The Seven Secrets of Everything: Part 2

Well, I feel much better this week.  My catheter was removed.  I am off pain killers and I am out walking at least once per day.  I can still not sit for too long but I want to stay on my schedule and publish one blog a week.  The mind needs exercise as well as the body when recovering from illness and this mental stimulation is essential to help me keep my spirits up.  I had felt some “why me” periods of depression this past week or two but I realize there is no answer.  I am truly starting a new beginning every day.  We are all starting “New beginnings every day”, a fact of life rather easy to say but often difficult to accept.

Here is the caveat with my Seven Secrets of Everything.  Like the New Year’s Resolution or the “Diet” to end all diets, the problem is often not with the solution but with the implementation.  Six weeks after New Year’s Day, the health clubs start to thin out as members realize that pounds don’t shed in weeks and muscles take work and not just desire.  The Seven Secrets of Everything are not simply constructs of the mind, nor of the heart.  They won’t do you one bit of good posted on your wall or inscribed someplace for you to peak at from time to time.  You must have a system and a program to help you follow these Secrets or they are simply worthless platitudes.  There is an old saying that goes “Pray to the Lord but row for the shore.”  Unless you ask yourself on a regular basis “How am I doing” and “What am I doing” to make these Secrets a reality, they will do you little good.  Strategy must have tactics and the key to any strategy lies in the effectiveness of implementation.  The Seven Secrets of Everything must become your strategy for living and you must develop an effective action plan to help make these Secrets a reality.  With the above caveats out of the way, let us look at each of my Seven Secrets of Everything.

1.  Aim high and plan to live for eternity. 

You have heard it said to aim high but I say aim for eternity.  Whether you are Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim or Atheist, what is the value of simply living like you are going to die someday?  I am not saying to deny death and I recognize the value of living “one day at a time” but I think these ideas are only stronger if you are not fixed on some earthy calendar of growing, living, aging and dying.  Who will live forever?  No one or perhaps all of us!  I submit it all depends on how you define living.  Some people do not live much of their lives because they live in fear of death each day.  Others like Martin Luther KingLuis Carlos GalanBetty Ann Olsen, Giovanni Falcone , Paolo BorsellinoMalala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela, (to name only a few of the great people who have put their beliefs and ideals before their lives) all knew that death was imminent but life had to be focused on the future and not the past or even the present.

aimhighWhen I think about aiming high, two recent situations that exemplify this principle come to my mind.  One deals with the world of professional motorcycle racing and one with the world of chess.  In the world of motorcycle racing, Valentino Rossi is considered one of the greatest riders of all time.  He is one of the youngest champions of all time and has one of the best records for wins and podium appearances.  Nevertheless, it took him two years to win the World GP championship after he moved up to the elite class.  This year, a novice to the elite class named Marc Marquez became the youngest ever rider to clinch the premier class world title in Moto GP™.  Thanks to a truly amazing debut season, the 20-year-old from Cervera, Spain also becomes the first rookie premier class World Champion for 35 years.  When asked how come he had not accomplished this feat, Valentino replied: “I did not believe I could win the title the first year I entered the competition, Marc did.”  As high as the great Valentino Rossi aimed, Marc Marquez aimed even higher.  An African American man with the unlikely name of Barack Obama believed he could be President of the United States and he is.

This year in the world of chess, where the brainiest of the brainy and the highest mental geniuses all cavort, a young 22 year old Norwegian man named Magnus Carlsen beat 43 year old Viswanathan Anand of India to become the world chess champion.  Magnus now has a chess rating of 2872 which is the highest ever attained in the world of chess. This is even high than the rating attained by Garry Kasparov considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.  If you think you need age and years of experience to become a great chess player, consider the following fact:  On 1 January 2010, at the age of 19 years, 32 days, Magnus became the youngest chess player in history to be ranked world No. 1.  Consider the following comment by Magnus:

“Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent.  You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should.  I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to.  It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them.” 

The First Secret of Everything has a Zen like quality to it:  Be realistic but aim high.  Live in the present but plan for eternity.  If you can grasp these dualities and see them as complimentary and not contradictory you will be able to practice the First Secret of Everything.

2.  Remember what Socrates, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Lao Tzu and your mother always said. 

Can you listen to the wisdom of others and really understand it?  The Second Secret of Everything lies in realizing that the wisdom to live a good live surrounds us everywhere we turn.  We make a choice every second, every hour and every day whether or not to hear this wisdom and whether or not to act on it.  I went to a conference of educators a number of years ago with a few friends.  While we were presenting at the podium on the history of education, the ideas of Socrates and Plato were noted in this area.  Some of us were sitting in the audience and overheard a number of attendees inquiring as follows:  “Why are they talking about Socrates and Plato, they have been dead for centuries.”  We were astounded nee actually appalled that educators could not understand the relevance of what we were talking about because we used “old ideas.”

quote291012words-of-wisdomThe universe is showering you with advice and wisdom to help guide you to a better life.  Often we think we are smarter or that this wisdom does not apply to us.  After all, we are different and they lived in different circumstances or different times.  We fail to understand the universality of experiences that unite all of humanity through the ages and cultures both past and present.  Regardless of whether you were born in the Stone Age or the Jet Age, it is my bet that humans all evidenced similar emotions of fear, happiness, joy, love, revenge, concern, worry, depression and creativity.

There are many people who ask “WWJD” this translates “What would Jesus do?”  This is a simple but effective guide to living.  If you truly study Jesus and his disciples, read his gospels, read the entire New Testament and study it diligently, you will be in a good position to really know what Jesus would do.

I say don’t stop with Jesus. Read the Koran, read the Talmud, read Plato, read Aristotle.  Listen to your mother.  All of the great teachers had a love for humanity in common.  Thus, the great prophets have all tried to show us through love for humanity, a pathway to happiness and a joyous life.  Your mother loves you and wants the same thing for you.

I would look at the ideas from all of the various teachers as different perspectives on the world. You are no doubt familiar with the famous story of the Five Blind Men and the Elephant.  Each blind man had a perspective.  Each perspective gave a different view of the elephant.  Putting all of the perspectives together provides us with an even better view.  This is the job of living a good life.  To continue forever putting perspectives on living together to help guide us to a more fulfilled life.  The world is offering us a smorgasbord of perspectives to help us.  Some days we may find one thing useful and on another day we may find something else useful.  The wise person choices a variety and realizes that they cannot eat everything.  Next time we can try something else.  The foolish person ignores the bounty that is offered.  Likewise, many people ignore the advice of others.  I have one further caveat here.  Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses and Socrates are offering their advice for free and are not trying to sell you anything.

Beware the experts, gurus, talking heads, hucksters, professionals, and marketing types who will make you better, smarter, faster for a PRICE.  You should be suspicious of all ideas that you need to pay for.  Some might be valuable and some might not be.  However, like the treasure map that you can purchase in Arizona to guide you to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, it is very curious that none have yet found it.  My father always said “Believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see.”  If you can incorporate my father’s advice when anyone tries to sell you something, you will be able to embrace the Zen like quality that is needed to truly implement my Second Secret of Everything.  There is a Zen poem that sums up this quality rather nicely:

“Before a person studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are not waters; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.”

So study everyone, study everything.  When you think you know everything, you will really know nothing.  Once you realize that you truly know nothing, you will know everything.  This is the essence of the Second Secret of Everything.

In Part 3, I will describe the next three Secrets of Everything.

Time for Questions:

Do you aim low or high in your life?  Why?  What would your life be like if you aimed higher than you have in the past?  What would change for you?  How would your life be different if you knew you were going to live forever?  Why?  What would you change in your life if you could live forever?  Can you live in the present but also for eternity?  What would it take for you to accomplish this Zen like task?

Life is just beginning.

I was feeling for a short while right after my surgery, that life was just ending.  Pain really clouds the judgment.  However, thanks to God, friends, my spouse and modern medical science, I can truly say that “life is just beginning.”  All the reports indicate that I am cancer free and can thus live to die from something else. J

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Seven Secrets of Everything: Part 2 | Johnpersico's Blog
  2. armsts
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 15:39:17

    Amen, John, blog on! Glad to see you exerting and sharing your thoughts with us. Thank you. Love these topics. Let’s plan on eternity – there’s so much to contemplate!



  3. Fred Broussard
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 11:58:03

    Very good advice, John. I’m always at how much wiser we become after enduring the trials of life. “The steel that’s been through the firs is toughest”; comes to mind.
    I caution grandkids about seeking advice or guidance from peers. Instead seek such from those who’ve gone before you and achieved success in what you’re seeking. “Just ask” is so simple and chances are the wisdom of those who’ve succeeded before will be graciously shared. A college prof who died several years ago listed “just ask” as parting advice to his students.
    I had a “process” thought as I read about folks seeking weight loss by joining exercise spas. My weight gain begins with input not exercise output. Eventually our body breaks down for various reasons..usually injury, and when that happens to someone without “intake” control..the fat returns…like dealing with end of the production line rejects; instead of improving the process with preventative actions. However, I’m surprised how many times I hear exercise is “the solution”. It’s usually only the tail end part of the process. Saying “I can burn it off later” with exercise is like a drunk who says..”no problem..I can always sleep it off”. Exercise is very important but not where my overweight process begins.
    Thanks again for a thoughtful blog.



  4. johnpersico
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 12:38:37

    Hi Fred, thanks for the comments and insights. Dieting would be a good subject for a blog. Have you ever noticed how many expert diets are written by physicians who probably know very little about dieting, but being an MD gives a certain cachet or credibility required for a best selling diet book. I would like to write the “no sweat, no work, no give up anything diet book” but I suppose the title has already been taken.



  5. Yvette Iris
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 16:35:37

    I love this series John! I seriously saved it on my phone and computer, so many good things to think about and you connecting it all is a wisdom in itself. I started on 2 somehow but I am onto 1 and 3:) I am glad that you are doing well after your surgery:)



    • johnpersico
      Feb 11, 2014 @ 02:08:14

      Thanks Yvette very much for your nice comments. They are really appreciated. Makes me feel like the writing is worthwhile. Surgery recovery is coming along. I need to remember to be grateful for everyone that has helped me through this with thoughtful support like yours. I remember the song by the Beatles “I get by with a little help from my friends.” And to take each day one at a time.



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    Mar 06, 2014 @ 16:23:39

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    • johnpersico
      Mar 08, 2014 @ 22:38:09

      Yes, start with a free platform. Take some of the online classes for instance that are available in WordPress. Go free at first unless you really get big and then you might want to do more custom stuff. The free stuff works great. Don’t pay until you have at least some experience as it is easy to pay money and not get any value for it.



  7. Nicolas
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 02:11:20

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