Best-selling author Bob Molwad said, "people don't aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit." What's worse? Not aiming at all. Lacking vision is failing to take aim in life. Unintentional people wander through life without focus or direction. They are like Brother Juniper in the comic strip between Father Justin Fred McArthy, who shoots arrows at a fence in the backyard. He pulls back the bow string and lets the arrows fly. Wherever it sticks to the fence, he takes a marker and draws a circle around it. This way, it appears, he is sure never to miss a bulls eye.
Sadly, many people live their lives similarly. They aim somewhere random and call it a bulls eye. That describes life without purpose or impact. Living that way would be like golfing without a hole, soccer without a goal, or baseball without a home.
For anything to have great meaning (including life), it needs to be driven by purpose, and followed through with intentional action.
Intentional action doesn't just allow you to dream, but it prompts you to put details to your dreams, and attach deadlines to them. It prompts you to examine yourself, and where you are. It requires that you look at your strengths and weaknesses. It will force you to consider your goals every week. And it will engage you with a process of growth.
If we want to make a difference, wishing for things to change doesn't make them change. Hoping for improvements doesn't bring them. Dreaming won't provide all the answers we need. Vision won't be enough to bring transformation to us and others. Only by managing our thinking, and shifting our thoughts from desires to deeds, would we be able to bring about positive change. We need to go from wanting to doing. And you can do that right now.
In fact, you can be so intentional with your actions that your friends and family, your colleagues and bosses, neighbors and naysayers will say, 'what in the world happened?' Your transformation will blow their minds. And it will inspire others to embrace intentional action to.
The Seven Benefits of Intentional Action:
1. Intentional action prompts you to prioritize. It will force you to ask questions and determine what is important to you. It drives you to think about who can I help, how can I help them, how can I add value to them?
2. Intentional action gives you a sense of urgency. It motivates us to take immediate action in areas of impact. When you have shifted from good intentions to intentional action, whenever you detect a need that matters to you, you don't think 'something must be done about that.' Instead you think 'I need to do something about that!" You take ownership. Napoleon Hill observed, "you must get involved to have an impact." Intentional action gives us a sense of urgency that squashes procrastination.
3. Intentional action channels your ingenuity. It challenges us to find creative ways to achieve impact. A clear picture of what you want to accomplish will give you the will to persist, and the creative spirit to overcome obstacles and make up for deficiencies. When you are focused on action, you see possibilities. When you are not, you see obstacles. When we have clarity about what we want, necessity -- disguised as creativity -- will kick in, and the doubt-filled question of "can I?" will transform into the invigorating question, "how can I?"
4. Intentional action energizes you to give your best effort. to do something of impact. "Most people don't aim too high and miss; they aim to low and hit." Being unintentional is failing to take aim at all. Without aim, you wander through life without focus.
5. Intentional action unleashes the power to impact others. Successful businessman and a master of motivation Zig Ziglar, is famous for saying "If you will first help others get what they want, they will help you get what you want." As soon as you express genuine interest in people, they reciprocate with more interest in you. By putting others first, you communicate that you believe they matter. Instead of selling your vision and your dreams, ask about their dreams, and ask you can help them accomplish what matters most to them. When others receive the attention and care they need, they are not only willing, but ready and able to help you achieve your vision. It is a law of nature that you cannot reap without sewing. That's why it's so important that you give first before you expect to receive. Our lives should be like a river, not a reservoir. What we have should flow through us to others.
6. Intentional action inspires you to make every day count. Make every day your masterpiece. John Wooden, legendary coach of the UGLA Druids, explains "as a leader of my team, it was my responsibility to get the most out of my players. As a coach I would ask myself every day, 'how can I make my team better?' My team would improve only if every day each player would improve. And every player would improve only if they made every day their masterpiece." If you give 60% today, you can't give 140% tomorrow. The most you can give is 100%, and that 40% is lost, never to be recovered. The key is in the consistency.
7. Intentional action encourages you to finish well. Every major birthday is an opportunity to reflect, because we do not want to get to the end of our lives to discover we had lived the length of it, without any depth. In order to finish well, you have to be bigger on the inside than on the outside, because character matters. You should follow the golden rule, because people matter. You should value humility above all virtues, because perspective matters. You should travel the high road, because attitude matters. You should teach only what you believe, because passion matters. You should make every day your masterpiece, because today matters. You should finish well, because faithfulness matters. Nobody finishes well by accident.
Every day you should aim to make a difference for others with intentional action. That will give you endless energy to keep going, and finish well.
Act with intention.