I love the movie _Dead Poet’s Society_, and this scene is largely why. Robin William’s character tells his students to “Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary!” That is the focus of our fourth secret of success, enjoy life today.

This movie captures the continuum of life, from the early years of preparation and dreaming about the future, to late years - even after death, and considering how one’s life has been lived after the fact. It makes me think about those things and how it is so easy for all of us to get stuck focusing on what will be or what has been and we forget to live in the moment and enjoy life today.

Now, we’re not saying that there is anything wrong with planning ahead or learning from past mistakes. These life lessons are highly valuable and wisely put into practice. The key is balance and recognizing that when past or future takes too much away from present, we miss out.

Start by making a list of 10 things that you are thankful for right now. Pay attention to how tempting it can be to list something that happened in the past, or something you’re hopeful for in the future. Leave those things out of this list and only write down what you are thankful for today.

Emily Dickinson said, “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” Each moment we are given is a gift that can never be recovered once it’s passed. Take time in your life today to savor the moment you’re in. Practice being present in your life today and with others. Put aside all your worries about the future and simply enjoy the moment in which you’re living. It will never come again.

If you’re like me, you may be reading this secret, Become Love, and thinking“ what does that mean?” It sounds impossible, if you really think about it - how can we become an emotion? To understand what becoming love means, we’ll have to first define love.

The word ‘love’ is grossly overused in our culture. We are often heard saying, “I love this chocolate cake,” and we refer to loving baseball and tell people we love the color purple. These are examples of love as an emotion. The love we’re referring to in this secret of success is more of a choice, an act, an intentional way of looking at the world and of being. In choosing to be a loving person, you will discover an important secret to living a happy and purposeful life - you will become love.

Living this secret requires that you first have the capacity to love yourself. Have you ever heard the expression “you can only give away what you already have yourself?” If you have no self love, or are limited in the ways you can truly love yourself, then you will be limited in the ways you can be loving to others. Please note: this self love is not about the narcissistic tendencies of putting yourself first in everything or spending hours praising yourself in front of the mirror (despite what our culture might model for us). It is fundamentally about making a choice to see ourselves as worthy, and is absolutely critical to being a spiritually healthy human being.

Do you believe you are a worthy person who has a healthy sense of love for yourself? Your thoughts will reveal what you really think - did you know that we have an average of 45,000-55,000 of them per day? Are yours predominantly positive or negative? Do you say, “I am a loser,” or, “I’ll do better next time,” when you fail at something? Do you tell yourself that you are fat or unattractive, or do you see your unique features as an asset? If you find that you are having a lot of negative thoughts, begin to retrain yourself by intentionally complimenting yourself as often as you can. Replace the negative with the positive. The change in your attitude and demeanor will be marked.

Secondly, becoming love is about making it a top priority to love others - even if there are things about them that aren’t perfect, or are even downright unloveable. We cannot control how others feel about us, or whether we will receive love from other people, but we can control whether to give love to the people in our lives.

Also, avoid placing too much value on things in your life, which can take your focus off of relationships. If we choose to create loving relationships with others and make time for deep connection with others, we will find happiness.

The final step to becoming love is showing love in all of our interactions - with ourselves, with those we love, and with all who we encounter. This includes the cashier at the grocery store, the drivers on the freeway, and the homeless man on the street that you pass on your way to a lunch date. Not all of the people you encounter during your day will be kind to you, but, nevertheless, becoming love means making a conscious choice to see everyone with kindness and worth, regardless of the way they treat you. When we look upon others with kindness, we are more likely to see it, and when we give love to others, we are likely to see it returned.

Take an inventory for yourself right now. Do you love yourself? Take steps to make this a reality. Do you make it a priority to show love to your family and friends? Find ways to give love to them every day. Do you show kindness to all of the people around you? Focus on the bigger picture, and begin becoming love.

In this second installment of our Secrets of Success Series, we’ll be discussing what it means to leave no regrets. While it may sound somewhat self-explanatory, what does this concept look like in your life?

Now that you’ve set some goals (see Follow Your Heart, Secrets of Success Series, Part 1), you have some focus, some direction. Now it is time to put aside fear and achieve your dreams. With no regrets. This means taking some risks.

It is often said that those who come to the end of their lives never say their biggest regret is that they didn’t spend more time at the office. Their biggest regret, instead, is saying, “I wish I had...” Take a moment to consider what you will wish you had done if you found yourself at the end of your life in ten years? Five years? Five weeks?

I had an experience just this week that illustrated this concept for me. I’d been suffering with an unusually chronic migraine headache that lasted for about 8 days. As the days wore on and the headache ceased to subside on its own, I began to entertain irrational ideas of what might be causing the pain, including the possibility of a bleed in my brain (can you say hypochondriac?).

On day 7, as I was getting ready for bed, the thought occurred to me, “what if I don’t wake up in the morning?” Immediately and completely instinctively, I wanted to wake up my two young daughters and spend that time with them, telling them how much I love them, just being with them and leaving loving memories of my last moments, should I not wake up. It didn’t matter that it was way past their bedtimes - nothing mattered except my desire to see them and let them see how much I care about them.

Now, while this was a bit over the top, the underlying fear was not irrational at all. Facing what could have been the end brought up an intense need for me to strengthen my relationships. It never crossed my mind that I should get the rest of my pending work done, or clean up the kitchen before I risked going to sleep for the last time. Obviously, I did wake up the next morning, and the headache is now gone. But the lesson is lasting, and I hope to never forget it.

Put yourself in a similar scenario. What comes to mind about how you would spend your last few hours, if you knew the end was imminent? When you live your life leaving no regrets, you will find yourself facing choices - some will be life altering, some will only affect your immediate future, but you will understand that all of them matter. Leaving no regrets means taking a risk and having faith that, if you take the chance, you can achieve your dreams, all the while realizing that there is a chance that the worst case scenario could happen instead.

We suggest you practice this process as you learn to integrate this into your daily life. First, identify the choice you’re facing - what is the best possible outcome? What is the worst, and if that occurs, can you live with it? If you can, go ahead and take the risk. The key is keeping your mind focused on the best possible outcome, not the worst. Unfortunately, we tend to do just the opposite, and that is where we get stuck. The fear can be paralyzing, and we find ourselves with regret.

Try this with the “smaller” choices in your life today. As you get better at it, employ this strategy with the larger decisions. Take some risk, believe that you will achieve your dreams, and leave no regrets!

There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart...pursue those.

~ Michael Nolan

In this first of a five post series focused on the secrets of success we’ve blogged about before, we are going to go a little deeper, and explore the first secret, "follow your heart." What does this mean? How do we integrate this concept into our daily lives?

First, we need to listen. Really sit still and take some time to think about your unique gifts and what your deepest desires and dreams are. Do you know? If you sat down to write a list of your top five goals for your life, could you? Goal setting is critical for success, and knowing which goals you want to attain is the first step. What are the desires of your heart?

We suggest that you begin by visualizing where you’d like to be in 12 months. What would your ideal professional life look like in a year, if you could have anything you wanted? What would your income be, if you could choose it? What about your ideal personal life? What would you accomplish, if you could? Strengthen a relationship? Learn a new hobby? Find a deeper spiritual connection?

During this step, put aside your fears and doubts. Focus solely on what you want, what you dream of, what you could achieve in a perfect world. Forget about obstacles you are facing now, or anticipate facing in the future. Forget about past failures.

Once you have clarity about what it is that your heart desires, professionally, personally, financially, relationally, and spiritually, then you can begin to head in the direction of your dreams. This involves setting goals, and intentionally setting out to meet those goals. If you haven’t already, we’d encourage you to learn more about Goalbushido, and write out your goals with our help.

Goal setting is the tangible result of learning and understanding what our dreams are - an important first step in heading in the direction of following our hearts. What are you waiting for?

Children can teach you a lot. Look at how they interact and how they seem to always be watching and learning. If we, as adults, took just one day to see the world as a child does it could be life changing.

Children are always asking questions. They are always discovering new things. They love to use their imagination. Children are always learning from others.

You should try taking a cue from children and start watching others. Start taking the opportunity to learn from other people. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Do not be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger.

When you keep yourself closed off and you fail to see the world around you, you are missing out on a lot. There are learning experiences at every turn. You just have to open your eyes and your mind to them.

There is a book, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, that has been a big influence here at Lifebushido. The secrets revealed in this book are very simple concepts. You probably have heard them all before. The secrets are something anyone can do. It is so easy that it seems pretty obvious.

This books brings to light just how simple it is to be happy in your life. Most people make happiness out to be something complex. They struggle and waste away their lives trying to find happiness in all the wrong places. The one true place to find happiness is within yourself, as the book demonstrates.

The five secrets from the book are:

- Follow your heart
- Leave no regrets
- Become love
- Enjoy life today
- Give more

Simple and to the point, these five secrets are something that can change your life. Spend a week doing these things and you will see a change in your life. You will feel truly happy. It is simply amazing at how much such simple things can change your life, but they can. You do not have to take my word for it, though, try it and see what happens.

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