Overcoming a meaningless life with intentionality
Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? ….
Do you get what you’re hoping for when you look behind you there’s no open door? What are you hoping for? Do you know?
These are borrowed lines from a song popularised by singer Diana Ross in the mid 70’s. Some of us may not be familiar with the tune but in this world of so many options doesn’t the message ring a bell?
Life, really, is a borrowed time – it has a beginning and an end – and those who went ahead of us have one thing in common to say, “It is short.” It is precious for every moment that we are given passes us by only once – nothing will be exactly like it in our lifetime. As an old saying goes: “We can never turn back the hands of time.” It is precious because we don’t have it forever.
Tom Hiddleston an actor and musical performer is right in saying: “We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realise we only have one.”
We are given moments and we have to make those moments matter. We just don’t sit and wait and let time pass us by, tossed about by the winds of change and dictated upon by circumstance. We have to make the most of the time life has offered us. If we are just waiting for life to do something for us, then we are living a meaningless life. We may not have the answer to what is really the meaning of life but at least we should know what life is for us. We have to be intentional about it for an unintentional life is a wasted life.
Do you know where you’re going to?
The capacity to be intentional is built in each of us. Otherwise, the world will be a place of the walking dead. It is one of the competencies of our emotional intelligence (EI) that determine how we manage ourselves. It gives us the ability to think and act “on purpose” and deliberately. It makes us aware of what it takes to control our own outcomes and our own destiny. It is being responsible for our well-being— physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It is having an established identity and being certain of what we want. We have not utilised this capacity if we:
- Fail to set goals and adhere to them.
- Allow ourselves to be tossed about by the prevailing winds of life or the day.
- Allow ourselves to become distracted from what we ideally want to achieve, whether that’s an ideal life, finding our ideal position or career, choosing friends or a mate in life.
- Are unclear about the outcomes we seek, and fail to plan to achieve specified outcomes.
Do you get what you’re hoping for?
Scientifically, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If we are not intentional about our lives, we are zigzagging our way toward our goals. It would be sad if we reached the end of our journey in this life without reaching our goals because of our lack of determination, focus and purpose. If we live our lives intentionally, we live our lives in a straight path toward our goals and life will afford us more time to reach our other aspirations. Consequently, we will be able to achieve more and enhance not only our lives but also of those around us. Living intentionally is
- making decisions and taking actions in a manner consistent with our goals and values.
- managing distractions and keeping focused on our objectives.
- making a consistent effort to bring about the things we want to happen.
- being clear about what we want to happen in our lives, in our careers, in a particular time, or in an event.
- acting deliberately to achieve the outcomes we want.
Wanna fill up your calendar with purposeful and satisfying activities that will lead you straight to your goals? Experts would suggest that the best way to reckon life is to estimate how many more years we have left in our lifetime. That is, we asses ourselves backwards: from our projected time of our exit from life to the present. Doing so will give us a pragmatic assessment of how much time we have in our hands to be what we want to be. It will also enable us to determine what activities in life to focus on. Although life is so uncertain and we do not even know for sure what tomorrow brings, it is a practical way of facing it’s brevity and of living each day with a purpose.
Indeed life is fragile and we have to handle it well. With this in mind let us seriously and intentionally consider the following tips to develop our intentionality before we run out of time:
- Let us become actively intentional; step back and ask ourselves, “What do I ideally want to happen here?” (in this meeting, in this day, in the week ahead).
- Give ourselves permission to actively set an intention for what we want and go after it.
- Allow ourselves the astonishment and joy of actively and consistently creating richer, more meaningful and more loving interactions, closer friendships and stronger bonds with others; greater success at work, with your teams, direct reports and other colleagues.
- Don’t allow ourselves to be distracted from our goals and intentions.
- Know what we want and put a plan in place to make it happen.
- Solicit help and support as needed to bring our intentions to fruition.
- Adopt the belief that we are in control of our destiny.
Spend a day without purpose. Extend this to a week…a month…a year and we’ll eventually find ourselves slipping into depression and asking ourselves the questions of the song:
Do we like the things that life is showing us? Do we get what we’re hoping for?
“The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is the difference between living fully and just existing.” – Michael Gerber
Our team is intentional about our role to assist people live a purposeful life. If you need help in this area contact us today.