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Intentionality and Who You Will Be

March 21, 2014

An idyllic future – you have a grand job, beautiful partner, are fit, have a decent, well-maintained house. You’re charming, suave, you’re…

Waiting and waiting for something that will never come. You are waiting for something to change your life – a ‘magical’ moment of romance,  a ‘sudden realisation’ to live your life by. That idea to write that story by. “When I’m 30 I’ll be…” , “I’ll start saving for retirement at…”

You will not become that extraordinary, idyllic person through such sentiments. You will not wake up one day and be some brilliant figure. You are shaped by your past experiences – the grand synthesis you have been building throughout your life. The child is the father to the man. Through years of toil you’ll cultivate who you are in the future. Your investments now shall reap a bountiful harvest… years down the road.

It must sound very depressing to think that ‘magical moments’ will not happen, or at least are very unlikely to happen. But stop and think for a moment. If that magical moment was something you had no control over, who’s to say you wouldn’t have waited for eternity? Is that not a sobering thought?

I think it is, and that’s why it’s liberating to know that you can create these ‘magic moments’ by being intentional. Magic moments are these spheres where it seems no concern can touch those involved – the phone doesn’t ring during the idyllic moonlit stroll. Well, by planning ahead and making sure that that phone doesn’t ring, that there are no concerns for some time period, you create that moment. The seamless evening between a gentleman and a lady flows because the gentleman has planned the evening. After dinner, the gentleman is ready at hand with a nearby park, or a place to go for desert…

To create an ideal family culture you must plan and identify what that culture constitutes. You are not going to come home from work and always be the perfect parent for some child. You need principles to live intentionally by. Remember the value of common advice. Remember that “Certain things lie scattered about in various places, and it is impossible for the unpracticed mind to arrange them in order.”

By being intentional, you are ordering those things and making them accessible.

By practice you can develop the good manners that grease the wheels of conversation. By practice you shall develop the foundational knowledge required to have a sudden realisation. You shall, through intentionality and practice, develop that which facilitates such magical moments. You will embody the characteristics required for such occasions to develop.

Now, all this is not to say that events can’t happen to you and impact you. They can. For instance, my 18th birthday does mean that I’ll be legally able to drink. That does ‘happen’ to me, it is true. But the 18th birthday doesn’t mean I’ll wake up a ‘different person’. It doesn’t mean that I’ll have that suave touch that accompanies alcohol… without practice. Furthermore, in spite of being 18, I know that how people treat me will depend on my past actions and the person I have – at times – tried to intentionally become.

And yes, if other people are charming and brilliant perhaps you needn’t be intentional to experience some magic moment – they will create it. But think for a moment! How did they develop those characteristics? Through intentionality!

There are moments where things will happen to you. Perhaps in life we are riding a ship on the choppy ocean waters. We might find land. Might. But if we captain our ship – create a map, a guide, using the tools we have at our disposal – we are far more likely to reach land.

Reach that goal. Be intentional. That’s what determines who you will be.

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From → Foundations

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