“Live intentional.” It has a nice ring to it— may even sound a bit trendy. It could be right up there with "practice mindfulness."
But truth be told, trendy buzzwords are exactly what I’m trying to avoid. Part of the reason it has taking me so long to start writing publicly is that I often find myself caught in a tension . I want to write stuff that’s compelling, inspiring, even entertaining, but I don’t want to ride the trends. I don’t want to be typical. I don’t want this to be just another “lifestyle” blog claiming to have the answers.
One of the biggest questions I asked myself while conceptualizing this website was, “How do I write the way I want to, inspire people, and give good advice without coming across like an arrogant, white guy pretending to have it all together?”
There’s all sorts of strategic ways to accomplish that, but the most honest one I could come up with was to just come out and admit that I don’t have it all together. I realize that I’ve been known to come off like I do. I’m great at presenting myself in a certain manner—clean, ducks in a row, stable.
I don’t share a lot of myself with a lot of people, so you can only imagine what a change it’s been for me to commit to writing regularly, publicly, and honestly. I was deeply apprehensive about publishing my first blog post. Ask my wife. Sure, it was a simple piece about setting some goals. There wasn’t much vulnerability there, but there’s something unique about making your work and ideas available for people to read, and there’s a reason why I’ve never gotten around to doing it until now.
Here’s why: I’ve placed way too much weight on what other people think. I care way too much about others’ opinions. I have always enjoyed knowing that people think highly of me—so much so, that you could call it an idol.
There’s a major problem with that.
"If you’re always concerned with what people think, then you will only do what people think you should do."
Let that sink in.
Over the years I’ve come to realize something so small, but so important. We’re only given one life. We get one try at this thing. I’m sure this isn’t earth-shattering news to you, but when you really sit back and let that waft over you, I think it may lead you to ask a question. “Who am I living for?”
That might be too profound a question to try and answer in a blog post, but I know the wrong answer. I know that if you’re living your life for everyone else, then you’re not living at all.
That’s why I wanted to start intent/content. It wasn’t to show what a well-manicured, intentional life looks like. It was to show what living with intentionality and contentment can do for someone who doesn’t have it all figured out, for someone who’s experienced loss, pain, elation, anxiety, resentment, excitement, confusion, anger—the whole range of human emotion.
Being intentional about my life changed my life. I sat down with myself and said, “No longer will I live a life designed by others. I get to choose. I get to choose what my life will look like.”
The changes didn’t occur immediately, and many of the results I’m looking to cultivate are still far in the future, but something transforms inside of us when we make the choice to really live our lives.
So while I don’t have it all together and don’t have all the answers, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to live an intentional and content life. If you’re interested in something similar, then a good place to start is by asking these questions.
“Who am I?”
“Who do I want to be?”
“What do I believe?”
“What do I want to do with my life?”
Those are simple questions, but they’re not easy to answer. Over the course of the next couple of months, I hope you join me on a journey where we ask these questions together. I'll share some insights and lessons I've learned along the way, but I won't be able to give you your answers. You'll have to discover those on your own.
After all, you’re not living for me. You get to live your own life. Let’s keep it that way.
Thanks for reading.