One of the first things to consider when trying to discover your life’s meaning and purpose is to think about the things and activities you’re passionate about. A good place to start is often with your hobbies. Too often we think of our hobbies as simple diversions that allow us to escape from the world. More often than not, your hobby is a reflection of your deepest passion. For example, you may really enjoy spending time buying old furniture and using it to create a modified version of its original look. An old mirror might be transformed into a more modern and exotic piece of furniture that captures everyone’s attention. You like being creative and taking something that someone gave away and turn it into something new, inspirational, and valuable. While you may not make this type of work your job, there is something about it that touches the very center of who you are. What you need to do is spend time thinking about what exactly it is that draws you in and motivates you to spend time refabricating old furniture and turning it into a valuable product. It may not be what you’re “actually” doing, it may be the process or some aspect and characteristic of the work that draws you in totally unrelated to the actual furniture.
Intentional living is a form of Life Design, a concept that was first introduced by Silicon Valley innovators and Stanford University professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. It’s about working from where we are and with what we have to design and build a meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling life, one that is aligned with our values, beliefs, and interests. And it asks one simple question:
“What kind of lifestyle do I aspire to live?”
Plain and simple, intentional living is about living a life that is true to you. It doesn’t matter what your parents advise you to do, or what society thinks of you, or what your friends think you should do. What matters most is how you feel inside yourself and what you decide to do for yourself. That’s it.
That’s the power of intentional living. It reminds us that, even when we feel completely stuck, we still have agency over how we choose to frame our days and what actions we decide to take. As Burnett and Evans write in their book, Designing Your Life:
“Living coherently doesn’t mean everything is in perfect order all the time. It means you are living in alignment with your values and have not sacrificed your integrity along the way.”
Here are 11 signs you’re starting to become more intentional about the life you want to live.
You’re putting yourself first, which means that you’re prioritizing your own emotional and mental well-being before anyone else’s because it has finally dawned on you that you cannot give from that which you don’t have.
You’re becoming kinder to yourself. You’re drowning that voice of your inner critic in an ocean that’s brimming with confidence. You’re recognizing that the sanctuary is found within you and the only way to reach it is to be kind to yourself first, so you can then be kind to all other beings around you.
Joy also comes from giving. It’s the sort of giving where you expect nothing in return and attempt to impart some form of wisdom or experience on a complete stranger knowing that when you’re gone from this world, that is all that’s left.
Giving is a habit, not a one-off act.
Giving works best when your intent is completely selfless and you leave your ego at the front door. Giving is an art because its result often happens away from plain sight. All the giving you do often never shows any visible signs.
I decided to give everything I had through writing and not worry about tracking results too much.
When you focus on seeing the result of your giving, you get high off the fumes and start doing it for the wrong reasons.
Giving brings about an indescribable feeling of joy that you need to experience for yourself to understand. The feeling will wipe the floor with what you experience from achieving endless lists of goals.