1. Be True To Yourself
How do we really live true to ourselves? The secret is to live with intention, to consistently and regularly ask 3 critical life questions: (1) Am I following my heart and being true to my self? (2) Is my life focused on the things that really matter to me? (3) Am I being the person I want to be in the world? One will learn from the old people that wisdom means reflecting more, asking again and again whether your life is going in the right direction, and making constant adjustments to move closer to the life you deserve to live. What separates those who live well and die happy from most of us is that they continually asked themselves whether they were living the life they wanted to live and following their heart toward the answer. The first secret is to be true to yourself and live with intention.
2. Leave No Regrets
Regret is possibly the one thing we all fear the most; that we might look back on our lives and wish we had done things differently. 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. To leave no regrets we must overcome the inevitable disappointments that life hands us.
3. Become Loved
It is necessary to make a distinction between the emotion of love and the choice to love. Love is commonly perceived as only an emotion. The secret to a happy and purposeful life was to choose to be a loving person, to become loved. We live out this secret in 3 ways: (1) Love your self. Unless we fundamentally choose to see ourselves as worthy, we cannot find happiness. The love of self is fundamental to being a spiritually human being. (2) Make love a priority. Choose to act with love toward those closest to us and to make loving relationships a priority in our lives. (3) Choosing to see others with kindness. The most important thing to be discovered about this secret, to become loved, is that when we choose to become loved in all the encounters of our lives, when we choose love and kindness as our way in the world, happiness finds us. When we give love away it comes back to us in the form of happiness.
4. Live The Moment
If life goes by quickly, then one of the secrets to happiness is to get more out of the time we have, to find a way that each moment and each day become great gifts. Thoreau called this “improving the nick of time.” At its simplest, live the moment means to be fully in every moment of our lives, to not judge our lives but to live fully. It means that we must not focus on the past or the future but experience each moment with gratitude and purpose. We have the power in each moment to choose contentment and happiness. See each day as a great gift. We have no power over the past or the future. The past has already occurred and is behind us. Whatever happened, we have no power to change it. Any regrets we had, and any joys, are forever frozen in time. Focusing on the past, especially on regret, can only robs the present moment of its happiness.
5. Give More Than You Take
Happy people are always givers not takers. They may not have been as selfless as Mother Teresa or Gandhi, but they discovered that the more we give, the more we find happiness. One of the reasons that giving more that we take is one of the secrets to happiness and purpose is because we have a great deal of control over what we give. Each day, we have the power to give without limit. We can choose kindness, to serve, to love, to be generous, and to leave the world better in some way. When we give more than we take we connect ourselves to a story bigger than our selves. And in the act of doing so, happiness finds us.
Source: The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo, Ph.D.