After reaching the intro, an example of living intentionally is in order.
Meet Bob. Bob is a fictitious character but is reminiscent of the author and an amalgamation of many people that he has spoken with. So many people want to improve their lives but don’t know how. This stuff isn’t taught in schools or in the greater society. But it is possible.
There is an unlimited way to live intentionally. This is how Bob did it. You don’t need to follow the framework taught on this website or any other to do it. We all evolve naturally. But following a framework can make it easier to contextualize and make better progress faster. The point is if you’re not happy with your situation, there is always way to improve it. And now, let’s hear Bob’s story. As you hear him, see if you can relate to him as he makes his journey to living intentionally.
Down and Out
Meet Bob. Bob is 35 years old and works in an office as an operations manager. He enjoys his work and he’s liked by management and co-workers. Bob had really enjoyed his life until recently. A couple things are bothering him lately. He doesn’t like that he’s still single. He’s had girlfriends over the years but has never married. He would like to. He’s overweight by about 50 pounds. He feels that it’s making him unattractive and his doctor says he needs to lose the weight for his health’s sake. He’s noticed that he’s comfortable interacting with co-workers when talking about work but becomes anxious when making small talk or when the conversation turns more personal. He feels really down on himself and is becoming bitter, resentful, depressed and hopeless. Billions of people live like this every day.
The Initial Spark
Life goes on like this for a couple months and then Bob gets sick and tired of being sick and tired. He begins the first part of his journey to living intentionally by starting the fire within himself to change, improve and evolve. That’s the spark that starts the fire of growth.
Bob starts thinking about how to improve. He relies mostly on just what he thinks makes sense. He hits the gym with friends once or twice but the excitement and motivation die down and he stops going. Bob also packs a healthy lunch once or twice but it’s more convenient to just buy lunch (although also much unhealthier!) and he falls back to his old ways. He notices his social anxiety more but doesn’t know how to fix it and so just avoids small talk which reduces his anxiety but increases his bitterness and depression. Hundreds of millions of people get to this point.
The Second Attempt
More months go by. Bob wants to start improving himself again but takes it more serious this time around. He knows he has a big ball of issues that needs untangled – weight, social anxiety, loneliness and depression – and starts thinking through where to start. He decides he’ll see a therapist to see if that will help.
Bob had never been to a therapist before and so doesn’t know what to expect. He thinks the therapist can just tell him what is “wrong” with him and what to do to “fix” it. Bob is in for a rude awakening! The therapist is clear up front that Bob is going to be doing most of the work and the therapist will be there to help and guide him. It takes a couple weeks of Bob talking through his upbringing and how he currently sees the world for a clearer picture of what’s going on to emerge.
Bob’s dad was tough on him when he was young. His dad would sternly correct Bob in front of others, even out in public. But Bob felt that his dad just wanted him to succeed and was pushing him the only way he knew how. Bob felt self-conscious in public, always with his dad correcting him in the back of his mind. He ate for comfort and started putting on the weight. Maybe his dad’s pushing did Bob some good though because he discovered that he didn’t have social anxiety when he was discussing something he knew well so he focused on his work and eventually became the operations manager that he is today.
After working with the therapist for a couple months, Bob feels like he has a good picture of what is going on now. He and his therapist develop some good next steps for Bob to start doing – lean into social interactions to help with his anxiety, get on a better diet and start working out. He now knows what his goals and challenges are.
Bob is excited and feels hopeful for the first time in a long time. The only thing that isn’t present is long-term motivation and determination. Because of that, Bob’s attempts at fixing the issues are short-lived. He stops going to the therapist and life gets back to how it was. Tens of millions of people get to this point.
More months go by. Bob is doing some paperwork at the end of his shift at work. He looks around and in slow motion, everything comes into focus. He sees a couple co-workers laughing and making idle chit-chat about their weekend plans. Bob’s social anxiety rises. He looks to another area and sees a man speaking with an attractive woman, the woman nodding her head and playing with her hair. Bob’s loneliness rises. Bob looks at the leftover pizza that he’s eating for lunch and feels disgusted by it. Something snaps inside of him. A wave of positive, forwarding moving energy comes over him while he also experiences a deep, calm “knowing”. Bob knows what he needs to do. He simply knows what needs done and, damn it, he’s going to do it no matter what. He throws his pizza away and goes home.
The Master Key
Driving home, he thinks on where he should start. He knows it won’t be necessarily easy, and hell, he doesn’t even know exactly what to do. But, he’s been to the therapist. He knows his problems and what to tackle. Bob then discovers the master key. He realizes that after defining your goals and determining the challenges stopping you from reaching them, you then need to ultimately develop the motivation and determination to get it done and that is simply through by Just. Doing. It (“Just Do It” – Nike has it right!) Just start. Without knowing exactly what to do. Just starting in and of itself starts building momentum, motivation and determination inside of you which helps with the next challenging aspect after starting, which is sticking with it.
Starting that night, Bob records everything he needs to work on in a notebook and starts researching online how to do it. He devours many websites, YouTube videos and books about working out, losing weight, packing healthy lunches, leaning into social interactions when you have anxiety and many related topics.
Bob doesn’t realize it, but he’s naturally training his subconscious to focus on all of these positive things and he’s also putting out into the universe what he wants by visualizing how he wants things to be, which will help manifest them into reality. But, most importantly, he starts doing everything and not just reading about them. He tells himself that he’s going to give it his all for thirty days to see where it lands him. He packs a healthy lunch every day for work, he says “no thank you” to Friday donuts, he makes sure to purposely make small talk when getting his coffee at work throughout the day to push into his social anxiety.
Bob finds the process curious. The individual aspects of it is actually not too bad for him and actually kind of fun and exciting – learning what healthy foods to eat, finding exercises that he likes enough to stick with, practicing what works and doesn’t work during small talk. The hardest part is doing it all every day. No matter what. No matter if he “feels” like it or doesn’t “have the time”. It’s work and work is work.
But Bob finds a momentum is building. He does great on the first day – even though it’s difficult and frustrating (hey, it’s tough eating salad instead of pizza!). But then he realizes that he did it – he had a great first day of a new way of living! That spurs him on to do it again the next day. And the next day and the next day. Before he knows it, the thirty days have passed. Bob gets on the scale and discovers that he’s lost ten pounds! He jumps for joy – which feels easier with a little less weight! He also takes stock of the last thirty days.
At first, he didn’t think much changed. But then he realizes of all the little improvements over the last thirty days that have added up. The multiple times co-workers asked if he wanted to hang out after work while small talking at the water cooler – definitely a new experience for him. How he was able to walk up the steps at work faster and faster without losing his breath. How he gained confidence from losing weight and started naturally making eye contact with everyone – even women that he found attractive! You rarely realize how far you’ve come until you look back to see where you came from. He decides to continue doing all the changes since he’s seen real progress. Millions of people get to this point.
Comes Full Circle
And now, a year later, Bob tells this story to a young co-worker who is sitting next to him at a company-sponsored after-hours event. This was in reply to the co-worker asking Bob earnestly while leaning into him, barely above a whisper, “Bob, how did you do it? The weight loss and getting more confidence. I have some stuff I need to fix too.”
The young man can’t believe Bob is the same person that he describes in the story. The Bob the young man sees is completely different now. He’s at a healthy weight and makes confident but kind eye contact as he strikes up conversation with everyone he comes in contact with. He seems calm and centered, and exudes compassion and respect. Bob also introduces the young man to Kelly, Bob’s funny and beautiful girlfriend of ten months. Only a small portion of the world’s population ever gets to this point.
In saying that “billions” or “millions” of people get to a certain point along the path isn’t to pass judgement on them or to attempt to make you feel special if you progress beyond them. Instead, it’s to say that you may be struggling with issues but are in good company and to spur you on to show that you can do it – millions of people have.
The road to living an intentional life is difficult but rewarding. It’s worth it. And it’s doable. It can be messy, as you bumble, stumble and fumble your way down the path. No one said dealing with depression, anxiety, OCD, perfectionism or a hundred other things is easy. But ultimately, it comes down to defining your goals, determining the challenges that are stopping you from reaching them and putting in the hard work long enough through motivation and determination to get it done. The inner growth you go through helps you reach your goals which helps you with inner growth and the cycle continues. You can do it!
Define your goals, determine your challenges, discover ways to overcome them. Work on yourself daily and give it your all for thirty days and see where you end up. You just might be pleasantly surprised.