Intentional effort makes for instinctual living
How is the flow of your life right now? Do you feel balanced between work and play, introspection and speaking out, or somber reflection and laughter? These are just a few examples of the balance that I hope for in my life.
Currently, the balance between engaging the issues of injustice and political discussions with the rest of the relational work that is taking place in the day to day has been consuming my mind space. What I seek to discover is how to develop an honest and natural leaning towards empathy, and this will come through intentional work and creating a foundation of core values that will guide my actions and words.
What I have found over the past few years is that this balance does not happen without intention, yet the flow comes somewhat naturally once the intentional work has been put in. A life of fulfillment will have moments of hard work mixed with moments of ease, with the intent of discovering and dialing into our purpose, and purpose is our role in the great story of this world.
In and Out
Have you joined the In-and-Out Burger bandwagon…revolution…fandom yet? If you haven’t, then you should. Ever since I was a kid, In-and-Out Burger has been consistently awesome. As a kid, it was awesome because it tasted delicious, and it was always a gift to go out to eat. What I came to realize though as an adult, is that the secret to their sustained “awesomeness” lies in the fact that they have remained focused on their purpose. They know who they are, and stayed focused on their purpose.
What you will find at any In-and-Out is a long line, consistent food, and a timeless environment. They have maintained their logos, outfits, recipes, menus, and popularity. You will find a very small and simple menu, burgers and fries. No bacon, no avocados, no ranch. Simplicity is the path they have chosen.
Simplicity is the result of clarity, clarity is the result of focus, and in this clarity, one will find simplicity even in complexity.
Narrowed Focus, Broad Perspective
We are all trying to focus on our life’s purpose, from our faith to our career, we want to know that we are investing our time in ways that will have a lasting impact. I have been guilty of becoming too self-focused at times, which begins to become more of an ego-driven journey rather than a purpose-driven journey. Whereas I do need to have a grasp on who I am and what I can do, one important aspect of this life must be maintained; we are all part of a larger story taking place.
Frodo could have just tossed the ring in a river if he didn’t keep the fate of the world on his mind. Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader because he became too self-focused on power, and in doing so became a force for evil rather good.
My mental well-being is important because it has a direct impact on my family. I need to pursue my passions in this life because it makes me a better person to be around. When we pursue a goal or project that becomes self-serving, it will lose speed and we will feel burdened, but if we can maintain a greater reason to pursue, then we will find that the burden becomes light.
Somebody to Love
Find somebody to love, anyone in our life that we can serve to open up our perspective. This helps me because it is an active way to focus our love on someone else, which selfishly, brings joy and a sense of purpose. To do this, start with those in closest proximity to you, whether it’s your partner, children, roommate, parent, sibling, co-worker, or even a neighbor. The reality is that a life of purpose brings life to others, even if it is in a very small amount. Those words we pen to the pages of someone else’s story are exactly that, part of their story.
It’s Work at First
Practice, study, and repetition will help establish the flow of life. The actions we take and the discussions we have spring forth from the thoughts and ideas that consume our mind, so the work will be done within answering the following question: What kind of person do I want to be?
I’ve been considering this question, well my whole life, but not as intentionally as I have been lately. This was a question posed by James Clear in his book Atomic Habits, and he used it as a foundation for recognizing habits that do not support the person you want to become and building the habits that will enforce the person you want to become. So the journey begins with an intentional daily commitment to do things that reinforce your identity.
Life to the Full
I want to live a life of fulfillment and positive impact, and in the words of *Martin Luther King Jr., I want to live with a “commitment to beauty, love, and justice.”
We seek clarity of purpose through simplicity, strong focus, broad perspective, loving others, and a commitment to do the work needed.