Ikigai

Wes' Review

This review is a bit different. I wrote it as a letter to a specific person.

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Yesterday when I told you about an article coming out mentioning a subpoena I recently received, you asked “how do you let these things just roll off your back?” I responded “I have calloused my brain by enduring much harder things.”

I finished “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret To A Long and Happy Life” after our conversation. The last chapter is all about this very topic – resilience and anti- fragility. I suggest you read it.

The authors wrote:

“Resilience isn’t just the ability to persevere. It’s also an outlook we can cultivate to stay focused on the important things in life rather than what is most urgent and keep ourselves from being carried away by negative emotions… We will explore techniques that go beyond resilience to cultivate anti-fragility. Sooner or later we all have to face difficult moments and the way we do this can make a huge difference to our quality of life. Proper training for our mind, body and emotional resilience is essential for confronting life’s ups and downs. Fall seven times, get up eight.”

So how do you cultivate anti-fragility? You do hard things. Let me give you a real life example.

This weekend I am taking on the David Goggins 4 x 4 x 48 challenge. I will be running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. The miles are hard. The sleep deprivation is harder.

Why do this? I’m not getting a medal. I’m not doing it with anyone else. I’m doing it because it’s hard and I haven’t had a race in three months. I need to constantly do hard things to prepare my mind and body for stress. I must become anti-fragile.
Anti-fragility is only a small part of this book about happiness and longevity. The authors have studied the communities that live the longest, especially those of Japan, and have come up with ten rules to live and long and happy life:

  1. Stay active and do not retire
  2. Take it slow
  3. Do not fill your stomach
  4. Surround yourself with good friends
  5. Get in shape
  6. Smile
  7. Reconnect with nature
  8. Give thanks
  9. Live in the moment
  10. Follow your passion

I loved this book. It’s the most compact summary I’ve found for living a well-rounded life. Be focused. Be successful. Be happier. Live longer. I think you’ll love it too.

W.

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