Set Yourself Up for Success

IMG_3793Creating happiness is an inside job. For those of us who were not born with the smiley face imprinted on our foreheads, a little effort is required. A focus on creating more happiness in our lives begins with desire and intention. If you want happiness (or joy, or compassion, or serenity etc.) you can get more of it by regularly practicing some of the tools I share here with you.

One of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal for creating what you want in life is the power of intention. Intention is a force of nature. Carlos Castaneda once said “In the universe there is an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.”

I believe this to be true and in addition to the mystical connections of the force, there is the practical application and use of a potent part of our own brain. The human brain is equipped with a fascinating function called the Reticular Activating System (let’s call it the RAS for short). It’s part of our primal brain and works in the background 24 hours a day and functions as a filter for sorting through our experiences.

Once the RAS gets activated it kicks into action and starts scanning the environment to bring us evidence. For example, from the time my daughter informed me that my first privilege as “Nana JoAnna” would be to purchase a suitable stroller for my granddaughter, my RAS kicked into action. Everywhere I went it seemed I started seeing strollers – big ones, small ones, colorful ones, dark ones, ones with car seats, ones shaped like umbrellas, one more complicated than the next. As I walked through airports I found myself following parents pushing strollers and often stopped them to ask questions about their “travel-ability” and sturdiness. Did they fold easily? Did they take the baby through toddlerhood? Equipped with a list of traveling parent approved strollers, I got a head start on the shopping.

The RAS is a tremendously useful device that has played a large role in our evolution and survival. (You look for the lions and I’ll watch out for the tigers, okay?)

Once activated your RAS works like an Internet search engine; your thoughts, along with the questions you ask yourself or that people ask of you, are the ‘search words’ that kick it into gear and tell it what to look for and focus on.

When you set an intention at the beginning of the day, you give your RAS direction and tell your brain what to look for and how to direct you to it. When you awaken in the morning and imprint the idea, “Today I intend to look at the world through positive eyes” or “Today I intend to look for and find things to appreciate” or “Today I intend to radiate positivity,” you are giving your brain a direct command it can follow.

Setting intention helps focus your mind. It sets you up for success.

 Show up with intention and conviction every day.

  • Use the power of Intention to state what you choose.
  • Write it down/ say it out loud.
  • Focus on those intentions through the day.
  • When you aren’t focusing on them, use “How?” and “What?” questions to get back.

I Intend ______________________________

I Intend ______________________________

I Intend ______________________________

The act of writing and speaking your intention out loud imprints it on your senses and makes it very real.  Revisiting your intention throughout the day helps you stay focused on creating more of the good stuff.  Asking yourself “How can I find more ways to radiate positivity today? (Add your intention here) or “What might I do to…(add your intention here)” asks the brain to seek answers.

Use the power of intention to set yourself up for success. Choose your attitude early in the day, and remind yourself of it frequently.

What you focus on expands. What you think about you bring about.

If some of these intentions seem too lofty to you, or too far for you to stretch, feel free to start small (“Today I will smile at 5 people.”) Practice helps you progress.



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