invented by the Germans, and 65 was just an arbitrary age, picked because it was very close to the expected age of death.  It has however persisted though the ages, and been adopted throughout the world.  It makes some interesting points re the cost of supporting people to do nothing for the last what can now be 16 years if you take the average UK age of death which is 81, as opposed to the 2 or 3 anticipated when the plan was originally put in place.  With the populations rate increasing consistently the cost burden of this must be weighty.

In October I will be visiting Japan for a couple of weeks to study karate,  Japanese Sword, and do some sight seeing.  I will also be visiting Okinawa for some extra karate study, so I was particularly interested in the book’s mention of this country, and the fact that they don’t have a concept of retirement, so much so that  they don’t even have a word for it.    It is a well known fact that the Okinawa people are long lived, according to the author Neil Pasricha, they live 7 years longer than Americans, and “have the longest disability free life expectancy on Earth.”   Some put this down to their diet (Purple Sweet Potatos!) but Pasricha suggests that it is more their outlook on life, and how they live their life which is the cause.

One thing which he picks up on is the Ikigai (pronounced Icky Guy).  He explains that it means “the reason you wake up in the morning”, “the thing that drives you the most”.  He goes on to explain that he has adopted this mantra for himself and his wife, having an “Ikigai card” which they keep on their bedside table.  This seems like a pretty cool idea to me, so I thought I’d do one also.   I will post it later once I’ve refined it.

The other theme which stood out to me, was the concept of enough, which again is spoken about a lot in “Your money or your life”.  A quote which Pasricha used is from Alice’s Adventure is Wonderland which I love!


I love how he illustrates how lucky we are to be where we are today; on the only planet which is capable of sustaining life, in a multitude of galaxy’s, each of which contains hundreds of thousands of stars.  And if you’re reading this,  then you are probably one of the wealthiest people in the world.  An excerpt from the book;

The average world income is five thousand dollars.  Are you higher than that?  Then you’re in the top 50%.  And if you’re higher than fifty thousand dollars you’re in the top 0.5%.  Do you need more than 99.5% of people alive?  You either have the money to buy this book or you have the time to read it.  Either way, you have it good!

You already have more than almost everybody on the planet.

On your very worst days, you have to push your negative thoughts.  You have to take a step back. You have to remember the lottery.

Because you’ve already won.

-Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation

Now if that’s not a positive thought for the day I don’t know what is.  It certainly clarifies a lot for me.

I’m now off to get ready for bed so I’m ready for my day of work tomorrow.  It’s not work that I plan to be doing for the rest of my life.  But it is interesting, stimulating,  fits round my current family priorities, and helps me with my current goals.  I still have my plan to pay off my mortgage and become financially independent.  But I have no plan to retire.  Instead I have dreams of all of the things I want to do when I have the time.  I will be able  to choose my work, and do it on my terms.  Which ties in nicely with the observations regarding work fulfilment in “Your money or your life”.




1 thought on “Day 13 of Project Happiness – Ikigai

  1. Pingback: Day 31 of Project Happiness – | econinjablog

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