(This is article contains an excerpt from the book Life by Intentions by Robert Louis Sims)
In this article, I would like to identify some beliefs that if you adopt will start you on your path to creating an intentional life. An intentional life is one where you have decided what you want, who you want to be, and how you want to live. So, if you're ready to take charge of your life and design the future you truly want, keep reading.
1. Know you are a miracle.
Have you ever taken the time to think about what had to happen for you to become you?
First, your father and mother had to cross paths, no small feat considering the billions of people that now inhabit the earth. Before that, your grandparents had to meet, and your great-grandparents had to come together and so forth all the way back millions of years. In other words, you are the accumulation of an infinite number of events that had to take place for you to become the person you are today.
That alone is a miracle.
2. Know you are unique.
Never in the history of the world has there been or will there ever again be someone exactly like you. Even identical twins who share the same genetic code have different life experiences which make them completely original.
Everything that has happened to you, the good as well as the bad, was necessary for you to become who you are today. Your genetics combined with your life path separates you from everyone else and provides you with authentic talents and insights.
Consider two painters who are painting the same scene. While they are observing the same phenomenon, they will inevitably create two different pieces of art. No two brush strokes are ever the same. Your originality sets you apart from everyone else in this world, and because of that, you are rare.
3. Know you have something to give the world it cannot receive any other way.
I had to accept this one before I could become a writer. Many times, I would sit down to write only to feel like an imposter. Having the influence of so many great teachers that went before me, it sometimes becomes difficult to distinguish my words and thoughts from theirs.
In the past, I would tell myself there was no need for me to tell my story. I convinced myself the teachers who came before me had already said what I am saying in such an eloquent way that I was only wasting my time. What I was failing to realize was the uniqueness of my story. I believed I was only reteaching what I had learned, which may be true, but I was also missing the bigger picture. My individual point of view and how I could share those lessons with a new generation is unique.
I also realized that my words might not resonate with everyone, but then again, who’s does? So, I decided if only one person benefits from my writing, then I would have made a difference in the life of that one person and that is all that matters.
4. Know that you are unlimited potential.
Your potential is yours, it is unseen, and only you can determine what you are capable of creating and achieving. You are the master of your destiny. Decide that you have reached your potential, and you have. Decide that your potential is limitless and live in harmony with that decision by striving every day to become a little more than you were yesterday then you will find a natural law of nature that few discover, your potential is limitless.
How can you know what you’re capable of accomplishing if you never try? But why would you try if you didn’t believe in the potential?
To live intentionally and experience an intentional life, you must believe in the unseen. Know that if you have the inspiration to do something in your life, then you also have the ability to turn it into your reality. God, or whatever you want to call the infinite source of life that is flowing through both you and me, never gives you inspiration without also providing you with the ability to create its physical equivalent.
Just as I was first inspired to write this book, I was also given the words to write it. I only had to provide the willingness to sit down, listen to the words, and do the work.
5. Know that you can always choose your thoughts.
The secret to free will is understanding that you always have a choice when it comes to what thoughts you allow to occupy your mind. William James, the father of American Psychology, pointed out over one-hundred years ago that your thoughts flow through your mind like a stream. He referred to this process as the stream of consciousness.
Imagine a river flowing downstream towards the ocean. If you only stand on the bank, you will not get swept away with the current. If, however, you jump on a log as it is passing by then you will become one with the stream finding yourself at the mercy of the water.
Thoughts are just the same, if we liken our thoughts to the logs in the river, as long as we are just standing on the bank watching them pass by, we will not become attached to them. They will flow on past us just like the log in the river.
On the other hand, if you attach yourself to a thought then what you are thinking will begin to consume you. In the same way, you would have to let go of the log, so you didn’t end up getting swept away by the current, the only way to free yourself from a consuming thought is by letting go of it.
The Master Key to Living Intentionally
Thoughts are the master key to living intentionally and reaching your full potential. Who you are today and who you will become in the future is determined by the proper application of this key. Not only is your current reality a by-product of what you are thinking now, but so is your future.
I employ you not to take this idea too lightly after all, how can you live the life of your dreams without first thinking in a way that allows you to create them. Everything in life begins as a thought. They are the first step in all creation.
Understand, whether you choose your thoughts or not, they are still the first steps in the creation of your life. By choosing your thoughts, you become actively involved in the creative process. By not choosing your thoughts, they still contribute to the outcome of your life. The problem with this approach is you end up wherever your misleading thoughts take you.
As Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, said, “Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.” Intentional living can only be achieved by taking a direct approach to control your thoughts. You must become disciplined enough to only allow thoughts that align with your personal vision to occupy your mind.
6. Know you possess the ability to choose what you believe about anything.
Behind your thoughts are your beliefs. Believe your dreams are hopeless to achieve and sure enough they will be. How can you ever expect to change the unchangeable? On the other hand, believe your dreams are possible and take steps towards them. Learn from your results, make the proper adjustments, and one day you will find yourself doing what others believe impossible.
If your dream is too large for your mind to grasp, you don’t have to believe it is possible to begin working towards it. When I first started writing, I wasn’t sure if I could write a full-length book. I was, however, convinced I could write a page or two a day.
As the days went on and I increasingly put more words down on paper, my belief began to grow and get stronger. I will never forget the day I realized I had written over one hundred pages. Before that day, it didn’t seem possible to me.
By taking it day by day and working diligently I was quickly developing a strong belief that I could not only write one book, but I could write many. If I hadn’t chosen to believe I could write a few words a day, and then done so, I would still be living in doubt, and these words you are reading would not be in existence.
Decide today to believe in yourself and your dreams. The truth is, no one else can do this for you. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself.
7. Know there are always multiple realities.
Your reality is a matter of focus and belief. This idea is a hard one for many people to accept. Tell someone there is more than one reality and odds are they will look at you like you are from another planet. However, the mere fact that they are looking at you like you are crazy supports your whole statement.
At this point, your reality is separate and distinct from theirs. As you attempt to explain your postulate, your two polarized perspectives will be colliding. These different points of view are precisely why two people looking at the same phenomenon can experience two entirely different reactions. Quite simply, we often see what we have been trained to see.
For example, if you believe that people are dishonest and not to be trusted, you will almost magically attract situations in your life that support your point of view. Because of your non-trusting attitude, you will find it almost impossible to recognize an honest intention from the people you encounter throughout your day.
And since you don’t trust others, you will treat them in a way that supports your belief. Ironically, this will lead to pushing the honest people away from you, leaving only the dishonest people in your life. In turn, you will then see this as more support for your belief.
Are you going through life with blinders on?
Looking at your world through only one reality is equivalent to going through life with blinders over your eyes. While many possibilities exist, you will only be able to see the one right in front of you, leaving you unaware of all the ones you are missing.
Once again, the good news is you always have a choice. You can remove the blinders, look for other possibilities and learn to choose the reality you wish to experience. By becoming aware of your thoughts and beliefs, you can begin searching for facts that support your dreams and goals.
At the same time, you can start letting go of the ones that don’t move you in the direction of your goals. You can decide what you will think and learn to see life in a whole new way.
As Leo Buscaglia says, “You can learn to see like you’ve never seen before, hear like you’ve never heard before, touch like you’ve never touched before.” Reading this book and others like it will help you with the process.
8. Know you have a purpose for living.
One belief you will need to cultivate if you are to experience real magic in your life is that you were born for a reason. I believe there are no accidents in the world and that every living thing has a purpose for being here.
It is not an accident that you are reading these words any more than it is an accident that I am writing them. Everything you and I have gone through in life up until this point has been necessary to bring us to where we are now.
I have already discussed the importance of discovering your life purpose so you may live your life intentionally. All I ask of you here is to experiment with the possibility that this is true. To have faith that you are reading this for a reason, even if that reason is currently unclear to you right now.
My intention is to help lead you on a path of living intentionally so you may live the life you were born to live.