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Scholar-Journalist of the Week: Book Review of Ikigai

This week’s winner Rahul Gupta of Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication shares key tips to a long and happy life



For Rahul Gupta, an Advertising and Marketing student with Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC), situations inspire him to write. He says, “I think when someone is good at expressing themselves in front of anybody, then situations can generate different kinds of emotions in you, and hence, words come out naturally.” Gupta is currently pursuing his dream of studying advertising and marketing. He loves to create work, be it with art, videos, articles, songs, poems and other creatives. 

Recently, he penned down an interesting book review on ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ in which he highlighted several interesting facts and quotes from the book. In a candid interview, Gupta explains how everyone has their own IKIGAI, but it takes patience to find one. Read edited excerpts:

Why did you pick ‘Ikigai’ for the book review? 

The reason is simple. After I was introduced to this concept of IKIGAI, I really want to live longer and I need all my family members, and my friends to accompany me till I reach at least a 100. I want us to live healthy and happily. Imagine hanging out with your loved ones till that age. 

In the book review, you have highlighted several interesting facts. Please share key learnings from the book? 

I think I might end up telling you more about it. The book tells us that everyone has their own IKIGAI but it takes patience to find one. The concept of moai – the local community where you live, hangout more with people around you, if you can. Stress, more stress, is harmful to not only the mind but the body too. But a little bit of stress is what keeps the drive so we need to keep the balance here too. A lot of sitting will age you. 

Try to stay active as much as you can. For example, if you’ll read the book you’ll find a lot of interviews by supercentenarians and they all said they love to do gardening. Take stairs whenever you can, and participate in social leisure activities. 

Replace your junk food with fruits. Please minimise your sugar intake too, I know it’s tough but at least start. And there are a lot of things which you can find in the book and also in your daily habits if you will observe. 

What’s your Ikigai? How did you discover it? 

It’s “flowing happiness” when I am working on something and I don’t check what time it is. Or when I am painting or doing a portrait, or any creative work. For me, it’s also the feeling that I get after I do brisk exercise. Or when I spend a good time with my nieces, my family and my friends. 

Two tips on how one can find his/her Ikigai? 

Try to find what makes you happy or for starters try to find what doesn’t make you happy. It’s very subjective and depends from person to person. It is about finding joy in whatever you do, finding a balance amongst the hectic daily routine we find ourselves stuck in. There is no other life – a concept as direct and definite as this one. With Ikigai, you can find your purpose and live one full of joy. 

When did you start your writing journey? Any interesting anecdotes you wish to share? 

Well I think I was introduced to the concept of writing a journal at a young age when I was in school. I used to write my daily entry in a diary, and then it evolved eventually from poems to songs and everything. Okay, recently, I was given a college project to write a short movie script and I was commuting via the metro. I was eating an apple and suddenly got a brilliant idea, which I wanted to note down. But my phone had already died because I do almost everything on my phone all day. So I put the half-eaten apple in my mouth, took out a notepad in one hand and started writing my thoughts down with the other hand very uncomfortably. After writing everything, my mouth was almost drooling because it was holding an apple. I noticed people in the metro looking at me like “what is this guy doing!” So a brilliant thought can strike you anytime. 

Two key learnings from your writing journey? 

I’m not that big on writing so I don’t have that big of a journey, but I can tell you things that I have learned from writing. Writing can help you to interact with the world. It can connect your heart to what’s out there, so please write your thoughts. 

Writing is one of the most important aspects of journalism. How can budding journalists improve/enhance their writing skills? 

Reading, observing and expressing. Read as much as you can and observe the things that you find generally around yourself. Try to find out the different tonality in things and how something so minute is affecting the world, like the butterfly effect.

What’s your plan after completing your programme at AIMC? 

To be honest, I don’t have a clear vision and I think it’s fine. But what I do know is that I want to do creative writing, illustration, and movies. And I am really happy that at AIMC I am getting the opportunity to do all of that.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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