Intentionality: It Comes From Our Core

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of getting exposed to and reading a commencement speech  given by the late, great David Foster Wallace (which you can read in full here).  It is really worth your time to take the time to read this.  In the speech David talks about how all people, himself included, experience the world in a profoundly self-centric way: You are reading this on your computer that is right in front of you, and you are drinking your coffee that you bought for yourself just how you like it, and that noise the fan makes is really annoying to you.  This is what he calls our ‘default setting,’ our natural orientation to experience the world primarily as it relates to us.

If intentionality means anything at all, it must mean doing the work of getting outside of our default setting.  So acting intentionally must mean doing things that are not driven by this innate, hardwired self-centeredness.

This tells us two things about intentionality: it’s self-denying, and it’s hard, because it requires that we overcome a deeply rooted, natural orientation to the world.  Let’s face it, it’s work.  So when you hear the term ‘intentional living,’ you can interpret it as ‘selfless, difficult living,’ or if someone writes about ‘intentional community,’ you can read that as ‘unselfish, challenging community.’

If our intentional actions are not driven by our default self-centeredness, what are they driven by?  The best answer I can come up with is: Our deepest values.  They are not driven by cultural consensus or family expectations, but that unique mix of core beliefs and commitments that make us individuals and define each of our distinct potential.  After all, intentionality is hard, so it’s going to take the deepest stuff we’ve got to see us through.

If you are interested in living more intentionally, spend some time on your core values, decide what it is you care about most, and then get ready for the difficult, selfless, often maddening work of fighting through your hardwired default setting.  I think you’ll find that it is some of the best work you have ever done.


About wmarsau

Most of the people who visit this blog already know me so it is kind of pointless to try to describe my life in this short little blurb. What is the purpose of this blog is the question. Over the course of this last year I have been exposed to some amazing people and have made personal development an important focus of my life. Being successful, not by the world's standards, but by God's has become my main focus. Mainly, I want to work to develop myself as a person who is kinder, reaches out to help those in need, and truly makes a difference in this world. To this end I am constantly reading and am exposed to so many differnet things along the way. These have been amazing and it is helping me grow so much. Then I started to think, "Why am I being so selfish?" You need to share with others these amazing things you are learning and being exposed to. That is where this blog comes into play. As I am reading and experiencing things that are truly amazing and life changing, I will be posting them on this blog. Obviously, I will not be able to post everything in it's entirity, but I will be summarizing them and letting you know the source of the article or book they come from so you can check them out later if you wish. I want this blog to be a place where you can go to often and be inspired and leave here with a smile on your face. I will be covering all kinds of different topics dealing with success and personal development. Topics like taking action, relationships, living to your potential, reinventing yourself, finances, leadership, presenting, goal setting, time management, etc. I will also be occasionally including topics on cooking, music, and gardening because they are special interests of mine. As a little disclaimer, I have given my life to the Lord and he is #1 in my life. I am his servant and everything I do in life is for his glory. With that being said, religion influences all areas of my life. There will be references to God in this blog because I can't seperate God from this or any other area of my life. I want you to know that if you do not believe in God, that is fine. That is your choice. This blog is open to anyone who wants to better their life. I will not be trying to influence or pressure anyone into having a relationship with the Lord from this site. Please don't feel uncomfortable. You can just read the portions of the blog that you wish to. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me. We will learn together to be the kind of people we were designed to be. Anyone can make a difference in this world, but it starts%
This entry was posted in Change, Decisions, Influence, Leadership, Leaving a Legacy, Prioritize, Purpose, Reinventing Yourself, Relationships, Thoughts/Mindset and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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