The Bibliophile's Guide to Ikigai

Ikigai (noun) \[icky-guy] - {Japanese: 'Iki' (to live) and 'gai' (reason)}; ‘reason for living’; ‘raison d'etre’; ‘motivation to jump out of bed each morning’


Dear Reader,

Yesterday, 42 days shy of turning 35, the epiphany dawned upon yours truly that through a series of serendipitous, 'seemingly improbable' coincidences, ikigai has finally been identified.

Today, before we dive into this ninth ScrollStack post, here's a quick update on the Bibliotherapy front...

...The Bibliophile's 'x' under 35 List (where 'x' = number of ScrollStack posts)

Till October 6th, 2020, this reader/writer will be attempting to maximize 'x' for your reading pleasure...

...and for these 40-odd days, in addition to the always-free-to-read weekly Bibliotherapy Zines, all other posts published will carry no charge whatsoever.

I only request you to keep in mind the motto of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation - 'Share and Enjoy'!!

~ Reader-in-Chief

“I wake up in the morning and I see that flower, with the dew on its petals, and at the way it's folding out, and it makes me happy, she said.

It's important to focus on the things in the here and now, I think.

In a month, the flower will be shriveled and you will miss its beauty if you don't make the effort to do it now.

Your life, eventually, is the same way.” ~ Dan Buettner, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

'Blue Zones are regions of the world where Dan Buettner claims people live much longer than average as per his research conducted over more than a decade.'

One of these hotspots for healthy folks is Okinawa. This Japanese island is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians on Earth. It is also said to be the origin place for ikigai.

“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing.

Just as [some] humans have lusted after objects and money since the dawn of time, other humans have felt dissatisfaction at the relentless pursuit of money and fame and have instead focused on something bigger than their own material wealth.

This has over the years been described using many different words and practices, but always hearkening back to the central core of meaningfulness in life.” ~ Hector GarciaIkigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life


If the mandatory curriculum across business schools worldwide was tweaked to include the above Venn diagram along with Porter's Five Forces Framework and BCG's Growth-Share Matrix, maybe managers across the corporate ecosystem would be slightly less discontent with their lot.

[add to library --> Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life - Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles]

Countless articles strewn across the web urge one to ask oneself the following four questions to identify one's ikigai.

  1. What do you really love?

  2. What are you good at?

  3. What does the world need?

  4. What can you get paid for?

Discovering one's ikigai, that is, the intersection of the above four elements, is said to bring fulfilment, happiness and make you live longer.

The lattermost benefit cannot be taken for granted by anyone though, especially in 2020. But two out of three isn't too shabby.

So I introspected. It helped.

Sparing time for the above exercise is wholeheartedly recommended for all.

question one - What do you really love?
"Baby don't hurt me... no more"

This one was the easiest to answer.


All my other interests in life developed courtesy the habit of reading inculcated 30-odd years ago.

TV, movies, music, comedy, internet, travel - none of these could ever replace my love for books.

Instead, being a bibliophile helped me appreciate all of the above infinitely more.

Spot the Icky Guy :)

QuesTION two - What are you good at?

“Of all the things I am not very good at, living in the real world is perhaps the most outstanding.” ~ Bill Bryson

It's every reader's dream to write at least one book, if not for anyone else, but for oneself. I'm no different.

However, the problem with being a voracious reader is that you tend to be your own writing's harshest critic, leading to frequent impostor syndrome attacks and a deep affection for whooshing deadlines.

These past five months experimenting with Bibliotherapy have been quite prolific, though.

And like any art form, the more you practice, the better you get.


QuestIOn three - What does the world need?
In a Utopian world... yes indeed.

The world needs a whole lot more than love.

What I can humbly offer it is my experience as a reader (and by extension, a consumer of content of any conceivable kind).

Ever since the day the world changed in March, I've offered a plethora of reasons for someone to pick up a book, watch a video, listen to a song, be entertained by @himeshdoingthings...

...through Instagram posts, stories, comments, DMs et al. And now, via ScrollStack.


Question four - What can you get paid for?
"Money, so they say... is the root of all evil today"

The toughest question of the lot, the googly, and the one for which, frankly, I had no answers till recently.

For till now, every single paycheck I'd earned in my seven-year corporate stint was courtesy a well-paying job which I didn't particularly enjoy.

Being someone who prefers books to people, a career in Sales was never quite my calling. So three years ago, the moment I'd gathered enough confidence to do so, I decided to embark on a sabbatical... which finally ended a couple of weeks ago when after selling the first copy of my first ever piece of written work on ScrollStack, I could honestly call myself an independent creator.

During my months away from the corporate world, I'd spent a fair amount of time drafting a quasi-fictional novel which is still a work-in-eternal-progress at the moment.

The up-side - Enough writing practice for me to laugh at writer's block in its face and publish to my heart's content, a phenomenon never experienced before.

Plus this summer of experiments with Bibliotherapy has connected me to a vast, continuously-expanding network of fellow readers worldwide.

Now that a platform like ScrollStack exists outside the ecosystem of black-box social media algorithms, I've got more than a few ideas cooking in my head to take this 'sanity project' of mine to the next level.


“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you've felt that way.” ~ Charles Bukowski

“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” ~ Charles Bukowski

Project Bibliotherapy's been a fair reason to live my life well enough despite waking up each morning not knowing how the day will proceed.

And I must admit... this feeling of ikigai is equivalent to...

One day at a time... :)

“So stay active, maintain a slower pace of life, stop overeating, walk a bit, stay in touch, reconnect with nature, practice gratitude, live in the moment, and most importantly, follow your icky guy.” ~ Note to everyone, including self

May the Icky Guy be with You :)

Name. One book/author/topic on your reading list for 2021. Email. Phone number (optional). That’s all.
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