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I’ve been there. You’ve got things in your life that are stagnating, never getting better no matter how desperately you wish they were. Maybe you wish you could start a side-hustle to eventually snowball into your dream-job. Maybe you don’t feel close to those you want to be the closest to or your kids aren’t well-behaved as you wish. Luckily there is one incredibly simple and versatile idea to help these situations and many more.
Below I’ll share with you what I call the duct-tape of mindsets:
1. The Trap: Complacent You
Life is a groundhog day nightmare. Every day you wish things could be better. You wish you could lie down on your pillow at night and smile, thinking how you get to live your amazing life tomorrow when you wake up.
You get complacent, somehow living the worst way becomes the easiest because that’s what you’ve gotten used to. It’s a rut even the best of us can get into, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Read about any great man or woman from the past or present and you’ll notice a couple of things a lot of them have in common, but today we’re talking about something they all have. Without which your favorite heroes of history would have been recorded as a number on a census rather than a name on Wikipedia.
I can’t actually promise you a spot on Wikipedia, but I can tell you that you too can harness this power. For fulfillment, for advancement, and most importantly of all for happiness.
“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” – Walter Hagen
2. How I Harnessed this Idea
I have siblings and they’re great honestly, but to teenage me, they were annoying. At every chance I pushed them away. I’m still wishing I could have a nice relationship with them like in the movies.
My programming was to tell them to beat it, and ignore them as best I could. Then my mother told me a bit of advice she had given to my father. If he wanted to get to know them and be close to them all he needed to do was go in their room, sit down, and ask “What’re you up to?”
If he was interested was not the question, the question was whether or not he was willing to be interested and listen intently to achieve what he wanted. What my mom said resonated with me, so this was the first time I accidentally used this mind-set.
Rather than waiting for them to be interested in exactly what I wanted them to be interested in, I took an interest in them. I began to have intentionality. I had begun to question what I wanted and what actions could most realistically get me those results and then most importantly I did it.
I really talked for the first time with my siblings by sitting down and discussing life, film, school, and everything. I didn’t wait, I went to them and said “How’s school? What’s your favorite song right now?” It it worked like magic, albeit incredibly simple magic.
My siblings and I were closer than ever after our talks. We were talking, joking, and spending time together with no external forces deciding it for us. I became much happier to finally feel closer to being the older brother I always wanted to be. All it took was to be intentional.
“An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing. An intentional life embraces only the things that will add to the mission of significance.” – John C. Maxwell
3. So How Does it Work Really?
Whether you agree that humans are innately good or evil doesn’t matter. I think we can agree that goodness and achievement are things that require intentional action. No one has become worth a damn by accident or inaction.
The idea itself is the easy part, it’s the following actions upon it that are difficult to execute. First you must be intentional in thought: What is it that I’m missing, what is it that is making me frustrated? Likely, you’ve already done this part but now you have to figure out what will fix that.
It’s simpler than you think. Oftentimes we ask questions with the answers embedded. For example: “How can I be closer to my son?” You do it. What makes any two people closer? You share hobbies, time, and ideas. The hard part is being intentional enough to realize that you’ve chosen to fall into your programming, and then to figure out how to change it and do it.
No one else is going to figure out life for you, but I feel that this is a great blueprint to every single facet of life.
What do I want/What am I missing?
How do I get it/How do I fix that?
The biggest stumbling block here is making sure you figure out a way to get what you want that makes sense. Not the one that’s easiest or that you feel you deserve. Like “I’ll repair my marriage by waiting for my wife to apologize because I’m right and she’s wrong.”
The worst case scenario is that things aren’t working, but all failure is just knowledge. You now know you should revise your strategy and be more patient.
Make sure to be intentional with every action you commit during the day. You’ll be grateful you did.
We want to hear from you! What do you think is the best way to live an intentional life?
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