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Happiness and Ikigai: A personal journey towards meaning

The universal pursuit of happiness

Calm woman on the beach

The pursuit of happiness is a universal journey. However, its meaning and how we achieve it can vary greatly from one culture to another and even from person to person. In the West, we tend to pursue happiness as if it were a permanent state of joy and satisfaction that can be achieved through the right achievements or by accumulating wealth. But is this the only way to see happiness?

The word "happiness" has roots in the ancient Latin word "felicitas," which initially meant luck or good fortune but, over time, has evolved to encompass a feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment.

Ikigai: A different perspective from the East

Definition and meaning of ikigai 

Looking to the East, we find the Japanese concept of ikigai , which offers us a different perspective. Ikigai is made up of "iki" (life) and "gai" (value or worth) . This does not focus on a singular achievement or the accumulation of goods, but on finding daily purpose and joy in the little things. According to Japanese philosophy, it is a person's reason for being, what inspires them to get up every morning with hope and determination.

Balance with stones

#PositiveStress and the path to ikigai

Happiness like a multiple recipe cake. In my book, #PositiveStress , I address this topic in chapter 6: "Giving meaning to the path." Through a conversation with my friend Ferrán, a chef from Barcelona , ​​we explored the idea that happiness, like a cake, does not have a single recipe.

Just as the ingredients of a cake vary to meet the needs of a celiac or a vegan, happiness adapts to individual circumstances and needs.

There is no single "perfect cake" of happiness; What is essential for one may be different for another.

Ana Lombard with her book #POSITIVESTRESS

Diversity in the personal search for ikigai 

This approach resonates with ikigai , which does not prescribe a single path to happiness, but rather recognizes diversity in our personal pursuits. In Japan, it is considered that the sum of small daily joys leads to a full and satisfying life. In a society where community ties and service to others are valued, finding ikigai is a journey toward self-knowledge and personal fulfillment.

Composition of life through ikigai

Just as Ferrán composes his dishes with the unique needs of his diners in mind, each of us can compose our lives in a way that reflects our unique ikigai . Whether through work, relationships, creativity or service; What counts is that each activity, each gesture, each choice brings us closer to that feeling of belonging and purpose.

Final reflections: Happiness as a path

Happiness, then, is more a path than a destination; A journey in which every step, no matter how small, is imbued with meaning. At the end of the day, what matters is not how far we have come, but how connected we feel to the life we ​​lead and how much value we bring to it.

Woman silhouette at sunrise

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