Having Intention


We live in a world of intense distraction, where multitasking is de riguer. And the results have been predictable: We have trouble focusing and managing time. People who are the best time managers know how to focus, do what they do, and move on to the next task. When you do too many things at once, nothing gets done.

When we are unable to focus, we are lacking intention. What is “intention”? Intention is mentally giving direction to something — like determining the preferred outcome of a goal. Intention is knowing what you want from an activity; it is where the drive to focus and execute the activity stems from. You can’t focus without directing your attention to one thing intensely — one thing that you approach with purpose.

Having Small-Scale Intention

In order to have intention on a small scale, such as approaching a single task or project with direction and a goal in mind, you must define what you do accept in your process, and what you do not. Avoiding what is unnecessary is a key part of having intention. For example: If your intention is to ask your boss for a raise, you would go into the meeting with your boss prepared to sell your accomplishments to him or her. You would avoid bringing up conflicts with coworkers and your shortcomings as an employee. Another example of small-scale intention: Your intention is to send your child off to school in a peaceful way. You would approach your morning childcare routine with a clear picture of what a peaceful morning looks like. You would protect your morning routine from negativity and distractions.

Having Macro-Scale Intention

The principles discussed above are applicable to the scale of your entire life. Intention is the first link between knowing what you want your life to be like and actually living that life.  (The second link, which follows intention, is action.) What is your vision for what you want in you life? What don’t you want? For example: If your intention is to have a happy, healthy marriage, you would set your mind on being loving, communicating well, being respectful, and having a shared life purpose. You would exclude any kind of abuse in your relationship. Another example: You want to be a good person. You would direct your thoughts on what it means to be a good person, and you would exclude negative activities that distract you from bringing out your fundamental goodness.

A hurdle that people encounter with “good” or “pure” intentions is that the desire to do something positive is there, but the results are thwarted by negative events. That’s why it is so vital to exclude what you don’t want when you’re trying to set and act on a positive intention. If you protect your intentions like you’d protect a small child from harm, you’ll be more likely to succeed at actualizing them.

Exercise: Choose an intention to set for today — either small-scale or macro-scale. Be conscious of protecting it. At the end of the day, reflect on your experience.  Record your answer in MyMLC.

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Go deeper into this subject: How to Focus and Manage Time, Vayeira: To See the Divine, Nosso: When No Is Greater Than Yes

Live with Rabbi Simon Jacobson
The Kabbalah of Time: 4 Time Management Tips that Will Change Your Life
Wednesday, August 16, 2023 @8:30pm
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11 months ago

Amen and excellent as always. Very blessed to have you all and all you do. Thank you and Moshiach now! 🙂

The Meaningful Life Center