The 80% Rule 🌱 Lessons from Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life - PART 1

in life •  2 years ago  (edited)

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Last month, in the weeks leading up to and just after Christmas @teamhumble and I went through this book together. It’s relatively short, and we read one chapter a night, it was a great wind down at the end of the work day and sparked some awesome conversation- some of which is still going on!

”The Japanese secret to a long and happy life” — sounds daunting I know, but Ikigai (the book and the concept) is more about the path you take to find your reason for “being”. Then the output or result of that reason. It’s about knowing what puts you into a state of FLOW (which we’ll get on to in a later post) and what recharges and energizes you so that you WANT to keep working, even into your 70’s 80’s and beyond!

Going through the book there were a few really great concepts that really struck me, and are having an effect on my day to day even now, so I thought it would be best if I shared them with you in a series of posts—

Here’s The Plan…

Because there’s so much awesomeness to be absorbed I thought we’d split this up into 4 posts. They are as follows (unless I have a better idea and decide to ditch the format for something else… I’M A CREATIVE DAMNIT DON’T BOX ME IN!”)

  • PART 1 | The 80% Rule
  • PART 2 | Work to live, don’t live to work
  • PART 3 | FLOW & distraction economy
  • PART 4 | My IKIGAI — Show me yours & I’ll show you mine

This series is in no way meant to deter you from reading the book yourself. — I’d HIGHLY recommend grabbing it, cracking open a new notebook for your thoughts and giving it a read over the course of a week or so. You won’t regret it!

The 80% Rule..

How many times have we heard someone say “Give it 100%!” or even “Give it 110%!”. Coming from the incredibly work-driven and competitive North East of the United States, it’s something I’ve heard time and time again. The concept of giving your ALL for something, or doing EVERYTHING you can was always a strategy that I thought would leave me happy, satisfied and successful.

However, more often than not, it left me burnt out, tired, and hopeless.

The 80% rule within the context of the book we’re discussing really only had to do with food. Which is a huge place to start but we’ll expand a bit on it because well, that’s how my brain works. Not EVERYTHING has to be linear does it??

The writers of IKIGAI did a lot of research on the world’s BLUE ZONES, meaning places on earth where the population's average lifespan is the longest, and they found that one of the biggest “secrets” to a long and happy life is eating until you are only 80% full.

That doesn’t quite register with our western concept of “finish everything on your plate because there are kids starving in Africa” that we all grew up with. But if you do a bit of digging, overeating really starts when you’re “full”. The point of eating is to stamp out hunger. Sure you COULD eat a bit more, but you don’t need to. The energy expenditure that the body goes through to process every bite we take is pretty massive and often diverts from many more equally important functions in order to process our intake.

This is a huge mental and cultural and habitual shift, but stopping before you’re full is being found to be the best way for your body to keep you active alert and youthful even into your later years.

Now that we’ve got the food bit out of the way, what if we applied the 80% rule to other parts of our lives? This is incredibly tough for me because I often blow past even 110% and don’t even notice until I’m rounding the corner to 200%!

The problem with giving 100% or even 110% of yourself, being at work, in a relationship, or in exercise and fitness, is that it leaves absolutely NOTHING left for you! And in some cases even creates a deficit.

For me, this 80% concept tied perfectly into the 30 Day Yoga Challenge I participated in last month here on Steemit. I decided to be ambitious and work through a 30 day program that was most definitely above my skill and fitness level, and that if I continued to push myself until I had nothing left, I most CERTAINLY wouldn’t finish 30 days, and knowing me it’s very likely I’d hurt myself.

I’ve also been allowing the 80% rule to roll over into what I’m willing to give to clients in terms of my time, my energy and my creativity. If you’re a freelancer or even if you have a 9-5, recognizing how vitally important it is to leave something for yourself at the end of the work day, is going to be the difference between sustainability, and a one way ticket to burnout land…. (it’s like Burning Man, just with less glitter and no music.)

That 20% at the end of the day is SO SO important to leave for yourself so that that you can work on passion projects, have some pointless creative-rest play time or even help someone else who needs that brain of yours.

I used to joke that I thought that when I left my “Day-Job” I’d finally be rid of my awful boss, until I realized that I’m often WAY harder on myself than any boss I’ve ever had.

So, will you give this year 80% with me? Will you honor the precious resource of your brain’s processing power, your limited time on this plane of existence, and your body’s ability to move you through any challenge you face, by not operating in a deficit? — It might not be an easy habit to break but I’m learning how necessary it is every day, and I’ll continue to work toward it until I get there, but only at 80%..


I SO hope you enjoyed the first part of this 4 part series about things I learned from IKIGAI: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. I really loved writing it for you and I’m super stoked to get into the rest of the posts coming up!

Coffee Talk: Let me know what you think about my new 80% strategy. BS? Kinda cool? What do you think?

Until Next Time Friends!
<3 Dayleeo

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Keeping back 20% seems like a good rule of thumb in many areas of life: fitness, finance, scheduling, food (as you mentioned).

I also keep coming across the 80/20 rule - that 80% of your results usually come from just 20% of your efforts - so why not give that 20% your 100% or something like that. Hmm. That got complicated quickly.

I'm a big fan of "satisficing." Most things don't have to be perfect, and the effort to make them perfect just isn't worth it.

Yes, or something like that lol- but yes I get you! What do they say, perfection is the enemy of progress? It took me a long time to let that sink into my skull-

In reality, you don’t need to be perfect- you just have to be persistent and consistent - even if you’re only giving 80% consistently

Definitely! Learning how to prioritise your own self health-wise and ALL the things you still need to do is quite difficult. Especially in some cases.

I should check Google if they have a pdf version of this book. Would love to check it out! Oh, I also think that '@things the bookworm' would love to dive into this!

I highly recommend it! If you can't find it on google Amazon may have a digital version as well :)

Sweet! Will start my virtual quest :D

I hope you can find it!

I have come to the conclusion that I do need to start putting aside time for me at the end of my day. I start usually by walking on the beach but I think I may change this up and do the walk in the evening. My sons say I have been burning the candle at both ends for far too long and I think they may be right. So this 80% idea sort of fits in with my idea of cutting back on some of the responsibilities I have taken on.

If you think about it, leaving 20% for yourself isnt even that much! But it's still LOADS more than we already do, so I figured its as good a place to start as any. Welcome to the 80% club! <3

Thanks. Looking forward to it!

i think steem voter is broken this morning so i'm just gonna vote you up now because this is an awesome book that other people should get and jump into in different chapters whenever they get the time.

Fair enough! ;) <3 Danka!

I think the 80% rule is a wonderful thing to think about when you are going through your everyday life and trying to figure out spots that can flow better if they are not backed up with over expended energy. Great post.

I used to joke that I thought that when I left my “Day-Job” I’d finally be rid of my awful boss, until I realized that I’m often WAY harder on myself than any boss I’ve ever had.

I know that feeling. I think it is great that you recognize it and are consciously trying to adjust your inward behavior. I am looking forward to the other parts in the next few days.

Thanks love! It's really all under an overarching theme about being nicer to myself when I think about it. You're right overworking one part of you means other parts inevitably suffer, and operating in a deficit is someting i'm not interested in finantially, so why would I be ok with it in any other area?

Thank you for your support as always @lifemovedbysteem <3 Looking forward to sharing the rest!

nice post

thank you

Love it! It's really all about having a good balance in life, and most of all, being kind to yourself. In the end, what's the point in achieving the "best"(or what you insist is the best) when you're always burning out afterwards... This has been a big lesson for me, and hence why I am re-evaluating many aspects of my life, because I want sustainability.

Yes maam! It's all about the big S word! I'm not sure where we got so attached to this 100% perfectionism and completionism concept, but I'm working bit by bit to pull back so I'm not always at max capacity. Who knows what we're not leaving room for by being at 100% occupency ;) Maybe the Universe has something it wants to deliver ;)

Nice new profile pic btw! <3

Definitely :)

Thank you! Was having fun experimenting with shadows with that one (been allowing myself to explore my creativity and hopefully reignite my passion for photography!)

Awesome! Always good to push the envelope of your own creativity- can’t wait for more photo posts from you then! ;)


Nice, hope you follow me and upvote my posts, thanks

Thanks for stopping by!