Fifth Secret

July 3, 2011 in The Five Secrets-Izzo Series by Lorilee Lippincott

The fifth secret, the final secret, is ‘Give More’.

It has been hard to find time to type this up since we left on vacation several days ago but I made some notes and wanted to reflect on the final secret. All of them seem to be connected but this one is something that I find tied very closely to the purpose of life.

Dr Izzo talked about the fact that we can’t take anything with us but we can leave something behind. I am often frustrated with the conflicting ideas of planning for retirement and making a difference now. I am a planner and I want a 5, 10 and 40 year money plan. I love business and finance and get excited about the miracle of compounding. This idea fights against my ‘planning’ for now. I want to find time(which costs time as well as money) to spend as a family when the kids are young and using time and resources for all the incredible need around us. To add to this conflict is the reality that the future is unknown. I could get hit by a bus (or disease) at 59 and then all the planning, working, and putting off for later would be lost. On another other side, how am I supposed to know my income potential in my later years. I will, hopefully, find something to do that I love and that I won’t want to ‘retire’ from.

People who save for comfortable and fancy retirements confuse me. If I am going to go to Europe or do other exotic travel I want it to be while I can climb stairs and don’t have a suitcase of meds to come with me. So, basically, I don’t agree with fancy retirement planning. We are planning for a bare bones retirement and trying to spend our money on family time and projects we feel strongly about. I want to give my kids time and memories instead of inheritance.

Another thing he said was “We have no choice what the world gives us everyday but we do have control of what we give the world” This really jumped out at me. There are so many people, probably myself included, that always make excuses for what they do/don’t do or are/aren’t. This concept is stated all over the place in so many ways-We have to live life by choice instead of laying back and complaining. Instead of focusing on what we are given we are benefited by focusing on what we can give back.

Related to this he talked about how we can’t change the world, we can only change ourselves. We can’t change the fact that people treat us bad, that the government is a mess and that the ozone is disappearing but we can change us and how we live. We can change how we treat people. We can change how we live and react. Instead of complaining about something I should ask “What can I do about it?” Probably not enough to change the problem or even come close to making a dent, but nobody else can either. It is everybody doing their part that can make the difference.

Reflect More, Risk More, Love More, Enjoy More, Give More

Fourth Secret

June 28, 2011 in The Five Secrets-Izzo Series by Lorilee Lippincott

I watched the fourth secret last night.  I love these programs, but our days are getting busier and busier with very little time till vacation.  I have been trying to cram watching the programs into our evenings (because the kids won’t watch them) with all our other vacation planning.

Secret #4 was Enjoy More

Dr Izzo talked about being present and focusing on one thing at a time.  As I was listening to him I was blogging, talking to my husband, and cooking supper.  So I was failing at this secret bad last night. 

This is a secret that I have really tried to focus on applying with my kids.  So many times I am trying to teach them their school work while I am cleaning the kitchen, trying to cook while they tell me jokes, checking my e-mail while they show me a picture.   Life trains us to be so busy all the time that it feels weird to focus on one thing.   Since our move I have had much more time and I am really enjoying it but I have found ways to fill it (like starting 2 blogs and reading a bunch more books).  I have a real hard time doing less, … it is something I crave.  I really need to figure out how to be present and focus on my kids, and only my kids more. 

The other thing he talked about that kept us from really enjoying life was running through life always thinking (or saying) “I will be happy when….” “I can’t wait till…”.  I remember as a kid waiting and wishing for my birthday or Christmas for months.  Now I couldn’t wait till the kids are out of diapers, we go on vacation, hubby gets a contract, we finish the move, the kids grow up, we get more money in the bank…. you get the idea.  It is hard not to fall into this trap. 

I need to be happy now, with what I have.  I need to be present in the moment and really savor everything it has to offer.  

Simplifying my life has added to this a bunch.  Simplifing takes out the distractions (or tries to) that get in the way of this.  Realizing what I really want in life and cutting out most other things allows me to be content in the present.  The big change for us was cutting out the house and using the extra money for vacations.  To someone else it might be the opposite.  The point is that no one can have it all and, if I try to have it all I just stress out.  Choosing to spend our time and money on what we (my family) most values has been awsome. 

Life is a gift.  Everyday I am given to live I will be greatful.  Everyday my friends and family are given that I can enjoy their presents I am grateful.  There is a point where it all ends, that is guarenteed in this life, but it is much better to focus on what we are given and enjoy it!

Reflect More, Risk More, Love More, Enjoy More….. going to watch the last one tonight.

Third Secret

June 26, 2011 in The Five Secrets-Izzo Series by Lorilee Lippincott

I am loving this series by Dr John Izzo called ‘The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die’.   In the research he interviewed over 200 people between the ages of 60 and 106 who were identified by friends and acquaintances as “the one person they knew who had found happiness and meaning.”  It has been on TV and is in book form.  I am watching the DVD version in the evenings and I am just loving it.  What he says is so positive, hopeful and important. 

  1. The first secret is ‘Reflect More’
  2. The second secret is ‘Risk More’
  3. The third secret is ‘Love More’. 

At first glance I thought this one was kind of a given.  Love is a choice, relationships are the most important, and no one cares what their bank account looks like when they die.  He pushed it farther and really made me think.

He talked about ‘loving’ the people we say we love the most.  He talked about a study of positive and negative communication.  They found that negative communication was by far the highest in the home at a ratio of 14 to 1.  Work was better with a negative to positive ratio of 8 to 1.  …. somehow, as a society we treat people at work better than we treat our own families. 

I would love to be suprised at this but I know it is probably that way in my home.  I have heard you need one positive coment for every negative (or correcting) coment.  That is crazy hard.  I spend my whole day saying “Please do your school work.” “Get your hand out of your mouth.” “Stop fighting.” “Not now.” “Stop.” “Go”. “Finish your food.” “Why are your cloths/toys/books on the floor?”   ….. over and over again.  All the “Good jobs!” and “Thank-yous” are there…. but at a very distant second.  I want/need to work on this a bunch and the reminder was great. 

He talked about how people don’t remember what someone says or what they do as much as they remember what they feel when a person walks into the room.  When I walk in the room are people happy?  does the I add peace and joy? or do I bring dread or anger?  I wish I knew, and I want to do better.

He had two questions:

1.  All day long did I choose to be loving to myself, people I say I love the most?
2.  Did I act today as if I would meet one person for whom I could make the biggest difference?

He spoke of a woman who was at a viewing for her mother who had passed away.  In the corner was a lady that no one recognized.  Finally she went over and asked the lady how she had known her mother.  She said that she hadn’t known her.  Several years before they had shared a seat on a bus.  The mother was reading a novel and half way through the ride looked at the lady and said “You look like someone who needs to talk”.  Turns out the lady sitting beside her was planning on taking her life when she got home because things were so bad, but through the conversation decided not to because of the mother and her kindness.   It was only the three days before when the death anouncement had run in the paper with the mothers picture that the lady had learned who she was and she was there because of the kindness and difference that 20 minute converstion had made in her life. 

It is so eye opening to hear stories like this.  I don’t ever think that everyone else I meet during my day is doing great, has no problems and doesn’t need help, but I often act that way.   Do I really act and treat others with the love and kindness that could, for those most needing it, make such a big difference? 

Reflect more, risk more, love more…..

The Second Secret

June 21, 2011 in The Five Secrets-Izzo Series by Lorilee Lippincott

“I am living a good life. I focus my life on the things that matter and don’t fill my life with irrelevant clutter. I live the life of love and of adventure. I enjoy every moment. My life echo’s in the world and will continue long after I am gone. I have no regrets. Because I don’t live my life based on the voices of other people. I follow my heart.”

This was a quote from the first secret

The second secret in ’The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die’ by Dr. John Izzo is risk more.

This is huge for me. I am much better at reflecting and analyzing than I am at risking. I am terrified of failure, mostly in what other people think of me. Just this evening I was talking to my husband about this blog. I am really scared that I will come across as preachy, as snobbish, or just crazy. I am afraid that my writing is boring. In my life I have been trying so hard to drop the mask, to simply be me. I am trying to get to know myself and to love myself. How then do I end up trying to figure out how to put a mask on my writing so people will like me.  Sigh.                            
Why is it that I know I shouldn’t run my life by fear, but find it so easy? How can I risk more? What am I really afraid of? Why does it feel like a constant fight to practice ‘intentional living’. To live the way I want instead of the way that I fall into.
  1. These are some of the quote I really liked:
  2. The greatest risk we can take is the risk to be myself.
  3. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is today
  4. You can’t guarantee success but you can guarantee failure.
  5. If you never ask, the answer is always ‘no’.
  6. The most important steps in our lives are taken after our setbacks.
  7. Playing to win, not playing ‘not to loose‘.

I love intentional living stuff. I could watch and read this stuff all the time.   There is so much hope all through it.

Follow more of my posts.

9 days till vacation.

The First Secret-June 18, 2011

June 21, 2011 in The Five Secrets-Izzo Series by Lorilee Lippincott

So hubby and I started listening to a 5 part series by Dr. John Izzo last night titled ‘The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die’ (I believe it is in book form too). Loved it. The first secret was ‘Reflect More’ so I wanted to do a post to reflect more and organize my thoughts with my fingers and also summarize what stuck with me.

He started by stating a thought that we should have when we die. (I have adapted it to be present tense instead of past).

“I am living a good life. I focus my life on the things that matter and don’t fill my life with irrelevant clutter. I live the life of love and of adventure. I enjoy every moment. My life echo’s in the world and will continue long after I am gone. I have no regrets. Because I don’t live my life based on the voices of other people. I follow my heart.”

This gives me shivers.  It is worth reading a few times to really let it sink in.  Can I say this every day of my life?  Can I say it now?  Today?  

He talks about reflecting on questions like (these are mine, I didn’t write down his)
1. Where do I want to be now?
2. Who do I want to be now?
3. What would be my most important accomlishment and what can I do to work on it now?
4. What is in the way of any of the questions above and are they things I can fix?  work to fix?  

Reflecting back on our married life of over 8 years we have made all kinds of crazy changes.  We are in our 7th house/apartment and our 4th city/town.  All our changes have been made with this kind of reflecting.  Looking back it has been lots of crazy changes but each has got us closer to what we want and think is best for our family. I am happy and have no regrets even though things didn’t always turn out great.    

He talked about ‘good tired’ and ‘bad tired’ at the end of the day.  Clearly ‘bad tired’ is a draining day.  However there are days in our life that are just as physically and mentally tiring but they are energysing at the same time.  What is included in your ‘good tired’ days?  I have been thinking about this more.  For me I need to learn, exercise and serve.  These things really energize me.  Books, walking and community service are how I accomplish these things now and I could do them all for hours without wanting to stop.   

One last thought he had was how someone could work on an area they were struggling.  Instead of making clear goals written out like lots recommend he suggested writing a few words on a piece of paper and cariing it with you to look at several times a day.  This appeals to me more because I am more of an idealist than I am calculated and defined.  Not sure I will do this but I liked the different approach and wanted to share.   

We really enjoyed starting this series and look forward to watching more of it this week.  I will share with you more as I learn.  

On reflecting I wanted to also share a bible passage I have kept going back to in the last few weeks.  It seems to fit into the ‘reflecting on your life’ idea:  

“Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13    

Check out the second secret

On another note.  My US passport finally arrived in the mail today.  Vacation coming in 12 days!