Here are three distinct truths you already know:
- Truth one: We are facing unprecedented generational challenges.
- Truth two: All actions have intent. All thoughts have an origin. What we do has consequences.
- Truth three: For most of us life is a series of actions designed to hide, deny and mitigate the three parts of Truth two.
None of us want to be “The Chosen One” who steps up to take responsibility not just for their own actions but also for the actions of those around them. We don’t want to really rally to a cause, gather round a banner and spend our life battling to right wrongs which we don’t see as our job to right.
Rightly so. Yet, here we are. The challenges we face are there because everyone else before us also thought and acted as we do. A can, can be kicked down the road for only as long as we have road to kick it down on. The consensus is that we are fast running out of road.
Our democracies are challenged because we have failed to find a way to make them relevant to everyone. Our climate is against us because we’ve ignored warnings that told us this would happen. We are still fighting wars because we are still using models of countries and nationhood that no longer serve us. At every point of the compass we're experiencing deep problems that can be ascribed to systemic failures of cooperation.
It’s true that it’s still not our job to directly address any of this. All of it, however, is our job to address indirectly. Being intentional, employing intentionality as our guide we can, collectively, achieve what none of us can do individually.
Be Inspired. Change Perspective.
Being intentional is a movement as much as an idea. It is a way of life as much as it is a means through which we can save our world. Because it emerges through small acts, subtle shifts in perception and mindset, it can be difficult to see, much less to fully experience. On this page I document the various aspects of it, large and small, important and somewhat whimsical at times, as they emerge globally through thoughts, actions, observations and decisions. I scour news articles, news stories, developing trends and thoughtful articles to find the threads you need to connect in your own life, your own intentional journey. This then makes this page a resource of information carefully curated to give you a broad and yet deep perspective of an emerging world united by the "intentional" thread. Each curated story links to its original source so you can go deeper into the details. Scan this page to find out what's new and relevant to you. Then dive deeper. Bookmark it and come to it often for updates that will help you shape your world view.
Be An Intentional Citizen
“Just what are we to do, as individuals, when faced with crises so overwhelming that our minds reel at the thought of the varied, frightening consequences?” That is the question that this column begins with. It only becomes more hard-hitting from there. In times of crisis, the only answer we truly have, is each other. And that answer cuts through and flies above any and all traditions, institutions and forms of government.
It is only through collective action taken in small but conscious ways that we can direct our values, vision and priorities from inside ourselves to the world at large. And that direction, collectively again, makes us directly responsible for the world we live in and each other.
This is a deeply thought-provoking and thoughtful column about the obligations we each have as citizens of countries on this planet and the responsibility we have to each other as human beings living on the same planet.
From The TYEE
The Intentional Pause Project Helps Women Redesign Their Lives
“The Intentional Pause Project is a media, product, and experience platform helping women to embrace pausing as a powerful way forward to achieving their dreams.” But, in truth, it is also so much more than that. The idea came about as the solution to a problem.
The problem? Why highly ambitious, skilled and innovative women in the corporate world were being turned off by their current jobs. It is logical that when you run a race there is little time for re-appraisal of goals, priorities and commitments that would lead to a different choice and change. You can’t, for instance, suddenly stop mid-race and say “I wish I’d taken up sailing instead”. That has to come after. But in the metaphorical race that is the modern workplace after is never. The race is always on and the pressure just keeps piling up.
This is where “The Intentional Pause Project” comes in. An intentional pause is exactly that: you make a conscious choice to stop what you are doing, no matter how good you may be at it and reconsider things in case you truly want to jump ship and start doing something different.
Many people do exactly that.
Words, their Meaning, Intentional Conversations and the Job of a Nourishing Leader
A successful leader needs many tools in their toolkit. Authenticity, empathy, restraint, vision, ambition and, as it turns out, intentionality. Holding intentional conversations with those you lead, as opposed to conversations that are being necessitated by the demands of work in the workplace, sets you apart. But it isn’t easy.
Being intentional requires you to care, be empathetic, be consistent and to know yourself. Self-awareness and self-knowledge are difficult tasks for anyone. Especially those in a position of leadership who experience additional, daily pressures and challenges.
Yet, as research shows, holding these conversations leads to greater employee engagement and a deeper sense of bonding in a company which, in turn, provide tangible performance-related results.
From People Matters
Intentional Forms: An Artist’s Exploration of Meaning
If a wooden form can be shaped by an artist to take any shape why does it end up taking a particular shape? This is more than an abstract form of sophistry. The answer to the question reveals many things, including the artist’s intentions, beliefs, spirit, approach to their craft and, yes, talent.
The “Intentional Forms” wood art exhibit by artists, Robyn Horn and Sandra Sell does exactly that. Art is designed to make us think. It is information about the world and our place in it densely codified in abstract form. When we think about its representational value we also begin to realize its intrinsic qualities.
From The Sentinel-Record
Peacemaking needs to be intentional
Perhaps one of the hardest intentional actions one can undertake is to deliberately practise nonviolence in the face of provocation. We know that Gandhi successfully used to bring about India’s independence from the British Empire. Martin Luther King codified it into specific steps designed to preserve the values of the individual and bring about a connection with an adversary.
In this personal essay Ann Keeler Evans details her own personal struggle to actively be a nonviolent person as an intentional response. It is fascinating because it raises specific questions about how we process personal provocations and what we then are prepared to do next.
From The Daily Item
An Intentional Choice In Obscure Building Ordinance Reveals Deep Thought
An obscure building ordinance from 1845 reveals how intentional actions reflect decisions that are based on a deep sense of responsibility and values. City planners in the city of Savannah, Georgia, USA, took it upon themselves to protect present and future citizens from mishaps such as fires. Aware of how the city environment, its building materials and layout could either aid or hinder a fire that would result in huge material damage and potential loss of human life, they put in place building regulations that to this day make deep sense.
What this shows is that throughout history individuals are faced with choices that will leave a lasting impact. Understanding that is the first step to realizing that no decision occurs in a vacuum. No choice is without responsibility. No action is without consequences.
What is sad, perhaps, is that this stands out so much in our day, when public officials will say anything and do anything to simply retain their position, clinging to power without responsibility, refusing to accept or actively work to avoid, the consequences of their actions.
Freelance Writer Learns How Intentional Actions Need Priorities And Boundaries
“I completely forgot that when we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else.” Joanna Zaremba’s unflinchingly honest account of what happens when we make plans without taking life into account is a wake-up call to anyone who thinks the answer to work is to just work harder and to get through life we need to burn the candle at both ends.
By being selective we learn to be precise. Precision allows us to prioritize. Prioritization leads to placing value on what we do because it helps us achieve our long-term goals. Life has no re-runs. Time is, for us, strictly a one-way street. Read her account and see what mistakes of hers you replicate in your own life pattern.
‘We have to be intentional:’ Yellow Tea Rose Foundation Inc. from Black sorority addresses poverty, education, health in Rochester
“Sigma Gamma Rho is one of the original “Divine Nine,” a group of centuries-old Black sororities and fraternities.” In a host of community-based and community-centered activities in Rochester, alumni members explain what it means being “intentional” in the way they focus their activities and being “intentional” in the effects their programs are having.
This is not just activism 101 or philanthropy for the sake of some social capital. This is the new breed of citizen that’s emerging as the pandemic ebbs who realize that community-based work creates a solid foundation whose effects will reach far into the future.
Intentional actions targeted at specific groups whose need is urgent produce impactful social effect, not just in the present but also for generations to come.
Texas Senate Opens Redistricting Debate With Proposed Map One Senator Labels ‘Intentional Discrimination’
It’s worth recalling that intentional actions are not always aimed at producing outcomes that are good for society at large. Nonetheless they are actions that have been taken consciously in order to reach an outcome that best serves those who are behind them.
Self-serving intentional behavior is always worthy of examination, not least because it reveals what a part of our society deems important, what they fear and how they think the world should be.
This is a long, technical article that explains some of the mechanics behind redistricting and it reveals the driving force behind such efforts. This is what also makes it an important one. All actions have consequences. Intentional discrimination does too. Such efforts don’t just deliver power to the political party that can get the most out of the redistricting. They deliver lasting inequality. They erode community values. They destroy the worth of the individual by blatantly saying: “you’re worth less because you’re different”.
Keeping an eye on such efforts and the outcomes makes better able to resist similar attempts that happen closer to home.
From The Texas Tribune
Stanislaus 2030 proposal stresses importance of designing an ‘intentional’ economy
What does an “intentional economy” look like? For one it appears to be an economy that is focused on delivering long-lasting value that looks beyond the cost of its initial investment. It also appears to be based around building and expanding community ties and community values.
In what appears to be a common thread with many of the articles on intentional activities around the world community-based activities appear to deliver some of the best results as we struggle with the uncertainties of tomorrow.
Stanislaus County in California, USA, is the perfect example of a community that is engaged with its present which makes it capable of wrestling for its future. Community-based activities, presentations, thoughts and actions, never shy away from the reality of their current situation. They can then best position themselves to reach the future they seek.
From The Modesto Bee
The Intentional Use Of Fire Could Save Trees From Burning
“Experts say prescribed burns, also known as controlled burns, are becoming increasingly important as California faces a new breed of hotter, faster and more frequent wildfires. The intentional use of fire on the landscape can help clear away dried vegetation that enables blazes to quickly get out of control.”
In what perhaps is the best real-life example on the principle of intentionality, using fire to fight fire requires an understanding of objectives, a grasp of the dynamics of uncontrolled versus controlled fire and the ability to link responsibility, actions and projected outcomes.
This real-life example can be taken away from the giant sequoias that are the focus of this effort, and applied to both business and life. Getting rid of toxic people from around you, for instance, leads to a much more streamlined, manageable day-to-day life and better enables you to resist unforeseen challenges. Clearing a business from bad customers or languishing products that only drain the bottom line is another example of this sort of action.
From the LA Times
Intentional Action Is Key To Shifting The Mindset Around the New Nature of Work
“We really have to admit to ourselves that we don't know what this is going to look like, that we're still dealing with the ground shifting under our feet every day, and and that we've forgotten even what it means to be happy at work… I think many of us are learning to be okay about saying that we don't know what we don't know.. As leaders, we were taught to have all the answers. We develop 'followership' by always telling people where we're going next. And the fact of the matter is that most of us don't know where we're going next. We know that we are in a place now where we solve for today and we transform for tomorrow.”
In a brutally honest interview Daisy Auger-Dominguez, Chief People Officer at Vice Media Group, and Hamet Watt, CEO and founder of Share Ventures open up on where companies currently fall short as the culture of work we knew undergoes a transformation that will leave a lasting impact on it.
Being intentional in your actions is never easy, but it is key to taking control of your life. The entire struggle between work that companies want to ground in presenteeism as a performative measure instead of finding new ways to measure productivity, and workers that want to work from home, at least part of the time, lies in the sense of control the former want to exert over the latter and the latter want to exert over their own life.
Filtering The Noise Of The World Leads To Intentional Direction Of Attention
“If we let it, this world will fill every moment of every day with vanity and meaningless noise. A little meaningless noise isn’t a bad thing. Social media is a fantastic tool for staying connected with people across long distances, and some days the best thing we can do for ourselves is to lose our minds in a TV show or a music playlist for a few hours. But if we’ll let it, all this background noise can highjack our lives and fill our minds with worthless things. Not evil things necessarily, just things that are worth less.”
In this opinion piece an ordained minister examines how the world we live in has become ‘noisier’ with us barely noticing it because we have become accustomed to it. This however is not without its own issues. Filtering the ‘noise’ in order to get the signal requires specific use of attention. Directed attention requires values and a sense of direction. We need, in other words to truly become more intentional.
From The News Herald
Culture of intentional inclusivity needs to be fostered in marketing
“Marketers are talking and thinking about diversity and inclusion (D&I) far more these days. Last Thursday the Marketing Society hosted the first of its autumn webinars on the subject.”
When big guns from some of the world’s largest firms are being asked to debate inclusion and diversity you know that we are getting to the point where intentional action is the only pathway that can add true meaning to what happens in the corporate workplace.
This is a detailed report from a meeting that acts as a weathervane for the marketing industry and agencies at large. The fact that this conversation is taking place right now is indicative of the fact that intentionality is finding its way as a core skill into professional practice and, inevitably, our life.
From The Irish Times
Ken Denman: 'Confidence comes with preparation'
"Even with preparation, most of us battle the 'imposter syndrome' at times," Denman said. "This is especially true if you are one of the 'few in the room,' whatever your background."
Boards have become more intentional in their role of governance — with much less tolerance for lip service on key issues. Talking about preparation for those who sit on boards or run businesses Ken Denman references the importance of preparation in creating the kind of confidence that lends leadership authority. Incidentally, “Intentional” has been chosen by Book Authority as the leading new confidence book of 2021.
From the Puget Sound Business Journal
I was initially afraid to take the Covid vaccine, but losses changed my mind
“There must be intentional reconciliation efforts between our government, systems of care and communities of color where true acknowledgment of grotesque malpractice is coupled with intentional work to repair, restore and, in many cases, gain trust on all sides.”
This doctor’s opinion piece about the actions taken concerning the Covid vaccine is important in the way she phrases what has to happen in order for things to work, better. Working on ‘autopilot’ as a system of government, an institution and, even, an individual is sufficient only as long as things remain relatively stable and fairly static. Whenever we face tumultuous change we have to behave differently. Intentional actions, as she suggests, acknowledge the magnitude of the problem and take responsibility for its solution.
From the Opinion Column of Jacksonville.com
Dogs Can Tell If You Meant To Do Something Bad
“Previous studies have released that dogs can the difference between happy and angry faces. And, are able to process language in a very similar way humans do, by the volume, and the emotional tone and intonation, of the messages.”
A landmark study has now shown that dogs can distinguish between intentional and unintentional actions even when the resulting outcome in both instances is the same. There is a lot of unnoticed, nuanced, complexity in the interactions between dogs and humans. A lot of the times dog owners either fail to notice this complexity because it is subtly or, more often, they each take the level of the interaction for granted.
The importance of this latest study is not just in documenting the ability of dogs to understand and contextualize the intent of an action but also in establishing that any kind of interaction between sentient organisms must include behavior that is guided by decision-making rather than instinct.
From the Inside Edition
Bruce, Injured Kea, Displays Intentional Use of Tools
“Kea do not regularly display tool use in the wild, so to have an individual innovate tool use in response to his disability shows great flexibility in their intelligence. They’re able to adapt and flexibly solve new problems as they emerge,”
By studying and better understanding animal behavior we gain glimpses into our own. We are neither as unique as we think we are, nor as smart. In this particular, documented case, an injured Kea overcame its life-threatening disability through the use of tools.
In exhibiting such complex, intentional, behavior the Kea has become the subject of a much greater discussion on animal’s ability to reason in a complex fashion. A better understanding of such abilities makes it easier to make policy decisions that impact wild life and take the steps necessary to fashion a world where the casual killing of animals is outlawed.
From the Sunlive newspaper website.