Categories
Life & Philosophy

This Japanese philosophy may hold the secret to a happy work life

Gif of old Japanese ladies

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being.” It may also hold the keys to prolonging your life.

At the intersection of ikigai is having a purpose—feeling as though one is contributing to society in a positive way gives them something to live for. Perhaps the best illustration of ikigai exists on the island of Okinawa, where some of the oldest living people in the world practice the philosophy.

A map showing the japanese concept of ikigai

While Japan’s interpretation of the ikigai is a source of value for one’s life, Westerners may use the system as a guidepost for bridging better work and life balance. If you want to better understand the meaning of the concept, consider asking these four questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need from you?
  • What can you get paid for?

As all life is an experiment, so too is your ikigai which evolves as you age. The more you feel valued, the better.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

Learn more in the video below.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Mental clarity begins in cleaning out the basement

The basement gets a bad rap. It’s the relegation zone. It’s a mess, with cobwebs on the door handles and mountains of dust building in the corners.

There may be mysterious sounds and unidentifiable creatures living in the cracks. But the basement also presents the biggest opportunity to turn disorder into something presentable.

When you start at the bottom, you’re working in reverse.

In cleaning out the canvass, you empty the head and suddenly envision how to fill in the blank slate with something more meaningful. You will give a new meaning to emptiness.

Anyone can emerge from the darkest places back to life if they’re willing to start from scratch. Accepting the Herculean task of debugging your messy ways can help reprogram your mind so you can breathe fresh thinking into the void.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Politics & Society Psychology

The script, the story

How many of us are just acting our way through life, adapting to different settings like chameleons?

Situational elasticity lends its hand to the collaborative truth, that people inject each other with signaling serum. The slightest twang, the tinkle of dimples, the cleanest tucked-in shirt, belt, and Prada shoes – we try to demonstrate to others ‘this is who I am and this what I do.’

All life is a stage, epitomized through the internet and curated social profiles, with many people reaping the psychological benefits of expectation. We become what we collect, mirror images of our Pinterest boards.

Don’t get it twisted. We should follow the route that builds up the most confidence. We just can’t expect all these visual cues to convert to reality. By nature, we are fickle beings magnetically tugged to our natural impulsiveness.

Most people lead lives of poor self-maintenance: laziness, negativity, and force of habit.

Authenticity requires self-control. The edited self is known to burn out, slip, and go off-script.

To act is life. Like a veil being lifted from our eyes, we choose to narrate beyond the avatars of attention.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Writing

Don’t hold that thought 💬✒️

When in doubt, speak up. Talking is a tool for excavating thoughts—microphone in hand or not. It’s only after the speaking occurs do the words begin to flow.

The same goes for writing. One doesn’t need an audience in order to do it. The movement of the pen gears the brain into motion so that words hit the top of the tongue at precisely the right time.

“The pen is the tongue of the mind.”

Horace

Speaking and writing cue the neural pathways. They lay the groundwork for ideas to germinate and bloom.

Chatter, whether external or internal, are the firsts step in solidifying beliefs and discovering something interesting to say. The real enemy is a chattering brain that hesitates and never spits it out.

Inspiration and perfection are for amateurs–start before you’re ready.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Reexamining the Kiss Principle

“Keep it simple and stupid.” That was the acronym coined by aircraft engineer Clarence Johnson during the early 1930s. He proposed the “H” style tail for airplanes which helped stabilize flight.

Keeping it simple is always easier said than done. What may appear visually simple, took a deduction of complex details.

We don’t get to simplicity without amassing a pile of disparate parts first and then building shitty first drafts.

Complexity is often hidden within the design — such as the case with Apple products and apps like Instagram which appear simple on the outside but contain convoluted architecture and code on the inside.  

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo da Vinci, who painted over pieces that didn’t meet expectations. Artists like Pablo Picasso and writers like Ernest Hemingway edited down their pieces, again and again, to reduce their craft into the most practicable and understood forms.

Erasing difficulties requires patience of experimentation. It takes both head and heart work to minimize the unnecessary while maximizing utility in powerfully simple ways.

With a bit more curiosity and execution, we can turn less into more.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology Tech

Are we still alive?

Somewhere upon the way of evolution, humans lucked out. We developed language. And we grew hands and fingers that allowed us to manipulate our environment.

But a bigger brain didn’t make us smarter or more conscious than our other animal friends.

Neanderthals had larger brains than humans, as too do dolphins and whales to this day. Despite their cranial superiority, the former died off, homo sapiens thrived, while the fish are confined to the water.

Meanwhile, humans built intricate tools. Says American neuroscientist Christof Koch, “human civilization is all about tools, whether it’s a little stone, an arrow, a bomb, or a computer.”

Given the advancements in technology and artificial intelligence, we may be too smart for our own good. By exploiting tools to think and to operate for us, we’re outsourcing our neurons and developing a kind of robotic consciousness.

Humans have turned into broken machines.

Our jobs make us feel important and shape our identity. What are people going to do when we no longer have to work and have bundles of free time instead?

Some of us may procrastinate and lounge while others will want to play like children with crayons again. We just might art ourselves back into life.