“I’ve always loved butterflies, because they remind us that it’s never too late to transform our lives.” ~ Drew Barrymore
This is great news! No matter where you are on your life journey, it’s never too late! And yet for many, the idea of transformation is overwhelming. So, this month I thought I would share a few ways you can begin the transformation in significant ways.
Several years ago I was invited to participate in a planning group to bring the Blue Zones concept to my community. This initiative is based on the work of Dan Buettner who teamed up with National Geographic to find the world’s longest-lived people and study them. They worked with a team of demographers to find pockets of people around the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people who reach age 100. Five communities emerged and from those five emerged nine common traits. As I learned more about these nine traits, I began to transform my life and what Buettner calls “reverse engineer” my longevity.
One of the first big AHA concepts was that one of the key factors in our longevity is to align with our purpose. Okinawans call it “ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” which for both translates to “why I wake up each day.” In America, we have so many different points of view and our work is connected to pay for things, whereas in the blue zones, work is just part of their identity and connects them to their community and purpose. Having purpose is not the same as having goals but it will definitely help you achieve them. Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to about seven years of extra life expectancy.
Buettner defines purpose this way: “Purpose is the convergence of values, passions, what you like to do, what you’re good at. Then the important part, in my opinion, is there’s no purpose unless there’s an outlet for it. The best outlet I think is your job because you do it every day, but 69% or so of Americans don’t find purpose at work. So then it’s got to be your family, or volunteering, or a hobby. But it’s got to be putting those passions and expertise and gifts to work. Once you identify that, man, it’s just like supercharging your engine.” Another term for this is being in FLOW, and I totally agree, it will put new fuel in your engine!
The second AHA concept was having the “Right Tribe.” According to Buettner, “The world’s longest lived people chose – or were born into – social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created “moais” – groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.” So choose your tribe wisely.
There are seven other concepts in what is called the Power 9 Principles of Blue Zones. If you are ready to begin transforming your life, Alaka’i Associates is standing by to help you find your purpose and your tribe.
Until next time…