Intention vs Inattention
I’m on a reading binge at the moment. Motivational and business recommendations mostly and I’m thinking that, if I’m seeing a theme develop, perhaps I should pay attention!
Like many of you, I spend a portion of my life on auto-pilot. Even though I am determined to make my life about choices, and I really want to make those choices good ones, auto-pilot is still a setting on my gear box.
That’s the inattention part.
Let’s talk Intention
Both of the books I’m currently into talk about setting “intentions” for many parts of your day, and your behaviours. This week, my meditation guide is using the same language.
At dictionary.com, the very first definition is “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” How often do you do that?
Instead of giving you the condensed versions of the books, let me ask you a few questions.
- If you’re meeting a friend for lunch, do you really think about how you want to “be” during that lunch? Seriously, are you going in to unload your own problems? or catch up on gossip? or maybe it’s a great café that you like to be seen in.
- If you’ve had “one of those days” – you know, nothing has gone quite the way you hoped and the weather isn’t cooperating and you’re not sure you like the way the hair stylist cut your hair this time, do you take a few minutes before going in the house to decide what energy you’re bringing in the door with you?
I challenge you to set intentions in your life regularly.
Let’s talk about your lunch date? How do you want to “be” with your friend? Do you want her to leave wondering if you talk about her the same way you talk about others? or do you want to her to leave the lunch knowing that you really heard what she said? that you’re supporting her during this time in her life? that you’re a friend through and through?
After a not-great day are you inclined to carry your mood in with you and make sure everyone feels your pain? or can you sit in the car for an extra three minutes while you take a few deep relaxing breaths and decide you are going to leave those “issues” out in the cold while you go into the lovely warmth of Home? that inside your four walls is love and security and you like it that way.
How day do dat?
I love Brendon Burchard’s idea of making your smart phone earn its keep. To backtrack a bit… one of the questions he asks is “If you could describe yourself in just three aspirational words – words that sum up who you are at your best in the future – what would those words be?” Now put them into your smart phone as an alarm label that goes off several times a day. Each time that alarm goes off, stop and think about who you want to be as your best version of yourself, and decide whether you are that person right now.
haha… while I think we should all have that reminder three or four times each day, perhaps use the type of words that you’d like used in your epitaph. Loving? Caring? Inspiring? Supportive? Accepting? Fun? Brave?
Whatever you choose, when your alarm goes off three times each day with those words looking at you, it gives cause for a mental regroup with a quick analysis of how you’re “being” right now and whether you need an attitude adjustment. After a while, you’ll know why that alarm is going off and the check-up is quick and effective.
The other thing Burchard discusses is “transitions” – those times between parts of your day. So, if you’ve had a bothersome meeting and you’re a little tense, take a few minutes before you transition into your lunch break with a friend so that you are the friend at lunch, not the disgruntled meeting attendee. When you get home from work, or your day out, take a few minutes before you transition into your evening at home with family to be the loving person you are, not the grump whose day didn’t turn out as planned.
Inattention is an easy way to go through life, but it’s neither satisfactory or productive. When you’re on auto-pilot, not making choices, just letting the day sweep you along, you become a pawn to other people’s agendas. I would hazard a guess that the epitaph of those people reads something like “Agnes-who?” (note the politically correct use of my own name so as not to incriminate anyone else!)
Do you currently live your life with Intention or Inattention? maybe somewhere in between?
Take a few minutes right now and think of the three words you want used to describe you as your best self and get them into your phone. Set an alarm for morning, afternoon and evening. Change them up in a few days or a few weeks if you Intentionally think of better words.