Living with Intention is Crucial Here’s Why
It’s a never-ending debate, an infinite supply of food for thought. Is living with intention the way to live? How deliberate can you be about how your life unfolds? Is surrendering to our proclivity to live on autopilot that bad after all?
Let’s face it. It is almost impossible to come up with an answer to these questions and be one-hundred percent sure about it.
There are those who believe that to lead a purposeful and fulfilling life you have to get clear on your values and desire and intentionally live by them.
Why would you live life mindlessly? Who is willing to risk the daunting regrets of not being where you want to be years and years into your journey?
On the other side, some people will challenge the intentional living philosophy by saying that existing, in and of itself, fulfills the purpose of life.
Why would you stress yourself out? Who is willing to spend all that energy knowing there are an infinite number of elements out of your control that can sidetrack your entire vision?
The truth is that most people tend to fall in the middle, believing in a balanced approach — one that encompasses the power of living with intention, which allows you to be the director of your life, while also being able to freestyle it when appropriate, which gives you the necessary elasticity to pivot.
When exploring any topic related to “ the art of living,” if you will, you not only have to account for whatever philosophical belief you might have, but you also have to keep in mind that, from a practical standpoint, your personal anecdotal experiences may or may not be relevant for the wider collective.
Nonetheless, It’s safe to say that once you have come out of a years-long rabbit hole of self-help content and had a chance to analyze the personal evidence you’ve collected since being an adult, you can at least share your perspective, hoping it will resonate with someone else.
Intentional living in a nutshell
Intentional living is the life-long practice of mindfully aligning your choices and everyday actions (a.k.a your lifestyle) with your core beliefs, aspirations, and philosophies.
Living with intention is the diametrical opposite of living a sloppy life — or a life that doesn’t feel centered.
Intentional living promotes this super aspirational yet very attainable idea of leading a life that feels curated.
Living with intention is, in many ways, synonymous with the practice of life optimization — paying attention to each part of the machine to make sure it all runs smoothly, for the most part. But not in a perfectionist fashion, which would make it restrictive and unhealthy.
What’s notable is that apart from a few core tenets that turn living with intention from an idea to a reality, such as practicing mindfulness (checking in with yourself), a vision that serves as a direction (or map), and a few habits that are crucial to lead a healthy and optimal life, it is ultimately up to you to decide what the ideal path and goals are.
This integral tie to the individual defines intentional living as a tool or a blueprint rather than a set of pre-packaged dogmas.
As a tool, it’s only a matter of choosing it and using it, picking it up or not, depending on whether it resonates with who you are and who you want to be.
How do you get clear on your intention?
The conundrum that trips most people up. How do you start living with clear intentions if you’re not yet sure what they are? But most importantly, do you have to soul-search before your start calling the shots? Or do you uncover your intentions as you experience life?
Talk about a chicken or the egg situation.
Some are more introspective by nature, so they might have a sharper idea of what they’re all about before getting out there and exploring life.
Others tend to jump straight into the action and then use those same experiences to learn about themselves.
I believe that in most cases, both experience and introspection inadvertently happen at the same time, almost as synchrony — a sort of rhythmic life dance.
I’m confident that once you have some experience under your belt, it’s wise to take stock as soon as possible. That’s what testing the waters is all about.
You want to gain perspective and get to know yourself by looking into your experiences, realizing what you are drawn to, what values are most important to you, and ultimately the direction you want to take.
I believe that taking part in life experiences and doing mindful introspection can co-exist simultaneously — except when solely focusing on one over the other is needed.
Finding a balance between intentionality and mindlessness
If you’re anything like me, and you tend to get a little-for lack of a better term — mechanical, in an uptight non-spontaneous way, then it’s helpful to loosen up a bit.
Implementing a touch of mindlessness is healthier than most of us think.
It might sound like the most overused clichè, but in life, it’s ultimately about the yin and yang.
You can’t get overly fixated when significant external circumstances play a part in it. Of course, this doesn’t mean you go to the other end of the spectrum and forget about how much power you hold. There’s a balance that can be struck.
Often, you get there by adopting the wrong approach and having to adjust, and then before you realize it, you will be able to walk that line efficiently and graciously.
Having lived life both mindlessly and intentionally, I am confident in my conclusion.
It ultimately comes down to whether or not you believe in using your time on earth to fulfill a higher calling or purpose.
Living aligned with your intentions equals not letting your uniqueness go to waste.
Originally published at https://www.intentionone.com on June 8, 2022.