I use intention on a continual basis, setting intentions for my days as well as the bigger view of my future. Sometimes, when I set an intention for the way I want my day to unfold, it plays out so accurately that I can’t help but be surprised, even though I know that intention works. For example, a few weeks ago I was in Toronto and I had to travel from my hotel to a building in a complex that I wasn’t familiar with. Before I started my day, I wrote the following in my blog:
I have to go out now and navigate the transit system. I can’t tell you how easily I get lost. I choose to believe that it’s because I’m left-handed. My son thinks it’s because I’m missing a part of my brain—I don’t know how it was supposed to have gone missing. I have to take the subway, then a bus and then walk (WALK!) to some big complex where I have to find a building A and then wait to be escorted in. And I have to be there by a deadline. That deadline is 45 minutes from now so I better get going.
I am setting an intention—two intentions—for my day and I expect that it will all work out perfectly:
1. I am going to get 10 more Twitter followers to keep me on my goals to reach 150 by April 1.
2. I am going to have a smooth enjoyable journey to my destination. The subway will be on time and not crowded. I will get to sit down. The bus will arrive as soon as I get to the stop—but no sooner so I don’t have to run. I will know when to get off, either because I will ask the driver to tell me or I will have a miraculous revelation probably triggered by the bell-toned woman who announces each stop. I will get off the bus and—lo! there will be my colleagues right there heading to the same building so that I can just follow them.
Okay a third intention:
3. I will be smart and wide-awake all day and will learn a lot. And then I’ll go and buy that Fossil purse I saw.
It’s going to be a great day.
Obviously I believe that an intention has to be very specific, especially when related to getting somewhere that I’m not familiar with. My day did turn out to be great. Later that night, I wrote:
Update: Well did my intentions work? They worked to a miraculous degree—well, one is still playing out.
1. I have 7 new twitter followers so far today. The day is not over and I only need three more! (I ended up with 11 by the end of the day)
2. The subway was fine and I had a seat within two stops. Oh yeah, and the subway was there just as I reached the platform and I didn’t have to run. Then the bus arrived at the station just after I arrived so I didn’t have to run. Both of them did. First I went to the bus going eastbound and the driver directed me to the right bus. That one also arrived right after I got there and when I got on there was Bharthi, my colleague, who signalled me over and gave me a seat. That was very kind of her and because my knees are so sore from so much walking, I accepted. So she knew exactly where we were going and all was well. Then on the way back, all of us took the same bus and it was easy and fun to travel together.
3. I was wide awake and bright all day. I learned a lot and quite enjoyed it. On the way home I decided to go straight to the mall to get the purse. I had started thinking I would see if it came in different colors instead of getting the yellow one and I found one in a nice brown but it had goop on it. But it was just gum and I could easily get that off so I asked if I could get a price cut – $25 off the $115 Fossil purse.
So all in all, it was a great day….as intended.
Last week I was in Ottawa for the entire week, travelling by transit to and from a training program. Every day I intended that I would have a seat on the bus no matter how crowded it was, and every day I had a seat.
You can intend your day, intend the next hour, or intend an event. For example, if you are going into a meeting or a job interview, take a minute or two to intend it just the way you want it to happen. Start keeping track of how you think about and imagine upcoming events and you’ll be amazed at the power of intention.