Finding Harmony Through Nagomi

Life can be hectic during its various phases and pulls us in many different directions.  Family caregiving, work, homes, pets, and passion projects drive us forward, but without balance and time to relax and recharge, people can experience burnout.  The Japanese concept of Nagomi helps individuals to find harmony and peace in their pursuits and relationships. 

According to a recent Big Think: The Learning Curve article, Kenichiro “Ken” Mogi, researcher at Sony Computer Science Laboratories and visiting University of Tokyo professor has written his latest book about the Nagomi philosophy and how it can help people find more balance and harmony in their lives. 

Mogi explains that Nagomi promotes sustainability and agreeability and that Japanese people are adept at being successful while staying under the radar.  Japanese food also supports harmony, blending influences from traditional Japanese cooking, along with Western, Chinese and Indian.  Japan is one of the regions of the world recognized for longevity and good health known as The Blue Zones – the blending of cuisines helps people create a unique diet that meets their needs.  

Finding balance and harmony in relationships can be challenging.  Western culture encourages people to seek happiness and visible signs of success, while in Japan, being selfless and altruistic is the ideal.  In Nagomi, serving the community helps provide people with a sense of belonging and purpose that supports longevity and well-being.  Doing for others also gives individuals a dopamine surge – the feel-good chemical.  Serving others is an excellent example of Nagomi – a mutually beneficial practice. 

Finding Nagomi in Daily Life

You may be wondering what actions the average person can take in their daily life to promote a greater sense of balance, peace and harmony.  Mogi suggests switching up your daily routine – spend time in nature if you are naturally an indoor person, or challenge yourself to meet new people by joining a club or volunteer organization.   Understanding that not all success is based on financial rewards is also integral to Nagomi. Joy and meaning can be found in savouring a good meal, having a harmonious marriage or creating art or music. 

The Japanese also approach business and social change with a greater sense of Nagomi, by working to avoid confrontation, remaining friendly, and seeking gradual and sustainable reform.  As our communities become more global, and more external influences shape our lives, staying open to new influences helps create more balance and enjoyment.