The word “retire” is foreign to the Okinawan vocabulary.
Instead, the residents of this Japanese community hold their Ikigai - reason for getting up each morning - sacred. Whether its growing food or taking care of their children, this notion of a purposeful life seamlessly energizes their often centenarian lives.
Ikigai is one of the many common lifestyle factors identified by National Geographic writer and researcher Dan Buettner, in Blue Zones: areas of the world where folks reach the age of 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the U.S. while living healthier lives, with a fraction of the rates of heart disease and cancer.
Central to his work is the Danish Twin Studies finding that less than 25% of human longevity is dictated by our genes. At a TEDxTC talk, he advocates four simple longevity principles based on his travels to Blue Zones around the world:
1. Move naturally
2. Eat wisely
3. Right outlook
4. Connect/Right tribe
Experiment with your Ikigai – write out a personal mission statement.
Why DO you get up each morning?
Remember, the premise of this question is not so much about the next big idea that will change the world (although it could be), but more about the everyday activities that bring you closer to the peace & joy that comes with being fully present.