The adventures of Mommy woman
Published on August 11, 2008 By JillUser In Books

I finally read a whole book!  It was a  short one but it was one full of impact.  The book is called "the five secrets you must discover before you die" by John Izzo Ph.D.

I'm a people person so this book truly kept my interest.  The "secrets" are conclusions from hundreds of interviews with people who were nominated by people in their lives as being happy people.  I really enjoyed reading about what other people think leadh them to happiness.

I truly agree with most of the book.  I also think I am leading a happy life (not that I needed a book to tell me that).  I did disagree with one of the "secrets".  One of them was "give more than you take".  I think that the concept does leave people feeling good about themselves but I wouldn't make it one of the secrets to having lead a happy life.  I personally think that having something to look forward to every day would be a better one.

I think ideally most people want to give back more than they feel they've taken.  I think it is impossible for many and that shouldn't be something that hinders happiness.  Life is not an even playing field for everyone.  Perhaps religious beliefs lead to a feeling of necessity when it comes to giving and taking.  A feeling of responsibility to the world at large is something many just don't have.  I'm not sure that hinders their happiness though.

Don't get me wrong, my family gives a great deal to charity and tries to help out friends and family whenever possible.  One of our goals is to start a foundation and really concentrate on some of the causes we hold near and dear.  I don't think that people who have been handed tragedy after tragedy should feel they need to "pay back" in any way.  I say you should be happy with giving when you can and taking when you need and not keeping score.

The reason I would replace that sentiment with always having something to look forward to is that I know the value of anticipation.  Look at the joy kids get out of "waiting" for Christmas or their birthday.  Perhaps many adults lose the happiness that comes from anticipation.  I certainly haven't.  Often planning for something is as fun as actually having it.  I think the day you have nothing to look forward to is the day you have to fight to care about life at all.

One experience in my life that lead to my feeling on the subject was when I had gall bladder attacks.  I had no idea what was going on and no idea if it would ever go away.  No amount of morphine or any other drug they gave me even touched the pain.  That was the first time I ever thought it would be okay to die.  If all I had in my future was pain, then I had nothing to look forward to.

One of the greatest sources of happiness in my life is looking forward to the experiences I'll share with my family.  Looking forward to sharing the joys of life with my kids.  Making memories with friends and family.  Isn't that what it's all about?

I highly recommend the book and a strong look at the questions it poses for your own daily life.


Comments (Page 1)
on Aug 11, 2008
I truly agree with most of the book. I also think I am leading a happy life (not that I needed a book to tell me that). I did disagree with one of the "secrets". One of them was "give more than you take". I think that the concept does leave people feeling good about themselves but I wouldn't make it one of the secrets to having lead a happy life. I personally think that having something to look forward to every day would be a better one.


It's really a secret because it doesn't make sense in this materialistic world, where we try to get as much as we can for us and then think about others. As long as giving is only making you feel good about yourself, and not just making you feel good, you're missing out. It's not, "I gave so I'm a good person" but "I gave and it felt wonderful to do it."
on Aug 11, 2008

I agree with your philosophy on anticipation.  Whenever I am having a particularly tough time, if I have a bit of extra money, I will buy tickets to a show or a concert.  Then I always have the thought that, hey next month I'm going to xyz.  It really does help me get over the rough spots to have something to look forward to. 

on Aug 11, 2008
It's really a secret because it doesn't make sense in this materialistic world, where we try to get as much as we can for us and then think about others.


I guess I'm more optimistic about people than you are. I think most people care about others. I just don't think everyone can or will do for others and I'm not sure that is a major impact of over all happiness. I think it is just as important and fulfilling to take care of your own so others don't have to. Too many people do for others when they aren't even taking care of their own. Charity starts at home, right?
on Aug 11, 2008

If all I had in my future was pain, then I had nothing to look forward to.

You just have to look at life differently when you have constant pain.  It's not the end of the world, it just changes your life a bit.  It's amazing what you can adjust to if you have to.  Once you know it's not going away, your brain learns to deal with it better.

I don't think that money has to be the only thing you give.  I help people with money when I can, and usually in very random ways.  But, the best I feel is when I help a cause by working at it, like the farm sanctuary I volunteer at (looking forward to going tonight, matter of fact).  You realize how important those types of things are if you get to a point that you feel that you are too busy or are in too much pain to do it.  Sometimes that type of work is what your soul needs.  It helps you as much as it helps the cause.

on Aug 11, 2008
I don't think that money has to be the only thing you give.


I really appreciated it when you helped me with my resume. I'm still looking though. I'm sure I will get the right job at the right time. At least that's what I tell myself so I don't get too discouraged.
on Aug 11, 2008
I like this quote by Charles Kingsley:

All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.

So true!
on Aug 11, 2008

It helps you as much as it helps the cause.
I don't think that money has to be the only thing you give.
  I totally agree with both sentiments.  I guess if it was left as "give something back' rather than making it sound like some sort of balance sheet, I might have agreed.  I think helping others can be the "something to look forward to" or, like Roy said, "something to be enthusiastic about".  Look how many people do volunteer work once they retire.  I doubt it's because they feel they've taken more than they've given.  I think it is because they get joy from having something to look forward to.  I gives them purpose.  It makes you feel valuable if you are able to help someone else.

on Aug 11, 2008

You just have to look at life differently when you have constant pain. It's not the end of the world, it just changes your life a bit.
  That depends on the type of pain.  I don't think any brain could take constant, unending, excruciating pain.  I have constant lower back pain and almost constant sinus pain.  I've learn to adjust to life with those pains but those are things you can still function with.  I couldn't have managed to function with the doubled over agony I experienced with my gall bladder.

on Aug 12, 2008
I think most people care about others. I just don't think everyone can or will do for others and I'm not sure that is a major impact of over all happiness.


I think that is the reason that so many people don't care anymore - they don't even realize how important giving is to their happiness. Having something to look forward to is good too, though. But too much of that leads to always living in the future. Too much giving, well, there's never too much giving.
on Aug 13, 2008
Too much giving, well, there's never too much giving.


I agree but I also feel, like pointed out earlier, there are many ways to give and the book has another secret that covers basically being kind. I think treating others as you'd like to be treated covers the whole "giving" part. What I took issue with was the notion of keeping some sort of balance sheet on giving more than you take. I think that idea would cause more stress than happiness. I agree that giving is rewarding and makes one feel good. I don't think you should feel unhappy if you feel you haven't been able to give more than you took though.
on Aug 14, 2008
What I took issue with was the notion of keeping some sort of balance sheet on giving more than you take. I think that idea would cause more stress than happiness. I agree that giving is rewarding and makes one feel good. I don't think you should feel unhappy if you feel you haven't been able to give more than you took though.


Good call! Balance sheets are for businesses. I take exception to the balance sheet notion as well.

Sorry about bringing this over to your other thread, I just made the connection between the two and thought I was saying something clever and witty. My bad.
on Aug 15, 2008
Sorry about bringing this over to your other thread, I just made the connection between the two and thought I was saying something clever and witty. My bad.


I was probably just being testy that day. We all have our moments. No worries.
on Feb 05, 2011

on Feb 05, 2011

good read..... 

I concur with the gall bladder attacks... 

on Feb 05, 2011

I concur with the gall bladder attacks...

Right you are, Syd. They're no fun. I think what causes the pain to be much worse for the person is ignorance as to the cause along with the severity and 'newness' of it....

So, someone gonna tell me what those 5 secrets are, or is that going on the "bucket list" also?

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