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Looking to our elders for guidance is a time honored and wise practice that unfortunately is not played out often enough. John Izzo encourages us to go back to that tradition in his book "The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die." Seeking the secrets to happiness, it makes sense to look to those who have lived it.
John interviewed over 200 people, all over the age of 60 and some up into their hundreds, who had been identified by their own friends and family as "the one person they knew who had found happiness and meaning." These people were asked such questions as: "What has brought you the greatest sense of meaning and purpose in life?" and "What is the greatest fear at the end of life?" They were asked to finish the sentence: "I wish I had..." These elders came from all walks of life and acted many roles; some were authors, professors, or business owners, others were a nurse, psychologist, biologist, and a barber. Amazingly, or expectedly, their answers were quite similar. Therein are the five secrets.
The first, and only one I will divulge, is "Be True to Your Self." Of course this can mean different things to each person who reads the words, but author John Izzo guides readers to the purpose behind them. His guidance leads one to ask in this chapter, "Am I following my heart?" "Is my life focused on the things that really matter to me?" and "Am I being the person I want to be in this world?" Answering these questions will lead a person to be true to themselves. Izzo demonstrates the secret by sharing stories from his interviewees. They share by example, much as elders have done since the dawn of humanity. This brings the secret to life for us, and then Izzo gives us homework.Read more ›
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John Izzo interviewed 200+ people over the age 60 who were described by many others as happy and wise people. Through in-depth interviews, he learns the five secrets of life:
1. Why do some people find meaning & die happy 2. Why I talked to the town barber (and 200 other people over 60) about life 3. The first secret: be true to your self 4. The second secret: leave no regrets 5. The third secret: become love 6. The fourth secret: live the moment 7. The fifth secret: give more than you take 8. When you know you have to go (putting secrets into practice) 9. Preparing to die well: happy people are not afraid to die 10.A final lesson: it's never too late to live the secrets Epilogue: How this book changed me
The author writes in conversational tone and supported his secrets with colorful anecdotes and personal reflections. For example, in the second secret (leave no regrets) Izzo states that in "his experience from the last 30 years, validated in these interviews, death is not what we fear the most. When we have lived life fully and done what we hoped to do, we can accept death with grace. What we fear most is not having lived to the fullest extent possible, to come to the end of our life with our final words being `I wish I had.'...to leave no regrets we must live with courage, moving toward what we want rather than away from what we fear."
While the 5 secrets aren't a surprise to many, there are many powerful insights in this book that leave you thinking. And while it's one thing to know the secrets, it's an entirely different (and more difficult) matter to put them into action.
If you enjoyed this book, pick up John's Izzo other gem - Second Innocence.
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What are the secrets to finding happiness and living wisely? This second line of the first chapter captures the purpose of Dr. John Izzo's new book The Five Serects You Must Discover Before You Die (2008 Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.). The book is an urgent plea to the reader to embrace life--in ever encounter, every experience, every emotion every single day.
Izzo proposes we do that by accepting that life is limited to an unknown amount of time for each of us but that within this limited time we have unlimited opportunities to choose to find meaning by living a purposeful life and thereby find happiness.
He interviewed several hundred older people--"wise elders"--based on the recommendations of persons who recognized them as sources of wisdom. In this way, Izzo turns to ordinary folks who have lived full lives for the wisdom necessary to do the same. If other great teachers of our time and previous times have said it before, so be it. Now we receive the wisdom from the local barber, the Holocaust survivor, the grandma on the porch rocker.....All of Izzo's sources are over 60 because, the author said, this is the age at which most people tend to reflect on life. They're done having and getting; they are looking back on all that they have done.
This diverse group offered insights that came down to these five points:
1. Be true to yourself by living with intention. Know your heart's desire and seek it.
2. Live with no regrets. Regrets, Izzo said, are most persons' biggest fear--not dying itself. So mend fences, make peace, and move your life into a place of peace. The best way to live without regret, Izzo says, is to take chances, pursue those dreams, and accept the failure that might be your way.Read more ›
John Izzo is one of North America's most prominent voices on finding more purpose in life and work. His website is http://www.drjohnizzo.com . John is a regular contributor to CSRWire.com . John has devoted the past 25 years of his life and career to facilitating deeper conversations about values, work, life, leadership and success. He has worked with thousands of leaders, professionals and front-line colleagues to foster workplaces of excellence, purpose, learning and renewal. His clients have ranged from high tech to high touch, hotels to hospitals, and from government agencies to entrepreneurial start-ups. Drawing on his early work in ministry and thousands of programs on creating "Spirited Workplaces," Izzo challenges people to strive to live their values, connect with each other and to humbly balance achievement with fulfillment. Izzo is the author of several books, including the bestselling Awakening Corporate Soul. He has served on the faculties of The University of California -San Diego, and Kent State University.