Some secrets are too good to keep to yourself. I recently a book that is filled with them, five specifically. It is a book about living well based on the better stories and experiences of those who have already done so.
The title is a bit scary. The ideas of death and secrets could lead to anything. From cults to taxes. But Izzo’s ideas are not so much a secret as they are good reminders. And his reminders are timely no matter your age.
The book is part research project, part sit around a camp fire and share the good stories of life while eating s’mores.
After reviewing over 1,000 nominations, Izzo interviewed 200 people who were identified as people who had lived life well. They were the kind of people we all wished we were.
It turns out their secrets are ideas we already know, but when these secrets are told through their stories, they are powerful enough to help us change. We get lost in the busyness of now, but the stories of others help us to stop and see.
The 5 Secrets
1. Be true to yourself.
Or in other words, reflect more. This secret was the most common theme. Instead of chasing what others want for your life, chase what you want. Pick an occupation that you love. Focus your life on what you are good at. Stop worrying about what somebody else wants you to do or what might pay well.
2. Leave no regrets.
On other words, risk more. Izzo explains that what most of us regret isn’t what we do, but instead what we don’t do. As we get older and look back, all of us will wish we had tried that one thing we didn’t. We will wish we had taken more risk. We will wish we hadn’t given up on being true to ourselves. It is okay to risk and to fail. It is unlikely to kill you, most of the time. Even when you fail, you will be glad you tried.
3. Become love.
Or in the same words, love more. The goal of this secret isn’t to be in love more, but to become love. To choose to love others. To become the person that give love to others. It is definitely good to be loved, but being loved is out of our hands. We can’t make anyone choose this. What we do control is whether or not we love other. To lives lives of sacrifice. To give until it hurts. To alleviate the suffering of others.
4. Live the Moment.
Or in other words, enjoy more. It is easy to get caught up in our own busyness, so much so, that we miss out on what is right in front of our faces at this very moment. Instead of being grateful for what is, we strive for more. Instead of stopping to appreciate what we have, like our families and our friends and our lives, we are too busy to notice. Living well involves seeing the good of right now. And being grateful.
5. Give More than You Take.
Or in other words, return more. The happiest people Izzo interviewed focused on what they were able to give to others, not on what they possessed or received. Nobody spoke highly of the BMW they once drove. But they did reflect with great joy on the times they were able to do more for people. Our lives are well spent when we make a difference. It is worth the time and effort to be kind and generous.
These are somebody else’s “secrets.” Have you found them to be true? Have you discovered secrets of your own?
And perhaps a better question, what keeps you from living out these secrets?
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