Finally, I know the secrets! 🙂
Ok, so six months ago, I wrote about the book, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, by John Izzo, Ph.D. At that point, I’d only read through two of the secrets: be true to yourself and leave no regrets. This book has been right beside on my night stand, and I’ve been reading bit by bit, taking notes, and reflecting on those secrets. Finally, a few nights ago, I finished.
Well, that would be rude, wouldn’t it, not to share?! So, without further ado, the five secrets.
Secrets one and two, I’ve all ready talked about in my previous blog found here, so I’ll continue from there. The third secret was become love.
John talks a lot about the choice of being a loving person, not just feeling the emotion, but becoming that person who sees and gives love to all those around them. First and foremost, we have to be able to see ourselves as worthy. If we cannot do this, being that loving person is that much harder. It has to be a priority in our lives, not something we occasionally do, but something we are doing intentionally all the time. By doing so, we open our lives up to so many positive possibilities. Along those sames lines, choosing to see others with kindness was another point he made about finding that love for life. One of this interviewers, a barber from close by me here in Iowa said this:
I noticed that if you have love in your life and a job that gives your purpose, you will be a happy person.”
The quote of this chapter was a subheading: “Do good if you can, but always do no harm.” How amazing it would be if this kind of quote could be followed by all. Heck, if you what the debate last night, could this be applied there?? Yup!
Some questions posed from this chapter: Did I make room for friends, family and relationships today/this week? Was I kind and loving today/this week to those who matter most to me? Did I act as if each stranger was someone for whom I could make a difference? Am I planting flowers or weeds in my self-conscious mind?
Next secret: Live the Moment
Pretty self-explanatory if you ask me. He talked about choosing to be in every moment, that every day is a gift, to live as if it were your last sunset, and that the present moment is the only moment. The part of this chapter that struck me was the idea of training our minds for happiness. I’ve never been a “Sally Sunshine” kind of guy, keeping my emotions and feeling pretty much to myself (driving my wife crazy), but in recent years, I’ve really worked to find the positives, to live the positives of the things around me. We have that power to train our minds, and that’s what I worked hard to do. Part of that change in attitude has been my connections made online. There are just so many positive people who are out there that it’s hard not to have some of that rub off on you. Now, my students ask me “are you ever in a bad mood” and “why do you like Mondays so much?” My reply, my attitude is a choice and I choose to go positive. John tells the story of a young man sitting in the front row of a talk, and how he had this great energy about him, laughing fully, crying, and just allowing his energy to be felt by those around him. Afterwards, when John talked to this man about his energy, that man talked about how his grandmother had this amazing energy and how he learned from her that “if you sit in the front everywhere you are, every day and in every moment, you will die a happy person.”
Questions from this chapter: Did I take every pleasure that was available to me today/this week (really smell the flowers), and did I was with awareness through my life or just run? Did I find myself saying “I would be happy if….?” or did I choose happiness and contentment? Did I live in the present today/this week, or did I let tomorrow or yesterday steal the day’s happiness?
And the final secret: Give More than You Take
This one was so interesting to me because it’s so not what our society is based around. We work to get things, to desire things, and at Christmas or some other event, we might give something away. What John found out here in his interviews, we literally have two tasks as humans: to find ourselves then lose ourselves. We find ourselves by discovering our destiny and remaining to true to that and to ourselves. But to truly be happy, we have to lose ourselves in something larger. He found in his interviews that those people who were the happiest were those who gave back much more than they took whether that was through money, service, time with family and friends, all of it matters. A couple of things I wrote down from this chapter that have stuck with me:
– In the act of doing, happiness finds us.
– We have a great deal of control over what we give, not so much on what we get.
– Do you want a 10 minute funeral or a 10 hour funeral (referring to the amount of time and people who will come to pay their respects to you)?
– Happiness comes from serving and loving.
This chapter just made me think about what I’m doing. I love what I do as a husband, a father, a son, a brother, and a teacher, but what could I change to truly make a difference in lives? I’ve not answered that question yet, but much of it has to do with something else John found out: what we hold in our awareness, we move towards naturally. I’m easily distracted by a lot of things, and I know this pulls me away from what really matters. How do I keep that focus on what’s important? One thought from the book, pay attention! 🙂
Questions from this section: Did I make the world a better place in some small way? How do I want to be more kind and generous this week? Did I remind myself that I am making a difference even if I don’t see it?
And there it is. Yes, it’s a touchy feely kind of book, and for some it’s not their cup of tea. But it’s what I needed, and I’m glad that I kept this book around as long as I have. At 45, there are certain realities starting to set in, and this helped me to think about the life changing events that are on the horizon. It helped me find some perspective on what’s going on around me at the moment, and to keep pushing forward with my own attitude training.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you. This book has certainly added something to my life and I look forward to reading it again in a couple of years! 🙂