Thursday, November 09, 2017

Héctor García and Francesc Miralles. 'Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life' (2016), Part I

Héctor García and Francesc Miralles. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. Translated by Heather Cleary. New York: Penguin, 2016. Originally published as Ikigai: Los secretos de Japón para una vida larga y feliz (Medicinas complementarias). Urano, 2016.

I love books that delve into philosophies of life. This is another in a slew of such, and fun it is -- a quick, easy read, too. And, as usual in these offerings, there are useful insights that make it worth the effort.

The authors take an eclectic approach. They suggest not being a dummy on auto-pilot. Push the envelope. Learn new things every day. Explore, investigate and observe. Carry about with active curiosity. "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." (page 21).

This keeps mind and body active, and also makes time feel slower and more drawn-out: more musing, less rush. Why? Because the brain has to "take more time" to process the new tidbits of observation. 

Another suggestion: be less overtly emotional in response to the storms of life (what Carl von Clausewitz called "friction"). 

"A stoic attitude -- serenity in the face of a setback . . . lowers anxiety and stress levels and stabilises [stabilizes] behavior. This can be seen in the greater life expectancies of certain cultures with unhurried, deliberate lifestyles." (page 31) 

I concur completely with both approaches, which are complimentary: be a curious, open-minded seeker, and don't lose your toast over things that you can't control. 

In the next post, we'll consider the authors' suggestions in how to employ Viktor Frankl's concept of logotherapy to strengthen one's life. Interesting stuff.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough. 

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