Every book has distilled nuggets; snippets of its message that help us determine what is important to us when we read it. They’re not a shortcut to reading the book and thinking about it, both of these things are activities that have a high energetic cost and rewire how our brain processes information. which is why the very act of reading changes us.

Snippets however play a different role. They help capture our attention. They concentrate our inner need. They make it easier for us to focus because they promise the pay-off we need in return for our investment in time, effort and energy.

Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully is the end product of three years’ worth of research, writing and thinking. The snippets below are drawn from its chapters and polished to present specific aspects of its message.

Use them as affirmations to help crystallize for you a specific aspect of life you need to work with. Use them in your social media posts to present part of your inner journey, its message and your own personal development. Hold them up as a representation of your values. A specific approach that reflects how you use your own beliefs and attitude to get through life.

I’d love it if you shared them. You don’t need to necessarily always mention where they come from but if you do it will most probably help others discover how “Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully” can help them, as it has helped you. I will be putting more and more here as Intentional evolves in the perception of its readers so bookmark this page and come back whenever you feel the need for a refreshing mental dip. Thank you for being part of this journey. 

Meaning and Context

Quote from Intentional How to Live, Love Work and Play Meaningfully by David Amerland 

The central structure of an experience is its intentionality.

Everything we experience has a process. The process is predicated upon our physicality *i.e. the way our brain and body are wired) and our mentality (i.e. the way the different parts of our brain network and talk to each other). Everything we experience, regardless of how it came about is made up of these two components. What then makes an experience stand out is the degree to which we guide it or the degree to which we do not. A proposal for marriage, for instance, is a highly intentional act with many life-changing consequences. A thunderbolt striking us from the sky may not be something that is intentionally guided by an entity or an experience we intentionally will seek out but the fact that we experience it will strike us (pun mostly unintended) for the very fact of its lack of intentionality on our part and that of any other entity. Experiences that are the result of highly directed intentionality are perceived as stronger because their cause is better understood.  

Pattern Recognition and Introspection quote from "Intentional" by David Amerland

You can't critically examine your life without engaging in pattern recognition. 

Everything is data. A life is a series of choices, decisions and actions. The latter leave a data trail which, when forensically analyzed through introspection, opens up a world of data. When data overwhelms us we resort to patter recognition in order to manage it. Pattern recognition is a structuring process. It's important to understand that life is information. we each represent a journey during which we collect a massive amount of information that's structured in the brain's cognitive semantic space. The structures we create allow us to make sense of our accumulation of experiences and, by association, our life. We only recognize the patterns of our behavior when we engage in introspection so we can critically examine where we'd been, what we've done and where it got us.

Willpower and Motivation

Motivation, action and purpose

Motivation is action. Purpose is meaning. Action without purpose has no meaning.

Everything we do is the result of motivation. Something has made us do it. When our actions align with a greater goal we have a purpose. Purpose always leads to meaning because the intended outcome it aims for adds value to its context. We can be compelled by circumstances to act. But when those actions are simply a reaction to immediate environmental pressures we face then they are devoid of any long term meaning. Survival may be practical and it is certainly necessary but it is never enough as a long-term strategy if that is all it is. Weird, right? But just surviving is meaningless because living takes such a massive amount of effort. We all look for a "why" that goes deeper and gives us more than just being. A sense of purpose does just that. It makes us feel that we strive for more than just our self. It makes us feel that we belong to a total that is made up of more than just our immediate family and friends. Purpose lifts us above our own frailty and weaknesses and elevates us in our mind. Meaning makes us feel that we matter. When we matter we are superhuman. 

Feeling and Thinking

Quote from Intentional How to Live, Love Work and Play Meaningfully by David Amerland  

We are what we feel, not what we think. Alignment of thought and feeling is never easy. 

Every decision we make is emotional. A lot of the times we hide or ignore our emotions, mistrusting the volatility they represent. We want to think we are rational beings. We want to believe that logic guides our decisions, which means that logic guides our actions. Yet, many times our actions do not reflect our values. Our actions fail to adequately represent our beliefs. Aligning emotion with action requires a deep understanding of who we are. That requires a certain degree of acceptance of our self. Without acceptance there can be no forgiveness. Without forgiveness there can be no true understanding or love. If we fail to understand our self and love us for who we are we cannot extend those attributes and behavior to others. Everything we do starts with how we feel. How we feel begins with who we truly are, deep inside.   

Healing and Thriving

Quote from Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully

To succeed we must first tell our self it is "OK" to fail. 

Success scares us. It makes us afraid because we know it will break us out of our comfort zone no matter how much we complain about it and it will make us face unknowns we can't even predict because we haven't yet got a lot of experience with success. This fear is compounded by the fear of failure. When we tell our self that at some undefined moment in the future we shall do something to change our situation we are basically creating hope. Hope is important to keep our dreams alive and create coherence in who we are. However hope is not a strategy unless it is aligned with actions. When it isn't hope is a fantasy. We fool ourselves and keep on fooling ourselves about what we shall do, at some future moment, when the conditions are right, until ... we don't. The reason we don't is that we fear that if we fail we shall have nothing left to hope about. We consider, without really articulating it, that it is much more preferable to dream about a day that will never come than to have no more dreams left because we tried, crashed and burnt. Failure scares us because it too presents unknowns. We don't know how catastrophic it will be. how much it will hurt when we fail. We don't know if we will be able to survive it. Yet, nothing is ever quite as bad as we imagine in our minds. Success comes with the acceptance of forgiveness should we fail. This liberates us from the fear we experience that paralyzes us. When we tell our self that it is "OK" to fail so we can learn we are better positioned to act in ways that most likely generate the success we seek. 

Purpose and Control

Purpose Creates Your Future

If you have a sense of purpose you have a future.

A sense of purpose provides us with a direction in our actions. A direction creates alignment so that our thoughts, decisions and actions harmonize. This reduces the cognitive dissonance we experience when this harmonization is not present. A direction allows us to establish goals that exist outside our self. Goals that exist outside our self change the nature of our decision-making. This, in turn, changes our actions. While we are still striving to survive and thrive the calculus we employ at every point we make a decision is now different. The parameters we use change because the horizon we operate with is much bigger. A sense of purpose provides us with a future that has meaning beyond just our survival. A sense of purpose enables us ti be strategic in our decision-making. This, in turn, creates a natural competitive advantage for individuals and businesses alike. 

Your Life Is A Lie quote from "Intentional" by David Amerland

If you're not living your truth, your life is a lie. 

There are no absolutes. Whatever it is you do that goes on to become your life has to be true to what you think, believe and act. It has to come from inside and manifest outside. If you don't operate like that you're subject to the vagaries of your environment. You become what others expect you to be instead of what you want for yourself. There is a tendency to color our lives and our beliefs as "good" and "bad".  Really there is no such thing. Really there is no such thing as "evil". Within the matrix of relative values that allow specific things to be classified as tolerable or intolerable in the broad spectrum of human behavior context makes some things acceptable and some not. If you worry about being judged you're most likely aware that what you're doing is not a good thing to do. If, on the other hand, align your values, thoughts and actions then you will experience a lot less friction in your life. It is only when you live your truth that you feel that you have control over your life and can truly be responsible for your actions.   

The Present And The Future

How we move into the future from the present

We reach the future only when its call to us is stronger than our experience of the present. 

The future is calling us. Usually. We anticipate positive change and incremental improvement, over time. We believe that the future contains solutions to some of the problems we experience in the present. We believe that the future contains improvements we have not yet experienced but which will help us. There is a lot to unpack here. First of all there is the inevitability of this belief. We are moving from the present to the future whether we like it or not because entropy, which governs time, moves us that way. Try as we might we cannot hold back the redistribution of energy that is contained within a system. Houses degrade and need to be refurbished. Civilizations falter and fall unless more work is done to revitalize them. We age and get progressively dumber and physically weaker, unless we put in place strategies to slow down the process. All of this requires an investment in energy. Every investment in energy we undertake leads to actions which have specific intent, purpose and therefore meaning. Actions equal motivation. Motivation is the neurochemical state that takes us from a place of dissatisfaction to one of satisfaction. Unless we are motivated we don't act. Some motivation is, out of necessity, short-term. It arises out of reactions to the stimuli we receive from our immediate environment. But some motivation is long-term. It is strategic, purposeful and intentional. That motivation requires us to visualize the future we are heading towards and mentally experience its benefits which will lessen the current cognitive and psychological and maybe, even, physical burden we experience in the present. The moment we do that we feel the future call us. We begin to strategize the steps, the actions, that will take us there. If we fail to do that the future will still arrive, but it won't be the future we have visualized because we will have failed to visualize a future. We will then stumble into it in full reactive, panic mode and without any true control over our life.  

What happens when you only prioritize the present

If we always prioritize the present moment we get stuck in it. 

It's not always easy to understand what we should do and when, much less why. The present always makes demands upon us that feel pressing. We are always inclined to respond to what is pressing us. This presents us with a very interesting dilemma. While living in the moment is desirable because it allows us to allocate full resources to the task at hand, always living in the moment means that our life becomes a series of moments that have no common purpose and lead to no specific goal. To be able to prioritize we need to understand why we do the things we do, what goal are they leading us to? What is the purpose of that goal? What is the purpose of us? We need to have those answers in order to assess the validity of our actions and better understand the direction they take us to. To resist the pressure of the moment, to be able to put something off, to say "no" to a request, to defer taking some action we have to feel ourselves not just in the present but also in the future. It is only by seeing the future we avoid becoming trapped in a present we don't want and ending up in a future we didn't envision.