Ikigai

ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese word that refers to the intersection of your mission, passion, profession, and vocation (see below). Héctor Garcìa and Francesc Miralles investigated a village in Okinawa which has the highest number of residents over the age of 100.

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Their secrets to longevity and quality of life are useful, but the book as a whole could easily be edited down to an article. The authors travel to Japan and interview several active, healthy centenarians but all that’s shared are a few conversations and a list of quotations along with a description of 10 common qualities of these vibrant centenarians and explanations of how they implement them into their daily lives:

  1. Never retire – always participate in meaningful, helpful activities
  2. Take it slow – no need to rush which makes people stressed.
  3. Don’t eat till you’re full – stop eating when you’re 80% full or fast a day or two a week. One trick is to eat on very small plates, perhaps the size of a saucer and don’t pile food up.
  4. Keep moving through light exercise. You don’t need to do contact sports or run an marathon. Keep it simple.
  5. Surround yourself with friends. Have several relationships so if one ends, you have back up.
  6. Smile
  7. Reconnect with nature.
  8. Give thanks.
  9. Live in the moment.
  10. Follow your ikigai.

The trouble I found with the book was the meandering. I think there were 10 qualities just because ten is a round number. In addition to information about ikigai, there’s a lot of fluff about yoga, tai chi, Csikszentmihalyi’s flow. They also add paragraphs that should have been deleted about their trip from the airport and such banalities. The ideas about flow, tai chi, etc. were from the authors and not from the Japanese elders.

I’d hoped that this would be like The Little Book of Hygge, but it lacked the wit and the tone of the book. I think I’d rather read such a book written by an insider. Someone from Japan would be able to add insights two outsiders couldn’t.

So this is a book to get from the library and skim. then go out and find that passion, make more friends, smile and eat till you’re just 80% full.

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Increase Your Confidence

These are terrific tips in becoming more confident, which helps in any endeavor. He’s very practical. If I were still teaching, I’d have my students watch this one.

Interviewing Tips

I attended an informative session at the library on The Art of Interviewing. The main takeaways were skills are the name of the game and making those skills stand out is key. This speaker, who’s a recruiter for IBM, didn’t think much about soft skills, while I’d thought that skills get you to the final round and “Who would I like to have lunch with?” gets you the offer.

Since I’m hoping to transition out of teaching I wanted to see how other fields hire. Here are the recommendations:

  • Here’s the best tip: If you’re interviewing for a job with Bank A and have 75% of the desired skills, look at the ads for the same position at Bank B and C. You may see that you have some of their desired skills that aren’t listed by Bank A. In you interview point this out. Show that you’ve done this homework. Tell them that the competition wants someone who can do X, Y and Z and that you’ve got those skills. You’ll really stand out.
  • When discussing a work gap, tell the interviewer how you’ve spent that time acquiring new skills — seminars, online courses, etc.
  • Before an interview check out the LinkedIn profiles of the people you’ll talk to. Notice how they communicate in addition to their associates and background.
  • “Tell me about yourself” means how are you the solution to our problem.
  • Don’t include jobs from more than 10 years ago. (I’m wondering though. I’ve been in education for more than 10 years and I want to show that I’ve functioned successfully in other areas.)
  • “What is your ideal job?” Answer is the job you’re interviewing for. Five years doesn’t matter to them. You basically want to communicate that “based on what I bring to the table, the next step for me is to build a foundation from a position like this.”
  • Stand for a phone interview. Keeps you thinking.
  • Write bullet points to prep for interview.
  • Always follow up on interviews.
  • Cover letters address gaps, career transitions. Recruiters don’t read cover letters anymore. (It used to be that cover letters showed writing and thinking skills. I guess people don’t care about that anymore.)

Great insights for photographers. Read on.

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NOTE: This is a repost of something I wrote more than two years ago, but since our audience is much larger now than it was then, there may be many of you who haven’t seen it. I just survived another year on this planet so it’s fitting to me somehow to think and speak about such things. Hopefully they will be helpful to you too.

You’ve heard it before – “Life is short.” Too short for some. Tomorrow is promised to no person. We all owe a death. But it’s not the death we live for, it’s the life in between. When you’re in your 20s, you think you’re untouchable – you’ll live forever. When you’re in your 30s, you live as if you still have most…

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