120+ Ikigai Quotes: Read to Unlock Simple Secrets to a Long and Meaningful Life
This article is a collection of the most beautiful Ikigai quotes – the words of wisdom from Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia’s bestselling book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being.” It refers to finding joy and meaning in life through the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. In other words, it’s the sweet spot where your passions, talents, and values meet.
The concept is often associated with the idea of living a long, fulfilling life, as it encourages individuals to focus on their passions and purpose rather than just chasing material wealth or success.
Each Ikigai quote in this compilation will help you discover your own personal sense of purpose and find happiness in your daily life. Whether you’re seeking inspiration, motivation, or practical advice, read them to find your own path to a meaningful and fulfilling life.
You may also want to read: 25 Funniest Swami Nithyananda Quotes that Will Leave you in Splits
- In Japanese, Ikigai is written as 生き甲斐, combining 生き, which means life, with 甲斐, which means to be worthwhile. 甲斐 can be broken down into the characters 甲, which means armor, number one, and to be the first (to head into battle, taking initiative as a leader), and 斐, which means beautiful or elegant.
- Be water, my friend.
- Fall seven times, rise eight.
- Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
- Life is not a problem to be solved. Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you.
- Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
- There is a tension between what is good for someone and what they want to do. This is because people, especially older people, like to do things as they’ve always done them. The problem is that when the brain develops ingrained habits, it doesn’t need to think anymore. Things get done very quickly and efficiently on automatic pilot, often in a very advantageous way. This creates a tendency to stick to routines, and the only way of breaking these is to confront the brain with new information.
- It has been scientifically shown that if we continually ask our brains to switch back and forth between tasks, we waste time, make more mistakes, and remember less of what we’ve done.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique: Get yourself a kitchen timer (some are made to look like a pomodoro, or tomato) and commit to working on a single task as long as it’s running. The Pomodoro Technique recommends 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest for each cycle, but you can also do 50 minutes of work and 10 minutes of rest. Find the pace that’s best for you; the most important thing is to be disciplined in completing each cycle.
- Having a clear objective is important in achieving flow, but we also have to know how to leave it behind when we get down to business.
- Stress is an easily identifiable condition that not only causes anxiety but is also highly psychosomatic, affecting everything from our digestive system to our skin.
- It doesn’t need to be a big thing: we might find meaning in being good parents or in helping our neighbors.
- Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes, Walk slowly and you’ll go far. When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.
- Happiness is always determined by your heart.
- Why do some people know what they want and have a passion for life, while others languish in confusion?
- For many, helping others might be an Ikigai strong enough to keep them alive.
- According to scientists who have studied the five Blue Zones, the keys to longevity are diet, exercise, finding a purpose in life (an Ikigai), and forming strong social ties—that is, having a broad circle of friends and good family relations. Members of these communities manage their time well in order to reduce stress, consume little meat or processed foods, and drink alcohol in moderation. They don’t do strenuous exercise, but they do move every day, taking walks and working in their vegetable gardens. People in the Blue Zones would rather walk than drive. Gardening, which involves daily low-intensity movement, is a practice almost all of them have in common.
- Nurturing friendships, eating light, getting enough rest, and doing regular, moderate exercise are all part of the equation of good health, but at the heart of the joie de vivre that inspires these centenarians to keep celebrating birthdays and cherishing each new day is their Ikigai.
- Just as a lack of physical exercise has negative effects on our bodies and mood, a lack of mental exercise is bad for us because it causes our neurons and neural connections to deteriorate – and, as a result, reduces our ability to react to our surroundings.
- A donkey that is tied to a post by a rope will keep walking around the post in an attempt to free itself, only to become more immobilized and attached to the post. The same thing applies to people with obsessive thinking who become more trapped in their own suffering when they try to escape from their fears and discomfort.
- Discover your life’s purpose. We can’t control our emotions, but we can take charge of our actions every day.
- The only moment in which you can be truly alive is the present moment, observes the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
- The Seven Conditions for Achieving Flow According to researcher Owen Schaffer of DePaul University, the requirements for achieving flow are: 1. Knowing what to do 2. Knowing how to do it 3. Knowing how well you are doing 4. Knowing where to go (where navigation is involved) 5. Perceiving significant challenges 6. Perceiving significant skills 7. Being free from distractions1
- Yoga – originally from India, though very popular in Japan—and China’s qigong and tai chi, among other disciplines, seek to create harmony between a person’s body and mind so they can face the world with strength, joy, and serenity.
- You don’t need to go to the gym for an hour every day or run marathons. As Japanese centenarians show us, all you need is to add movement to your day. Practicing any of these Eastern disciplines on a regular basis is a great way to do so.
- This is why we should have a clear sense of our purpose, and always keep Morita’s mantra in mind: What do we need to be doing right now? What action should we be taking? The key to achieving this is having dared to look inside yourself to find your Ikigai.
- We tend to believe that what we think influences how we feel, which in turn influences how we act. In contrast, Morita therapy focuses on teaching patients to accept their emotions without trying to control them, since their feelings will change as a result of their actions.
- In the here and now, the only thing in my life is your life.
- What have I received from person X? What have I given to person X? What problems have I caused person X?
- A wise person can live with these pleasures but should always remain conscious of how easy it is to be enslaved by them.
- A moai is an informal group of people with common interests who look out for one another. For many, serving the community becomes part of their Ikigai. The moai has its origins in hard times, when farmers would get together to share best practices and help one another cope with meager harvests. Members of a moai make a set monthly contribution to the group. This payment allows them to participate in meetings, dinners, games of go and shogi (Japanese chess), or whatever hobby they have in common.
- In an interview after Jobs’s death, Shakunaga said he was very proud that his work had been appreciated by the man who created the iPhone. He added that Jobs’s last purchase from him had been a set of twelve teacups. Jobs had asked for something special, a new style. To satisfy this request, Shakunaga made 150 teacups in the process of testing out new ideas. Of these, he chose the twelve best and sent them to the Jobs family.
- When we say we’re multitasking, what we’re really doing is switching back and forth between tasks very quickly. Unfortunately, we’re not computers adept at parallel processing. We end up spending all our energy alternating between tasks, instead of focusing on doing one of them well. Concentrating on one thing at a time may be the single most important factor in achieving flow.
- We often think that combining tasks will save us time, but scientific evidence shows that it has the opposite effect. Even those who claim to be good at multitasking are not very productive. In fact, they are some of the least productive people. Our brains can take million bits of information but can only actually process of few dozen per second.
- He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
- We have to learn to turn off the autopilot that’s steering us in an endless loop. We all know people who snack while talking on the phone or watching the news. You ask them if the omelet they just ate had onion in it, and they can’t tell you.
- Our Ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning. When we spend our days feeling connected to what is meaningful to us, we live more fully; when we lose the connection, we feel despair.
- Modern life estranges us more and more from our true nature, making it very easy for us to lead lives lacking in meaning. Powerful forces and incentives (money, power, attention, success) distract us on a daily basis; don’t let them take over your life.
- We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
- There is no future, no past. There is only the present.
- Getting back to Albert Einstein, a happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell on the future.
- We’re all going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you’re born to die.
- As a rule of thumb, remind yourself: Rituals over goals.
- The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are the ones who spend more time than others in a state of flow.
- Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting.
- Be led by your curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness.
- Simply interacting with others – playing a game, for example – offers new stimuli and helps prevent the depression that can come with solitude.
- It is much more important to have a compass pointing to a concrete objective than to have a map.
- Presented with new information, the brain creates new connections and is revitalized. This is why it is so important to expose yourself to change, even if stepping outside your comfort zone means feeling a bit of anxiety.
- When confronted with a big goal, try to break it down into parts and then attack each part one by one.
- Working on several things at once lowers our productivity by at least 60 percent and our IQ by more than ten points.
- One of the most commonly used mantras in Buddhism focuses on controlling negative emotions: Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ, in which oṃ is the generosity that purifies the ego, ma is the ethics that purifies jealousy, ṇi is the patience that purifies passion and desire, pad is the precision that purifies bias, me is the surrender that purifies greed, and hūṃ is the wisdom that purifies hatred.
- The people who live the longest have two dispositional traits in common: a positive attitude and a high degree of emotional awareness. In other words, those who face challenges with a positive outlook and are able to manage their emotions are already well on their way toward longevity.
- To be able to concentrate for a considerable amount of time is essential to difficult achievement.
- Our neurons start to age while we are still in our twenties. This process is slowed, however, by intellectual activity, curiosity, and a desire to learn.
- Dealing with new situations, learning something new every day, playing games, and interacting with other people seem to be essential antiaging strategies for the mind.
- Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That is relativity.
- Avoid spending time doing things we don’t enjoy.
- Spend no more than twenty minutes on Facebook per day.
- Imagine that a writer has to finish a novel in three months. The objective is clear; the problem is that the writer can’t stop obsessing over it. Every day she wakes up thinking, I have to write that novel, and every day she sets about reading the newspaper and cleaning the house. Every evening she feels frustrated and promises she’ll get to work the next day. Days, weeks, and months pass, and the writer still has’t gotten anything down on the page, when all it would have taken was to sit down and get that first word out, then the second . . . to flow with the project, expressing their Ikigai. As soon as you take these first small steps, your anxiety will disappear and you will achieve a pleasant flow in the activity you’re doing.
- Stoicism, which centers on the idea that there is nothing wrong with enjoying life’s pleasures as long as they do not take control of your life as you enjoy them. You have to be prepared for those pleasures to disappear.
- We don’t create our feelings; they simply come to us, and we have to accept them. The trick is welcoming them. Morita likened emotions to the weather: We can’t predict or control them; we can only observe them. To this point, he often quoted the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who would say, Hello, solitude. How are you today? Come, sit with me, and I will care for you.
- One way to reach a state of mindfulness is through meditation, which helps filter the information that reaches us from the outside world. It can also be achieved through breathing exercises, yoga, and body scans.
- Okinawans live by the principle of ichariba chode, a local expression that means treat everyone like a brother, even if you’ve never met them before. It turns out that one of the secrets to happiness of Ogimi’s residents is feeling like part of a community.
- Hara hachi bu, which is repeated before or after eating and means something like Fill your belly to 80 percent.
- You have to accept that the world – like the people who live in it – is imperfect, but that it is still full of opportunities for growth and achievement.
- Have a clear, concrete objective.
- Life is pure imperfection.
- When doing business in Japan, process, manners, and how you work on something is more important than the final results
- Sunday neurosis, for example, is what happens when, without the obligations and commitments of the workweek, the individual realizes how empty he is inside.
- One of the first words one learns when starting Japanese lessons is ganbaru, which means to persevere or to stay firm by doing one’s best.
- We should never forget that everything we have and all the people we love will disappear at some point. This is something we should keep in mind, but without giving in to pessimism.
- There is, in fact, no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense of leaving the workforce for good.
- According to the 80 percent rule, in order to stay healthier longer, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.
- Stress: Accused of killing longevity.
- Existential frustration arises when our life is without purpose, or when that purpose is skewed.
- Our health depends on that natural tension that comes from comparing what we’ve accomplished so far with what we’d like to achieve in the future. What we need, then, is not a peaceful existence, but a challenge we can strive to meet by applying all the skills at our disposal.
- Doing many different things every day. Always staying busy, but doing one thing at a time, without getting overwhelmed.
- Every person has an essence, or mabui.
- Is the point just to live longer, or should I seek a higher purpose?
- Whatever you do, don’t retire!
- In feelings, it is best to be wealthy and generous.
- The number one complaint of employees at multinational corporations is that they don’t communicate the team’s mission clearly, and that, as a result, the employees don’t know what their objectives are.
- But resilience isn’t just the ability to persevere. It is also an outlook we can cultivate to stay focused on the important things in life rather than what is most urgent, and to keep ourselves from being carried away by negative emotions.
- To live a long time you need to do three things: exercise to stay healthy, eat well, and spend time with people.
- God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
- Stress has a degenerative effect over time. A sustained state of emergency affects the neurons associated with memory, as well as inhibiting the release of certain hormones, the absence of which can cause depression. Its secondary effects include irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
- We should enjoy the moment and not lose ourselves in worries about the past or the future.
- If you are angry and want to fight, think about it for three days before coming to blows. After three days, the intense desire to fight will pass on its own.
- Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.
- The easiest way to check if there is enough variety on your table is to make sure you’re eating the rainbow. A table featuring red peppers, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, and eggplant, for example, offers great color and variety.
- One easy way to start applying the concept of hara hachi bu is to skip dessert. Or to reduce portion size. The idea is to still be a little bit hungry when you finish.
- Training the mind can get us to a place of flow more quickly. Meditation is one way to exercise our mental muscles.
- Many centenarians and supercentenarians have similar profiles: They have had full lives that were difficult at times, but they knew how to approach these challenges with a positive attitude and not be overwhelmed by the obstacles they faced.
- Artists know how important it is to protect their space, control their environment, and be free of distractions.
- The students who were the most addicted to multitasking typically alternated among more than four tasks; for example, taking notes while reading a textbook, listening to a podcast, answering messages on their smartphone, and sometimes checking their Twitter timeline.
- Soaking up a moderate amount of sun each day.
- Fight for yourself.
- If we want to get better at reaching a state of flow, meditation is an excellent antidote to our smartphones and their notifications constantly clamoring for our attention.
- One of the most common mistakes among people starting to meditate is worrying about doing it right, achieving absolute mental silence, or reaching nirvana. The most important thing is to focus on the journey.
- Among both patients and personnel, around 80 percent believed that human beings needed a reason for living, and around 60 percent felt they had someone or something in their lives worth dying for.
- Sleep is a key antiaging tool.
- Keep going; don’t change your path.
- Stop snacking between meals.
- Eat sweets only once a week.
- Gradually pay off all debt.
- Avoid spending time with toxic people.
- Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.
- Meditation generates alpha and theta brain waves. For those experienced in meditation, these waves appear right away, while it might take a half hour for a beginner to experience them. These relaxing brain waves are the ones that are activated right before we fall asleep, as we lie in the sun, or right after taking a hot bath.
- Be conscious of your daily routine in order to detect harmful habits and replace them with more positive ones.
- Play with children or pets, or join a sports team. This not only strengthens the body but also stimulates the mind and boosts self-esteem.
- Use your feet instead of an elevator or escalator. This is good for your posture, your muscles, and your respiratory system, among other things.
- Walk to work, or just go on a walk for at least twenty minutes each day.
- Participate in social or leisure activities so that you don’t spend too much time in front of the television.
- Replace your junk food with fruit and you’ll have less of an urge to snack, and more nutrients in your system.
- Get the right amount of sleep. Seven to nine hours is good, but any more than that makes us lethargic.
- Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.
- Just as worry often brings about precisely the thing that was feared, excessive attention to a desire (or hyper-intention) can keep that desire from being fulfilled.
- Humor can help break negative cycles and reduce anxiety.
- To keep healthy and have a long life, eat just a little of everything with relish, go to bed early, get up early, and then go out for a walk.
- We don’t create the meaning of our life, as Sartre claimed—we discover it.
- We each have a unique reason for being, which can be adjusted or transformed many times over the years.
- Accept your feelings. If we have obsessive thoughts, we should not try to control them or get rid of them. If we do, they become more intense.
- Do what you should be doing.
- Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.
- What do takumis (artisans), engineers, inventors, and otakus (fans of anime and manga) have in common? They all understand the importance of flowing with their Ikigai at all times.
- My secret to a long life is always saying to myself, ‘Slow down,’ and ‘Relax.’ You live much longer if you’re not in a hurry.
- It will show you how to leave urgency behind, find your purpose, nurture friendships and throw yourself into your passions.
- Read and respond to e-mail only once or twice per day. Define those times clearly and stick to them.
- There is much wisdom in the classic saying mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body): It reminds us that both mind and body are important, and that the health of one is connected to that of the other. It has been shown that maintaining an active, adaptable mind is one of the key factors in staying young.
- We all have the capacity to do noble or terrible things. The side of the equation we end up on depends on our decisions, not on the condition in which we find ourselves.
- Bundle routine tasks – such as sending out invoices, making phone calls, and so on – and do them all at once.
About The Book – Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles is a book that explores the concept of Ikigai – a Japanese concept of finding joy and purpose in life through a combination of what you love, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.
The authors look at the concept of Ikigai from both a cultural and a scientific perspective, and they offer practical advice on how to apply it to your own life. They also explore the relationship between Ikigai and traditional Japanese values such as kaizen (continuous improvement) and wabi-sabi (the beauty of imperfection).
With its combination of Japanese culture and psychology, this book is sure to help you find more joy and satisfaction in your life.
About The Author – Hector Garcia
Hector Garcia is a Japanese-born author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He is best known for his books, Ikigai, and The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, which he wrote in collaboration with Francesc Miralles.
He is the founder of the Ikigai Institute and the Happiness Project. He has been featured in the media, including The New York Times, TEDx, and Forbes. He holds a degree in Economics from Keio University in Tokyo and an MBA from INSEAD in France.
About The Author – Francesc Miralles
Francesc Miralles is a Spanish author and psychologist. He has written several books about self-help, including The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, which he wrote in collaboration with Hector Garcia.
He has also written books on relationships, positive psychology, and self-discovery. He holds a degree in Psychology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and he is the founder of the Happiness Project, a platform dedicated to creating a happier society.
Thank you for reading the Ikigai quotes we collected for you! We hope that these quotes have inspired you to think more deeply about your own Ikigai and how it can bring meaning and purpose to your life.
Remember, the key to finding your Ikigai is to align your passions, skills, and values with what the world needs. By doing so, you can create a life that is truly fulfilling and satisfying. We hope that these quotes from the Ikigai book will help you on your journey toward discovering your own Ikigai.