Let me put forward here a little writing exercise for you to do when you have a spare half-hour or so:
- If someone else were to put together a book, or create a museum of your life, what would be in there?
- If someone gave you the script for a movie of your life up to the present moment, how would you write the rest of your script?
- What would you do if it were 100% guaranteed to succeed in your next project? What project would it be? Describe it in some detail.
The Three Truths and Five Secrets
These ideas are adapted from Dr John Izzo’s book, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die (Izzo, 2007).
He suggests there are three fundamental truths and five secrets we must discover before we die:
The Three Fundamental Truths are:
- We have a limited unknown time to live and to love.
- We have an unlimited number of choices to make during this time.
- Acquiring wisdom is knowledge. (Izzo, 2007)
Just as important as acquiring wisdom – is using it at the right time:
“Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time” Theodore Roosevelt
“Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it” David Jordan
The Five Secrets are:
First Secret: Be true to yourself and live with intention.
“The greatest tragedy in life is to spend it on fishing only to discover that it was not fish you were after”
Henry David Thoreau
These questions will help:
- Am I really following my heart and being true to myself?
- Is my life focused on the things that really matter to me?
- Do I follow my purpose?
- Am I being the person I need to be in this world?
Second Secret: Leave no regrets during your life
“To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom” Bertrand Russell
These questions will help:
- Did I act out of fear today/this week? How can I be more courageous tomorrow or next week?
- Did I act on my convictions this week?
- What might I do differently right now, if I were living from a perspective of my older self looking back at my life?
- Am I planting regrets or achievements?
Third Secret: Become love.
“If you want to be happy, practise compassion. If you want others to be happy, practise compassion”
The Dalai Lama
- Choose to love yourself, because it is fundamental in being a spiritually healthy human being.
- Choose to act with love with those you interact with.
- Do good if you can; but always do no harm
Fourth Secret: Live in the moment
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Izzo (2007) suggests you ask these questions each week to help live in the moment:
- Did you make the most of whatever you were doing this week or day or did you just show up?
- What are you grateful for today/this week? Did you find yourself saying, ‘I would be happy if only…?’
- Did you wake up this morning with thanks for another day?
Fifth Secret: Give more than you take.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity” Martin L King Jr
“Most of us long for connection to something larger than ourselves. For some this is God, for some it is the human journey, and for others all of nature”(Izzo, 2007).
Viktor Frankl noticed that people who know what the world expects of them will never throw their lives away. There is a connectedness in the universe we don’t fully understand. At some point, we realise that we are not going to take anything with us, but we can leave something good and lasting behind.
- At the heart of this connection is the importance of being of service and of being charitable.
- The happiest people are those least focused on themselves.
- Happiness comes from serving and giving.
Robert Kennedy had this to say:
“Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of these acts will be written the history of a generation”
Robert Kennedy, Day of Affirmation Speech, 1966