Monday, July 7, 2008

The five secrets you must discover before you die - John Izzo

Somehow, I attracted to living and dying books since I've get to read Tuesday with Morrie's from Mitch Albom (The book I'll review one day in the future) I bought this book during the last book fair.

The book attract me because of the title (Who says you can't attract people to buy it with the title book cover) This 163 pages book was a result from an interview of over 200 peoples with age over 60-106 years. You might find strange why 60 ? Because according to the author, there's a big difference between result of the interview. I guess people over 60 reflect their live much better and seems wiser

Here are the 5 secrets and it's action you can take to achieve that.
1. Be true to your self
- Did this day/week feel like my kind of day/week ? What would make tomorrow or next week feel more true
- Was I the kind of person I want to be this week ? In what way do I want to be more like the kind of person I want to be tomorrow or next week ?
- Am I following my heart right now ? What would it mean for me to really follow my heart right now ?
- How do I want to live this secret more deeply next week ?

2. Leave no regrets
- Did I act out of fear today or this week ? How do I want to be more courageous tomorrow or next week ?
- Did I act on my convictions this week ? How do I want to act on them more deeply this week ?
- What step would I take in my life right now if I were acting with courage, not fear ? What might I do differently right now if I were living from the perspective of an old person on the porch looking back at my life ?
- How am I responding to the setbacks in my life right now ? Am I stepping forward or retreating ?

3. Become love
- Did I make room for friends, family and relationships today/this week ? Did I allow things to be more important than people ?
- Was I kind and loving today/this week to the people closest to me ? How do I want to be more loving to them tomorrow or this week ?
- Did I spread love and kindness in the world today/this week in each interaction ? Did I act as if each stranger was someone for whom I could make a difference ?
- Which of my wolves did I feed today/this week ? Did I spend time with people who lift my spirit ? Did I act with love toward my self today/this week ? Did I engage in negative self talk/self hypnosis ? Am I planting flowers or weeds in my self conscious mind ?

4. Live the moment
- Did I fully enjoy whatever I was doing this day or week ? Was I really 'here' or just merely show up ?
- Did I take every pleasure that was available to me today/this week, and did I walk with awareness through my life or just run ?
- What am I grateful for about today/this week ? Did I find myself saying 'I would be happy if ...' ? Did I choose contentment and happiness this week ?
- Did I live in the present today/this week ? or did I let tomorrow or yesterday steal the day's happiness ?

5. Give more than you take
- Did I make the world a better place this week in some small way ?
- Did I remind myself this week that I am making a difference even if I don't see it ?
- Was I kind, generous, and giving this week ? How do I want to be more that way tomorrow/next week ?
- Was I focused on the needs of the 'small self' this week (the pursuit of things, status or power) rather than the 'larger self' (which is my contribution to making the world around me a better place) ?
- How do I want to live this secret more deeply next week ?

How to put into practice
- learning by watching, listening and experimenting
- learn naturally by watching, imitating and by experimenting
- be aware and experiment - we become what we pay attention to. The more we hold something in our awareness, the more likely we are to move toward that thing
- do reflection on your life every week on the things

Preparing to die
- Happy people are not afraid to die
- The biggest fear at the end of life is that you did not do everything you could have done, that you have never really lived. If we want to prepare to die, we must choose to live fully so that we leave no regrets
- To die well is not to complain, to continue to have a good spirit and let those who are still living know that it is ok it is part of life. This is the last gift we give. The last direct influence you can have is how you die.

How to go from there - it's never too late
- Timing is important
- When we judge our life we diminish ourselves. The more we can eliminate all need to compare, compete, grade and judge our lives, the closer we get to wisdom
- The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second best time is today - Chinese proverb
- Stop judging the life you have lived and get on with the life you still may live. Whatever mistakes you have made and no matter how many regrets may litter your your past, plant a new tree (change from now on) today. Begin to live the secrets now or simply live them more deeply.

Questions used for this interview
1. Describe the life you have lived thus far
2. What has brought you the greatest sense of meaning and purpose in life ? Why does it matter that you were alive ?
3. What brought you/brings you the most happiness in life the greatest joy moment to moment ?
4. Tell me about a few of the major crossroads moments in your life, times when you went in one direction or another and it made a large difference in terms of how your life turned out ?
5. What is the best advice you ever got from someone else about life ? Did you take that advice? How have you used it during your life ?
6. What do you wish you had learned sooner ? If you could go back to when you were a young adult and have a conversation with yourself and you knew you would listen, what would you tell that younger person about life ?
7. What is the role that spirituality has played in your life ?
8. What is the greatest fear at the end of life ?
9. Now that you are older, how do you feel about your mortality/death ? Not death in the abstract but your death ? Are you afraid of dying ?
10. What role have spirituality and religion played in your life ? What have you concluded about 'god' ?
11. Fill in this sentence, I wish I had...
12. Now that you have lived most of your life, what are you certain or almost certain matters a great deal if a person wants to find happiness and live a fulfilling life ?
13. Now that you have lived most of your life, what are you certain or almost certain does not matter very much in finding a happy life ? What do you wish you had paid less attention to ?
14. If you could give only one sentence of advice to those younger than you on finding a happy and meaning life, what one sentence would you pass on ?

All in all, the book deserve a 8 out of 10. The book is a bit too short for such a great title on life. If they can compile more information from wise man around the world, that would make the title more interesting.


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