There are only two certain things in life, the day you were born and the day you find out why. Not the taxman or death as most people believe. We were born to live and not just exist, but to enjoy the ‘living’. So, why are so many people so miserable in today’s world? Why is there so much misery around us? Stop for a minute and think about your friends, colleagues, family members, neighbors, et al. The biggest percentage are the people complaining about this or that. Others are fighting one another. Some family members killing each other over property left by their parents. Others in court over property or broken marriages. Children on drugs as a result of missed or lack of expected support from parents and guardians. Very few people have peace of mind. Do you have an idea why there is so much commotion? This has nothing to do with the current crisis although the current pandemic has aggravated the tragic situation that the world is in.
Now shift the focus to yourself. Are you really happy? Do you love what you do for a living? Do you just wake up and show up to your office or workplace just so that you can pay your bills at the end of the month? Would you rather be doing something else for a living? I have no apologies for asking you all these questions because it is important that you start focusing on your personal life and utilize this 2020 break to make the necessary changes. The slow down or pandemic in the world today is for a reason. It is giving you a chance to sit back and evaluate your personal life. The break should not end before you make the necessary changes or even start a totally new journey. You will thank yourself later if you take this time to reflect on your life seriously.
I am a member of a girls’ book club, Yes, THE GIRLS CLUB, and we have just completed reading the book, IKIGAI, the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. I wish to share some of the learnings from that book because this book has helped me change quite a number of things that I thought were normal. As humans, we are used to a routine in that we sometimes fail to stop and question why we do what we do. However, we subconsciously continue searching for meaning in life whether we like it or not. We continuously ask ourselves; what is the meaning of my life? Is the point just to live longer or should I seek a higher purpose? Why do some people know what they want and have a passion for life, while others languish in confusion? The majority of people are continuously asking themselves these questions in many different ways. Some will go out and look for support in response to the questions while others experience frustration and anxiety because they cannot find any answers. The book goes ahead to describe the pattern of a long and peaceful life based on how the local people living in an island called Okinawa, Japan live. Their lifestyle, habits, and community support is part of the reason they live a long and happy life. For the people of that community, there is nothing like retirement in old age. They live a life of passion, a life of purpose, (the IKIGAI), a life where they pursue happiness. They treat each other as brother or sister even if they have never met before. The spirit of UBUNTU ‘I am because we are’, is alive in that village. They embrace each other and there is no sad moment. Their daily routine, the diet, their frame of mind, and attitude keep them young. They believe in getting enough sleep and keeping themselves busy therefore prolong their lifespan. The writer of the book attributes this lifestyle to the fact that the people who lived during the Second World War had to learn and invent new survival tactics during the war. You can perhaps borrow a leaf from the Japanese at this time when we are experiencing similar negative effects to the world economies due to the pandemic.
As you read this article, ask yourself a number of questions; why do I wake up every morning? how am I spending each day? Am I just sitting waiting to return to work after this pandemic? Am I just complaining about the lost job or lack of it? Have I visualized my life? Do I have a plan for my future? What do I want to achieve in the next 5-10 years from now? Is it clear in my mind what exactly I want or it is just wishful thinking? Have I written down my personal strategic plan? What actions are supporting that plan? How many of my plans have I achieved so far? How can I use this long break to build a better life? Am I excited about my future plans? Do I need a mentor or a coach? Who can provide that mentorship support? This is a good start for a new you.
In conclusion, do not waste this COVID19 crisis moment. Use the time to put together a well written personal plan with specific goals for your life. Remember to include some well-articulated action plans and expected delivery dates. I wrote my first personal strategic plan in 2007. I have been taking one full week each year to reflect and update it. I have achieved a good percentage of what I planned to do. So, take a few hours of your time and draft one for your life. The plan should cover various facets of your life including physical health, mental health, spiritual health, family, wealth, and work. This will help you focus your energies on a specific path and build your life around your IKIGAI. You can appoint an accountability partner to keep you on a check and nudge you on. You need to find the reason to wake up every morning, your IKIGAI. Everyone has his or her IKIGAI. Please use this crisis period wisely and you will thank yourself later.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. The contents of this article are my personal opinions. Please leave a comment below and click the follow button to be notified of the weekly blog posts. I post a blog every Saturday.