Five Secrets To Discover Before you Die

What makes life worth living? How can we live in a meaningful and joyous way? Do we need to fear death?

Most of us, if we think about it for a minute, will easily identify the one or two people we have encountered in our lifetimes who had very obviously discovered the meaning of life. Some of us may even have been lucky enough to have one of these wise elders as a parent or grandparent. But these wise men and women are everywhere, and others of us have been fortunate to have had them as teachers, ministers, co-workers or simply as friends. 

John Izzo, author of "Five Secrets you Must Discover Before you Die," recognized that what all of these extraordinary people have in common is contentment with life and how they live it. Izzo, hoping to learn what the secret to such a successful life is, asked over 15,000 people in the U.S. and Canada to identify the wise elders in their own lives whom they believed had something to teach the rest of us. From the responses received, he and his colleagues identified 235 candidates between the ages of 60 and more than 100 and interviewed each of them in order to identify the secrets of life that had taken the 235 a lifetime to discover.

The interviewers learned that the secrets to happiness are common and Izzo noticed five that came up most often in the 235 interviews. Here are the five:
  1. Be True to Yourself You must follow your heart and your dreams, not the dreams someone else has for you. This may mean making a radical change in your life, or simply making small adjustments. The key to continually examine your life is to make sure you are following your own true path, and remembering what really matters. Questions to ask yourself: Did this week or day feel like my kind or week/day? What would make tomorrow or next week feel more true to myself? %placeToCut
  2. Leave No Regrets Although all of the people whom Izzo interviewed had some regrets, people who had the fewest were the happiest. A common theme, he discovered, is that people don’t regret risks that failed; instead they regretted not having risked more. Questions to ask yourself: Did I act on my convictions this week? How am I responding to the setbacks in my life right now? Am I stepping forward or retreating?
  3. Become Love The more you focus on acting with love, the more you will find happiness, says Izzo. This begins with choosing to love yourself and breaking away from thoughts that are self-defeating and self-critical. You must make loving relationships a priority in your life. Questions to ask yourself: Did I make room for friends, family and relationships today or this week? Did I spread love and kindness in the world at each interaction?
  4. Live in the Moment Living in the moment means living your life now rather than simply planning it. “We must always live in the present moment, the only moment in which we have any power,” writes Izzo. Questions to ask yourself: Did I fully enjoy whatever I was doing this day/week? What am I grateful for right now?
  5. Give More than you Take Each day you have the power to give without limit. Izzo’s interviews reveal that people long to make a contribution. Giving connects people to something larger than themselves – whether it’s a supreme being of the entire human experience and journey. Questions to ask yourself: Did I make the world a better place this week in a small? Was I kind, generous, giving this week? How can I be more that way tomorrow?
Perhaps the most important message to take away from is that it’s never too late to start leading a meaningful life. Age doesn’t matter. All you need is the knowledge and the will to change.
In addition, it's good to remember not to allow shame, regret or fear keep you from creating the life that you want. No matter what the past holds, it is the past. Life is about moving forward; about living a life that resonates with truth and purpose.

If you were told today that you only had one month to live, would you rush around rearranging your life? Changing things? Being more spontaneous? More loving? Well let me ask you something: do you know when you will die? The answer is no. You could die today, in three months, in thirty years, in six minutes. Therefore, right now is when you should start living a life that makes you happy and satisfied. When you should start making a difference in those around you. Right now.

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