In many situations, we may remember the moment where ourselves be in the worst rather than in the best. We easily recall on the bad scenario we faced. Yet, life is so much more beyond the hardships that you want to remember.
Learning from the past is a way to enrich our selves. Yes, it is true that experience is the best teacher. However, experience includes all the winnings as well. Cherishing your best moments and make it alive in your life need to be more common.
We may want to think of the reason for being, why do we exist? What is the ultimate purpose for us being a person? Let’s continue our discussion by reviewing one of the most famous Japanese concept –ikigai.
Ikigai is a Japanese word whose meaning translates roughly to a reason for being, encompassing joy, a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of well-being. The word derives from iki, meaning life and kai, meaning the realization of hopes and expectations. (Source whatis.techtarget.com)
As we read the translation as above, we clearly see what does it means to us. It refers to the having a clear purpose and direction in life. As I go along my reading and reviewing some notes and write-ups about ikigai, there are so much that I can relate. I believe, by reading on, you will find the connecting dots as well.
Ikigai bring us to understand that finding our life purpose will include building ourselves from within. This will reflect to how do we bring ourselves through the leadership skills that we developed over a period of time.
The first part of the understanding brought me to realize that finding our purpose starts with having the right health of heart and mind. This is explained as kokoro. The word ‘heart’ does not only tells us the shape and the scientific part of it. It has another side that covers the meaning of being mindful.
It relates on how do you become aware and understand that the relationship between what is in you mind and heart does reflect on how you live your life.
This make it more important for us to understand that what we think effect greatly to how do we feel. To be mindful, what best we must do is to think positive and only think of what is necessary without overdoing it. (over-thinking). These skills can be learnt. Only then we can have stability in our emotion and feelings.
The next one is on our physical state. Which is described as karoda. It definitely very clear to all of us that once we have a healthy body, it does define the state of one person as a whole. Indeed, the prime of our life does not come twice.
Shukanka is a term that refers to the process of developing positive habits that one must have. It will become your second nature. Developing positive habits may be new for many. Though we already have those, we do need to have more and improved from time to time. Then, kaizen comes into the discussion.
All in all ikigai brought us to reflect on what is our reason for being. To do that, we have been guided with the first 3 parts of its concept of kokoro, karoda and shukanka.
Next is for us to find our ikigai to achieve transformation. Either in life, career or business, we all need to find out ikigai. If we have, let’s refine and make it better for a greater good to the people around us.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
As we review on what we have discussed, we will find one most important thing in our life. Knowing that ikigaicomes with kokoro, karodaand shukanka, it definitely relates to how do we live our life.
Wabi-sabi is one of the philosophy in Japanese. As I would like to put is as a concept, where we understand the way of living life for a perfectly imperfect. Or we may want to describe it as living in the uncomfortable comfortably.
As I read through and getting it out, I realized how stressed we are in the work of chaos these days. While facing the crisis of the pandemic (covid-19), all of us faced our own sets of challenges. And some of us have worked so hard to be seen perfect and living the best life to proof that we are doing great.
On the other side, wabi-sabi has given another perspective, which can clam us down. Well, life is always challenging, what more when it comes to face this global pandemic. Being resilient does not mean for to beat others and shows how great we are.
Being imperfect is normal as a human being. Yet, we have so much to celebrate and be grateful for it. Take an example of a bonsai. Bonsai is an art producing small trees to mimic the present of a real tree. Don’t you see that it is basically the imperfection of the bonsai tree? Yet, it has high value in the form of art.
So, why do we rush and race to be perfect? Perfect body, face, life, spouse, family, organization and even as a person. Should we be one perfect thing or living in the best of all imperfections?
Kintsugi is also known as kinsukuroi. It is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. (Source wikipedia)
As I make my further readings, I realized that many of us including me, would normally throw broken things away. In our life this has become normal, as we want to throw our ‘broken memories and actions’. As much as possible we totally want to forget our past bad experience, which we relate as broken memories that we do not want to keep.
This is where we can apply the understanding of kintsugi, to fix things out and make it even more beautiful, better than before. How about our bad past experience? Where can we mend and fix it so we can become someone better? We may want to review, what went wrong and how can we make it better in the future.
It is definitely fine to have our flaws and weaknesses. The point bring us on to how we live with it, and come up with something better, or become someone stronger. Understanding wabi-sabiand embracing it, we will end up being supported with the understanding of kintsugi.
Be in the state of being, is what we can find from this word. If you asked me, I would put my understanding that it means how you form your positive habit. If you want to become and achieve something, there are things that you must do.
The translation of karadais an inflection of with the following forms, to be/state of being. (Source: www.romajidesu.com)
You may find activities and routine that can help you to form these habits. These activities will form you to be at the state of being. As for me, I choose to add in activities and routine, which involve outdoor physical activities. I managed to keep my schedule for outdoor activity minimum of once a week and maintain my creativity part as part of understanding shukanka. This I will elaborate in the next point.
As I have 6 children in the house, I spend most of the time mending home affairs with them. I then realized that I have to be in the best of my form to enable me to be the best mother for them. Definitely, this will expand when I deal with my clients and stakeholders in my business.
I believe, by forming good habits in myself, I inspire my children and my family to do the same.
Either it is about building little or big change in our habit it is always back to the objective of ikigai. Finding the purpose in life and reason for being. Since year 2005, I started blogging as part of my journaling activities. The habit of journaling is not an overnight thing. It involves kaizen, kintsugi and wabi-sabialtogether.
This is how I realized that all this while I have been searching for my purpose and building that habit a long the way. You may have a different form of kintsugiin your life. That is part of building you habit, by having discipline to write things down.
This will extend to the habit of writing and penning down on your plan. Your daily schedule and planning for what you what to achieve, is the result of understanding and applying shukanka.
Next, you will find the habit of writing, gets you to list down all your needs and what to do. This may be on daily, weekly or monthly basis. As you keep doing this and kaizen takes place, you realized that you are tracking on your achievement and failures. Which means you will be able to measures for improvement.
Further on, writing gives you time to reflect, relax and focus, Simply try this out. Take a time and top typing and sliding your phone screen. Instead, pick up a pen and write your thoughts down. It really gives your mind to take its time, which means, relax.
These simple activities may sound cliche, but it gives great impact for having to find your reason for being. This is able to boost our own morale.
FINDING MY IKIGAI
If we have 10 people in a room we will find 10 different shades of colors. We will never be exactly the same, though we can always find similarities to relate. Below are some areas of findings, which I believe I can share with you so you can use it to find yours.
There are so many areas that we can work on. But, for the purpose of discussion here, I would like to highlight the main 3 areas as below.
All of us choose a career that we want to pursue. In life, we may change our career from time to time. That’s normal. And it is normal too, for you to make up your mind and stay in one career of your choice.
Let’s look at what we do as a career. Even as a homemaker, it is a career that we must plan. I started my career as a teacher and later change as an entrepreneur. And I know, it is fine if I decided to change it later.
Finding my ikigai could mean that I have to realize what are the things that I must change. I need to understand my identity and have clarity in what I want to achieve. It must come with gratitude and self-care is a must.
In this context, I believe that we need to be clear with our values. These values must be aligned in what you do in your career. If you value ‘education’, is your organization that you work in have that? If you value ‘respect’, is you organization have similar practice? If you value ‘trust’, is your organization developed one?
As we relate to our discussion onwabi-sabi, kintsugi, karadaand shukanka, you will realized on what best you can change and how best you can move forward.
In life, we definitely can’t live alone. We always need others to sustain. It can be families, friends and the world around us. Values that we hold (as discussed above) will impact on how we perceived relationship in life.
What I manage to do is to review my personal plan (other than reviewing business plan). Many of us may not realize that we have to put specifically our plan on building ‘relationship’. It may be a plan for family, friends, and our own self.
Have you put your plan on what to achieve on your relationship with your family, friends and yourself? How many hours or how much time do you put in plan for your family, friends and yourself? What do you intend to achieve at least for the next 6 months?
There was the time that I myself felt the worst, be at the bottom of my life. If you mentioned about being down or losing motivation, all of us experience that. It may be frequent for some and less frequent for others.
I would prefer and choose to find positive stress and look at stress in different angle. We may have challenges in work, family and community, which we are in. However, we are the one who can control on how do we react.
Once we understand wabi-sabi, we realized that all these challenges are something that we must cherish. The positive stress that can make us special, better and be outstanding in what we do.
In this journey to change our environment, we may need to dissociate from certain people and organization. Still keeping relationship good is important. However, we have to tactfully control and manage on how far and how much time we should spend with the people (or organization) that we choose to be with.
Each of us has our own strength and weakness. Allah created us different so we can learn and know each other. I believe that understanding the philosophy of ikigai, enable us to refine and strengthened our course in finding purpose in what we do.
Ultimately, we all aim for the great ending afterlife.
Article by Noraminah Omar, 26.7.2020 for Fellowship Programme, Women2Win: Global Asian Women Leaders Network 1/2020