Permission To Be Human

Living in the happiest country in the world doesn't guarantee someone his/her happiness. As the experience of Yoko Inoue, it was tough for her to find satisfaction amidst being in the happiest country in the world.

Yoko shares her learnings on her quest of finding happiness in a foreign country.

Nick: You actually reached out to him via email while you were writing your series of articles, and you asked him advice, basically asking: how to be happy in a foreign country which is the happiest country in the world?

So would you like to share what he wrote?

Yoko: Yes, you're right. Well, you know, in a way, I'm a failed student. I was in a situation where, even though I took the happiness class at Harvard, and even though I was in the happiest country in the world, I was not so happy.

So I reached out to Tal just to hear what he would say about my situation. I didn't expect him to reply, 10 years have passed since I took the class. Yet, he replied in 15 minutes. His answer was amazing, and let me quote, here's what he wrote: 

"Even in the happiest country in the world, it's important to give yourself permission to be human, going through periods of uncertainty, and unhappiness is natural, and in fact, can be a springboard to deeper understanding of one's purpose, and passion."

Nick: It is quite an answer. As you know, it reminded me of an important aspect of ikigai. In article eight, in your series, "My quest for happiness in Denmark", you wrote on the subject of revisiting the authentic meaning of ikigai. 

I was like, oh, wow, and I was really excited by your article, and I thought I should reach out to this person. And I did, and here we are.

IKIGAI-KAN: Feel a Life Worth Living

Ikigai is a greatly misunderstood concept outside of Japan. It’s not a word from Okinawa. It’s not the Japanese secret to longevity. It’s not an entrepreneurial Venn diagram framework.

This evidence-based book clears up the misconceptions of Japan's most misunderstood word and culturally appropriated concept and offers an authentic perspective of the concept in the context of Japanese culture.

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