We learn at a very young age that life is full of choices and that each choice we make leads us down a path towards a particular outcome. If we all agree with that statement, then why do we keep making choices that don’t align with our passions, hopes and dreams? Why instead do we make choices that are not healthy for us both physically and mentally? The single best answer to these questions is that we make bad decisions because we have not taken the time to determine what our passions, hopes and dreams are. We are not clear and therefore we are not able to make conscious decisions to serve our purpose better.
I recently read a book by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood called “The Passion Test – The Effortless path to Discovering Your Life Purpose”. Their thoughts on discovering your passion was straight forward and simple and yet very profound. The book doesn’t only teach you how to discover what your passions are but more importantly it helps you build a framework for decision making to ensure you are traveling the path to fulfillment.
What struck me most, was a concept they shared about Intention, Attention and No Tension. Paraphrasing it means that if you consciously state what you want in life, then pay attention to actively make decisions in favour of what you want, it will lead to a more fulfilling life with less tension. It very much reminded me of that old adage – “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. Most importantly, it made me stop and think about how I was making decisions and how often I based decisions on others needs and expectations that were not supportive to where I wanted to go. Is it any wonder why I would feel unfulfilled in those moments?
Reflecting on the book, it challenges each of us with the following:
1. Take some time to clearly state what you want in life
Block off some uninterrupted time to determine what your passions are and want your ideal life looks like. Note that the clearer you are, the more likely you are to achieve. Unclear intentions will often lead to clouded results.
2. Define the markers of success
Once you know what you want your ideal life to look like, define the markers that indicate that you have been successful. For example, if your intent is to be an international professional dancer then maybe one of your markers for success is that you have competed at an international level for dance.
3. Don’t get hung up on the How
The most common reason that many of us don’t chase our dreams is because we don’t know how we are going to get there, so we don’t start. In the book it suggests that the how is not important but making decisions in favour of your intentions will eventually lead you there. Staying with the dancing example, if you were given a choice to either dance (practice your craft) or stay home and watch tv, make the choice in favour of your intention and dance.
4. Make conscious decisions in favour of your intentions
It’s really that simple. The more choices you make in favour of your intention the more likely you will be able to achieve and more opportunities will present themselves. Doors will open where you least expect it.
5. Review your intentions at least every 6 months
As you work toward creating your ideal life, your intentions and your markers will become clearer. Again, the clearer you are about what you are trying to achieve the more likely you will.
Each day I am actively working towards the “No Tension” stage and hope that I have inspired you to do the same!