John Izzo begins his book: The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die with a question we should form our entire life around: “Why do some people find wisdom and die happy?” This query is one that should sit quietly in the back of our minds from birth until death. When we sit with a question like this, we open ourselves to the endless possibilities of the answer.
John Izzo seeks to provide his audience with a roadmap to discovering our own answer to this. Through his book, he invites us to create lives of wisdom and happiness, no matter what our circumstance. Before beginning the five-step lesson, Izzo outlines the greatest challenge of all. He reminds us that time is passing. In our powelessness over that, we have huge opportunities. We can manage our priorities and our choices. We are the stars of this one-person, one-lifetime show.
This book was, in some ways, a collaboration. Four thousand people were nominated by friends or loved ones as being true pillars of wisdom and joy. The author then chose 235 of those candidates between 60 and 105 years old – the most knowledgeable section of our society. These subjects have experienced the most. They can separate the hard knocks from the great lessons. Through those subjects and their wisdom, Izzo came up with five tenets for a life worth living:
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Leave no regrets
3. Become love.
4. Live in the moment.
5. Give more than you take.
Although each of these is vital and approached with great depth and focus in the book, one or two demand a moment’s inspection and are worth implementing this very moment.
· Living in the moment. If one of the five tenets to living a happy life is to live in the moment, we are literally behind the eightball before we even begin. We are taken out of the “moment” a thousand times each day through our own technology. (Can you say email?) The author recounts taking his dog for a walk one day. The dog was enjoying that walk so much more than Mr. Izzo himself. The dog paused to enthusiastically enjoy smells or the company of other dogs (friends). The author was simply busy timing himself to accomplish his daily speed walk.
· Become Love. Izzo asks us to recognize that love is not an idea, it is an action. It means choosing to spend time with friends. (Even dogs do that!) It means embodying thoughtfulness and a loving tone. We must not miss an opportunity or spend a day in human disappointment – there simply are no do-overs. You will pass through today only once, and love will sustain you.
· Leave no regrets. The author’s grandfather offered him the idea, early in his life, to judge his days by how satisfying they are. Each day will pass, it is simply the law of time and space, but how we live and how fulfilled we are, will become the foundation of great choices. Quite simply, we get this one chance to create a life that leaves no regrets. Do what thrills us.
Like all great books on positive psychology, gratitude is the prevailing thought throughout this book. To be able to rebound every day (if necessary) and choose to live a joyous and meaningful life. To create time to be still and find the timeless beauty hidden behind to do lists and ever-full inboxes. To author our own sonata, our own academy-award winning existence. That is the good life, and John Izzo wants us to know it. The rewards of each of these five principles are limitless, and amazingly, they are free. It’s the free lottery ticket – your one true life.