Walking Diary

By Hsu Shen On


April 2024 · 5 minute read

This is the latest book I finished reading. This book feels more like a blog, an educational article. I need to keep notes while reading it, as there are lots of points, and you want to remember them. I definitely would recommend this, for one it’s a small book only 194 pages, so you can go through it quickly. Secondly, there is lots of good advice here in my opinion. Here are some notes.


The term means to find something to do to make life worthwhile. It’s the purpose of life, the reason for being, there has to be a reason to get out of bed. (This reminds me during my MCA degree course, when we were practicing for job interviews, one great answer which I still remember was given by a girl, she said I would like to work in a place so that I am ready to jump out of bed to start work.) To find one’s Ikigai is to find something that you love to do that you feel positive about.

Whatever you do, do not retire

In the book, they took examples from people in Japan who have lived a long fruitful life. One thing in common is they remain active even in their old age. They still do some form of work every day. The idea is while you are physically active, you are better physically and mentally. When we say don’t retire it does not mean never stop earning money, at some point you can always leave your main earning jobs. But the idea is to keep working on something, if not for money but for some other goals. It could be just working on your hobby, like planting trees, painting, or singing. You just have to remain active.

Don’t multitask, concentrate on a single task

It may be counterintuitive as in today’s world everybody is multitasking and proud of doing so. But it suggests if you do multiple things you end up being less productive, it is better to concentrate on doing one thing and doing it well.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” - Aristotle

The idea of excellence comes up, and it can be only achieved if you do it repeatedly, and with dedication. The book gives the example of a chef who takes years to just perfect the way to do simple tasks like making an omelet.

80 percent rule

This is a technique where you fill your belly up to 80 percent then stop eating. Do not eat till you are full. This is a good habit to follow, we should practice eating in moderation. Eating is a major reason behind how healthy you are. One quote “Eating the rainbow” is a good one, that means eating lots of variety of food. There are lots of good details on the topic of food in the book, so I leave you to read those.


“In modern life, we spend days without raising our arms above our ears. Think about it, our arms are down when using computers, when using smartphones, and when reading books. While our ancestors were raising their hands over their heads all the time when gathering things from the tree”. We are not doing enough physical activities, to be healthy physically and mentally one has to get in a routine to do some form of exercise every day. “Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting. Just getting up for 5 minutes is going to get things going”. The idea is to not sit for too long when doing work, it is recommended to take small breaks and stand up, this gets your system going.


“The flow state is an optimum state of mind when we’re fully engaged in an activity. Things like sports, when we’re playing music, when we’re playing games, and even religious activities. So ikigai, sense of coherence, and flow are relational. When we’re in a flow state, we feel ikigai. The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” Flow is a term we use when people are fully engaged in the activity they are involved in, coders get into a “flow” state(another similar term we can use is getting into a zone) where they can work for many hours, days without needing or wanting to take a break. In this state, your mind is supercharged to do that exact work. This is the most productive state. One way to find your Ikigai is to find which work gets you into this flow state, what you do when you start doing it, you are fully engaged in that activity, and are not bothered by any external environment.

In the end, this book gives guidance on how to find your Ikigai and encourages you to search for it if you have not found it already. There is a wonderful prayer mentioned in the book.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to

change the things I can;

and Wisdom to

know the difference.

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