July 9, 2015

Attention is superior to intention


It was when I was rereading Etsko Schuitema’s Intent: Exploring the Core of Being Human the other day that I came across this aphorism: Attention is Superior to Intention.

Eckhart Tolle made the same observation when he said, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus on your life.

And, to add some more weight to this, Carlos Castaneda said, “A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting.

These quotes and more, highlight the weakness in setting goals for our lives.

Our goals are full of good intent. We want the fancy car, we want to lose weight, we want to quit smoking, we want to travel, we want to be rich, we want a loving relationship and the like.

However, most of us are not prepared to pay attention to the process of getting our intention.

Unless we focus on the actions and do the work to get to our end destination, all the visualisations and affirmations in the world won’t get us any nearer to our dreams.

I believe that many of us miss the boat because we’re not prepared to pay attention to the work we have to do in the moment to achieve our dreams. Just in case you think I’m judging, I’m not … I’m as guilty as the next man of not working as hard as I should. I miss the boat plenty.

Perhaps some of us are just not prepared to pay the price to get what we want. Perhaps I can just be blunt enough and say it, “We are lazy and want our success handed to us on a plate”.

As Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

I think many of us have bought into the saying “work smarter and not harder”. And, maybe it has given us an excuse not to work too hard. The problem is that we are not working smarter either. So, if we take away hard work and smarts, we’re pretty much left with nothing.

We are also misled by the media’s portrayal of people that are ‘overnight successes’. I think if we interrogate these so-called ‘overnight successes’ we’ll find the opposite is true. We’ll find that they worked extremely hard, over a long period of time whilst enduring failure after failure to achieve ‘overnight success’. 99% of ‘overnight success’ stories are myth.

I suppose the trick is to figure out what it is that we really want in our lives. Then set action plans to achieve what it is we want and then use every moment wisely and knuckle down and do the work.

Because as you know, the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

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