I recently wrote an article for Pick the Brain titled, The Strength to Overome. I would highly recommend it for anyone going through a difficult situation.
Have you ever wished for the dream job, planned how to lose weight, considered how you could make more money, dreamed about the day your kids would listen to you, thought about starting your own business, hoped your relationship would get better, or just desired more than what you currently have in every aspect of your life?
In fact it has become almost a daily practice. I think it is in our genetic make-up to go through a process that generates this desire to want to continually improve. We are constantly making conscious or unconscious decisions to change, to get better, to improve who we are. This is why we get sad when things don’t go our way, feel defeated every time we fail, and get depressed when our actual lives don’t live up to our life plans. People want to get better, become smarter, and have more personal success.
If you don’t believe me consider modern science and how new discoveries are being made everyday. Look at Olympic sports where the athletes are getting faster and faster every year destroying previous world records. Consider the influx of cellular devices into everyday life like the iPhone where you can say requests and the AI (artificial intelligence) can respond. In all honesty the rate at which the world is changing is alarming, but that’s not my point.
In order to keep pace with this changing world, we have to make sure that we are taking the personal steps to improve the quality of our own lives. How do we make those steps? We have to learn to put activity over intention.
There was a young man with such a superior intellect that he was praised all throughout his high school and college tenure. His future was bright and his potential was limitless. After graduation, he was to begin the process of getting a job in the best industry in the world to him, the automotive industry. He dreamed of designing the next great SUV with better fuel economy than a Honda Accord.
There were countless nights that he sketched out design concepts and brainstormed on materials and the necessary technology to make this idea come to pass. From his education he had the credentials and his peers were excited about his prospects. Finally the day came for him to apply at the company he loved. He impressed the executives with his interview abilities and company knowledge. Yet, he failed to even get hired in at an entry level position.
For the next few years, while living under his parent’s roof, he worked small odd jobs not related to his field of interest to pay down his student loans. The phone constantly was ringing as Sallie Mae tried to account for his income and get him in a payment plan. Acquaintances who were there praising him before, are now avoiding him and speaking poorly of him behind his back. He is not the same person anymore as his failures are now amassing and his self esteem is gradually disappearing. The very clothing that he once took pride in are now deteriorating and personal hygiene is no longer a priority.
Everyday he goes to work at a job that he is overqualified for on paper. The people who he works with deal with him complaining about his situation, blaming his professors for not providing him with the appropriate context to land the job, and talking about how he was going to change the world with his invention. He talked, dreamed, complained, planned, considered and thought.
Many years went by while he continually shared with the world his intentions. A great way to recognize an intention is when your thought or statement includes any of the following words:
Another young man, who was no where near exceptional by any standard, finished high school and enrolled at the local university. He barely completed a Bachelors degree program but excelled in his career related courses. After graduation he was excited about an opening at a major technology company he had dreamed of working for. To prepare for the opportunity, he updated his resume’, expanded his network, and finally submitted for the position. With all of the work that he put in, he felt like he was guaranteed the job.
The job is offered to someone who is more qualified with more related work experience.
Devastated by the news he goes through a period of depression and does not look for work for weeks. One day while reflecting on his interview, he remembers the reason why he was not offered the job. It wasn’t because he lacked talent, drive, or ability. He wasn’t offered the job because he lacked experience. This young man, armed with this knowledge went and found a way to gather the experience he needed to get the job he wanted.
It wasn’t easy. For 5 years he worked in a retail environment not related to his field to pay the bills. However, when he got off of work, he volunteered at his local community center improving their technical interface and teaching computer literacy to the elderly. He interned at local technology firms doing the grunt work no one else wanted to do. He found a mentor who was successful in the field he wanted to work in and created an organization for interested professionals looking to get in that line of work.
Within 10 years instead of working for his dream company, he had started his own company and gave birth to a new dream. This was done through the connections and experience he gained preparing for the job he thought he wanted.
Activity set him up and set him apart.
Activity Vs. Intention
Knowing what you want in today’s world is not going to be enough to get you what you want. Intention is a plan or a course of actions that one hopes to take. However, intention is not action. I could have the greatest strategy in the world to start my own business but if I don’t act it out I will never make a dime. I could intend to lose weight but if I don’t work out, I won’t lose a pound. I could plan on having a long healthy marriage but if I don’t talk to my wife I will end up alone.
To improve the quality of our lives, we have to stop planning and start doing. Home Depot gets it. I am a firm believer that if anyone wants something to come to pass, they have to make it happen. You can make it happen. Don’t give up on getting that promotion. Don’t allow your kids to run your house. Don’t let your past hold you hostage. Don’t let unemployment ruin your self esteem. Start doing the actions necessary to get you the life you want. If you want your life to change, CHANGE IT!
Focus on actions over intentions.
Be like the second young man. Do something that will improve your life. Spend your days focusing on activity over intentions. I have nothing but faith in you. And if you need some help, you know where to find me.