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16 October 2013

Life Secret 5: Give more than you take

I recommend that you read the following posts before you read this one

Life Secret 3: Become love

Life Secret 4: Live the moment

As we live our life we realize that what matters in the end is what we leave behind, our legacy. One of the wise men in the book ('The five secrets you must discover before you die' - John Izzo) talks of the difference between a '10 Minute Funeral' and a '10 Hour Funeral'. Some people live lives that touch so many people in a positive way that people just want to hang around and talk about that person's life. Others live a more self-focused life. You should live your life as if you want a 10 hour funeral.

The author talks about Victor Frankl, a Jewish Psychotherapist, who was a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps from 1942-45. Dr.Frankl later wrote about his experiences in 'Man's search for ultimate meaning'. One of the most important sections in this book deals with the issue of suicide.

Many prisoners in the camp contemplated suicide. Frankl noticed that you could not convince someone to stay alive by telling him that he was going to get something from the world, that some happiness awaited him in the future. However, if you could help a person see that the world expected something of him, that there was some good that he could do in his lifetime, he would almost always choose life. Frankl concluded that people who know 'what the world expects of them will never throw their life away'

What a powerful perspective....

One of the reasons why 'giving more than we take' is one of the secrets to happiness is that 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...

During his interviews the author found that what all the wise people had in common was the knowledge that all of the mare connected to something larger than them. For some it was belief in god. For others, it was a belief in being connected to the entire human journey (that which comes before us and after us), and for some others a strong sense that there was a great mystery to which we are connected as human beings. In all cases, at the heart of this connection was the importance of being of service and of being charitable.

According to the author, there are two great tasks of human life. To find ourselves and to lose ourselves. We find ourselves by discovering our destiny and being true to ourselves. Yet it is not enough to find ourselves, we must also lose ourselves.

The loss of self is about seeing that we are connected to something much larger, something that had life before us and that will have a life after us. We must understand that 'Self' do not have any significance on its own. We are significant because we are a part of a larger entity. The author observed that those who found themselves and lost themselves attained happiness.

There is no better way to lose ourselves than to dedicate our life to giving, to leaving the world a better place than we found it. This connects us to the future and links us to the past.

One of the concepts that the author brings out is that we live in the 'Borrowed' world. Each generation borrows the world from the previous generation and holds it in trust for the next generation. The wise people realize that happiness comes from both giving and a deep sense of responsibility to the future.

Just as individuals find happiness throught thir connection to furute, an entire society must live by the fifth secret. The more selfish a society becomes, the more it loses its vitality

The questions related to the fifth secret are:

1. Did I make the world a better place this week in some small way?

2. Did I remind myself this week that I am making a difference even if I don't see it?

3. Was I kind, generous and giving this week? How do I want to be more that way tomorrow / next week?

4. Was I focused on the needs of the 'Small Self' this week (the pursuit of things status or power) rather than the 'Large self' (which is my contribution to making world a better place)?

Wish all my readers a purposeful life !!!

1 comment:

Dr Tandy said...

Wow. What a powerful article. Thanks. These tips are spot on.