The quest for Intentional Living
Intentional living is broadly defined as a lifestyle based on a conscious attempt to live according to our own values and beliefs. We could argue that any mature adult is already living in such a manner, and there is nothing new about it. However, without the risk of sounding philosophical, I think it is evident how traditions, social norms, family interactions, formal education and intrusive marketing frame our mindsets and design our habits. It all happens in such a “natural” manner that we rarely question “life as we know it”. To a certain extent, we are a by-product of the society we live in (country, city, community, family), the education we receive, the people we most interact with.
It is all logical and functional, as long as we are aware. After all, it is what is expected from us with major age: become independent and responsible adults, be ready to take full responsibility and direction of our own life (vote, work, etc.).
However, I believe it is everyone’s experience that such awareness shift and maturity does not happen based on a single age factor (i.e. the major age). We are not even required to choose one of Morpheus’s pills (Matrix movie, 1999):
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more”.
No, maturity and value-based intentional living is an ongoing process; it is more related to the level of challenges we embrace, the number of decisions and actions we take in our lives, how much we question our given conventions, how much we test our limits and spend time outside our comfort zone while learning about ourselves. Our own maturity and identity are strongly related to a process of individual learning, un-learning and re-learning.
It implies finding our purpose, becoming who we are, being ready to take the road less travelled. All in all, Intentional living requires:
- to be aware of our true fundamental beliefs and
- to be willing to make an effort to make our behaviour reflect these beliefs. Such changes are drastic; other times are a small series of baby steps adjustments.
According to the writer Joshua Becker such steps can be summarized as:
- Realise that life is made of choices
- Attitudes and decisions do not have to be determined by your past but can be chosen
- You are surrounded by a given culture that is flowing. You can determine its direction and see if you are ok with it or not. Do you choose to swim or go with the flow?
- Examine yourself. Know who you are and what you want to do and contribute to life
- Give time and energy to your values and passions
Intentional living is clearly a journey of personal development. Yet, it also inter-relate on how we efficiently, sustainably and consciously earn, spend and invest. The correct alignment between our value-based lifestyle and our personal finance and investment decisions will secure the most natural and fruitful path to financial independence and intentional living.
Sweat Your Assets!