You wake up in the morning and even before you realize – hours, minutes and seconds keep ticking. You are left with a sense of dissatisfaction of not achieving anything meaningful. I go through this motion repeatedly and it makes me sick and frustrated. I just don’t like the feeling of being aimless. Call me analytical, goal-oriented or by any other adjective, I personally feel satisfied when an intention is the means of my life.
Being intent-driven does wonder for me. I woke up this morning and took a few seconds to establish the intent for today and felt refreshed. When I don’t do this, I feel lost. Then, I have to remind myself to be intentful to reset the compass of my daily life.
Living a life of intent is quickly becoming part of our eco-system. Take lighting, a product like Philips Hue allows you to be intentional in setting the light based on mood and time of the day. You ease into sleep with warm light, and you align with the circadian rhythm by setting your wake up lights to merge with the experience of dawn.
Easter and Western Scriptures have numerous stories of intent being the foundation of evil and good. The fight between David and Goliath, The fight between the righteous and evil in The Gita are figments of the power of intention.
How can you lead a life of intent? How can you make intention part of your daily life instead of it becoming another “doing” or task?
Here are 3 steps to get there:
Become aware of your daily activities and prevent them from going into a pilot mode. Automated activities take up a sizeable percentage of our day and actions. Automated and routine activities result from your being subservient to the brain. It is like the brain forcing you on the same highway, even if it is the one that takes you the longest. It does not re-route you through the local roads to get to your destination faster. The brain works on a principle of use and reuse, even if it is not optimal.
You need to put an intentional thought before engaging in an automated activity. Most of you just wake up in the morning and get on with your regular chores. Tweak this habit a bit. Take a few seconds in the morning while you are still in bed and reflect on what you would like to do in those early hours of your day. This minor pause in itself is good enough to yield amazing results. You will start inserting value-add, satisfaction based actions in those morning hours. Reflect on other activities – Browsing the internet aimlessly? Put an intention behind it and see the difference.
Make the brain work towards your benefit. Now you know that the brain has the principle of use and reuse. Channel that behavior towards your intentional thought. Make it a habit to put an intentional thought behind your actions. Very soon, for the brain, this becomes the highway of choice and from there on, having an intention becomes your default.
Combine intention with emotion. An intention without emotion creates lifeless energy. An intention with a positive, kind and cheerful emotion creates a gust of dynamic energy. I used to be scared of dogs. I realized that the reason we were at 180 degrees to each other was my lack of emotion. I was not exhibiting the emotion of confidence and love when I was approaching a dog. Canines are sensitive to emotions and intentions, they can scare you away or be a loving friend. They prefer a balance of energy, an equilibrium in their interactions. When you exhibit that balance, they come close to you. As humans don’t we prefer that as well?
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