Book Review : Ikigai by Francesc Miller & Hector Garcia - FocusU

Book Review : Ikigai by Francesc Miller & Hector Garcia

I read this wonderful book last month after a friend gifted it to me. And it goes without saying that it was one of the best gifts I have received. The little things I learnt from the Japanese secret is helping me become a happier person with each passing day. Ikigai finds its origins in the Japanese island of Okinawa, home to the largest population of centenarians in the world. The philosophy is based on discovering your passion and living a life driven by purpose.

What makes you jump out of bed every morning?

As I read this question, I started thinking and realised that I don’t know that yet! Feeling clueless about my personal Ikigai, I was relieved to read that there is no prescribed time to find your Ikigai; You may have more than one Ikigai. There may be one overarching Ikigai and a few minor ones too – a discovery that was equally a relief as it was fascinating!

Essentially, an individual’s Ikigai is a convergence of four elements:

  • What you love doing (your passion)
  • What you’re good at (your vocation)
  • What the world needs (your mission)
  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

Furthermore, your Ikigai(s) may evolve with time. Hence, to lead a life of purpose, there are things and actions that we need to take to make it worthwhile. It goes without saying that equally necessary is to have a zen like mental state which can be achieved by following some or all of the rules of Ikigai.


“…something I don’t usually look forward to!”

Nonetheless, I continued reading hoping it won’t be as bad and I admit, I have greatly benefitted from these simple hacks.

Don’t Settle!

Not to say don’t get settled in life but rather the book urges us to never give up on our dreams and passion because of fear or obstacles. Have courage, keep faith in yourself, and keep marching on!

If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it’d be worth it

– Dr. Suess

Wabi Sabi

The Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi is focused on embracing the imperfections of the nature, this life, and us.
Rather than focusing on what could have been perfect, appreciate whatever is.

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Embrace that life may change tomorrow, but make plans anyway and move on.

Accept that you’re not the best version of yourself today and take steps to become better, each day. Focussing on shortcoming and imperfections only brings anxiety, depression, and leads to hasty decisions.

Welcome the pause!

Not because #YOLO, but because the moment you’re in right now is the only time you’re going to be living that moment. Make the most out of it.

Practice Gratitude

In our quest for more, we often fail to appreciate what we already have. We sometimes take our blessings for granted, only focussing on the misfortunes of the past, the absence of certain things in the present and what we aim to achieve in the future.

Be thankful, practice gratitude, every day! You’re more blessed than you realise.

Antifragility  (My personal favourite)

Being “Antifragile” goes beyond being simply resilient. While the resilient withstand setbacks, shock, turmoil, the antifragile become stronger in crisis. To become antifragile, the first step is to eliminate things that make us fragile. Find that out!

Add more options to your life so you’re not too dependent on any one thing. This may be in terms of the relationships you lean on, your sources of income, your skills, and so on.


Last but definitely not the least, smile often! Smile at everyone whom you meet, it may just make their day better. There is a certain sense of fulfilment in making someone else smile.

I hope you find the motivation to pick up the book and learn some things too!

Happy reading!          

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