Intentional living is hard.
And is about the only thing that separates us from animals… and from our own animal instincts.
What is intentional living
Intentional living is:
- In the words of Abraham Lincoln “…adding life to our years and not years to our life”. It is about not wasting our most precious gift, time.
- Is more than mindless goal setting and busyness. It is about focusing on the really important things in our life instead of the urgent. It is about attaining a deep and gratifying sense of fulfillment instead of a numbing emptiness and the “is this all there is to to life” feeling.
- Becoming more secure in yourself because you are growing in the real sense every day.
- Being authentic. Trying to be someone else is draining and renders you ineffective and less powerful in your interpersonal relations.
- Courage of conviction. No matter the odds, no matter the criticism.
British philosopher Colin Wilson’s ladder of selves is a great way to visualize our levels of consciousness and their impact on us.
How to live more intentionally
1) We are made of three brains: our lizard brain, our mammalian or emotional brain and our newest the pre frontal cortex or PFC.
Scientists have established that the PFC is the seat of all our higher level functions from planning and goal setting to motivation, from emotional management to self discipline.
Strengthening our PFC will raise our consciousness from animal to human faculty.
We can strengthen our PFC through meditation.
2) Goal setting. This can be a terrific tool for intentional living if you can get it right. When I was a kid some of my goals included getting to the movies on time, hardly a life shaking goal. Here is a great time management template I follow up from Stephen Covey’s book “First Things First”.
3) The ‘B Alert’ mnemonic. Authors Jack Canfield and Les Hewitt describe a great technique to wake up and live intentionally in their book “The Power of Focus”.
B – Blueprint. Start the day with a plan.
A – Concentrate on the most important activities first.
L – Learn. Expand your knowledge through reading, listening, observing, etc.
E – Exercise. For at least 30 minutes.
R – Relax. Eliminate daily stress.
T – Think. Take time to reflect on the day.
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