What does it mean to live with intention? What does it mean to let life happen and react to it as it comes? Have you found yourself asking these questions or just dealing with circumstances day by day when they come up?
Direction in Life
If we live life simply reacting to situations each day we will be tossed by the waves of life in a direction we did not choose. However, if we establish a clearly defined target and lock our mind onto it we then have more control over the course our life takes. This is not to say we have complete control; things will come up that knock us off course but we will be able to guide much of our daily activity in the direction of our choosing over time.
So what does setting your course in life have to do with living with intention and to be in the moment? Having a clear vision of where you are headed keeps you on task in your daily activities in a couple ways. It can ensure you are engaging in activities that ultimately bring you closer to your target than you were yesterday. But it can also free your mind of worrying about what comes next. Without a clear path to follow it can become easy to let your mind shift between many different things at once during a day rather than knowing those other items are being dealt with so you can fix your intent on this moment.
Why Be Intentional about Living in the Moment?
The moment you are in right now will not come back to you. You may have a similar opportunity to what you have in this moment but you also may not. For example, while you are reading this post how many things are you thinking of? Are you just thinking about this topic and how you could best apply it to your life to give you the most benefit possible? Or are you thinking about what you need to work on next, what you need to pick up from the grocery story, what tasks you need to accomplish the next time you are at work?
If you aren’t very present in the moment you are in you won’t be very effective at what you are doing. But you may say you are being efficient because you are multitasking. Multitasking is somewhat of a myth. Even a computer is not that great at multitasking (unless you have a CPU with multiple cores but we won’t get into that in this post). If you are trying to work on more than one task at the same time you are really working on one at a time and shifting between each back and forth. The energy expenditure made to switch between tasks and refocus on the new task can actually increase the time it would have taken to work on them in sequence one after the other.
So How Do You Be More in the Moment?
Maybe you are talking with a friend and you feel your mind jumping to everything else you need to get done that day. You really do want to hear what your friend is telling you but all these thoughts jump in.
It may take some practice but as the thoughts come in just gently push them aside and refocus your attention on what your friend is talking about. Try to slow yourself down and really think about the words you are hearing. Try thinking less about yourself in that moment and more about your friend. How is what she is saying affecting her actions, the way she thinks about herself, etc. What things can you say in that moment that would be helpful for her?
Taking time to slow down and intentionally notice more of your surroundings will help you perceive more of the moment and engage more effectively.
What ways have you found to slow down and live in the moment?