Choose A Direction

753. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I was thinking this morning about the name of this blog. The Direction of Intention. Originally, Joe counseled me against the name. “It’s not a good,” he said. “You’ll have to explain it.” A few years ago it was a concept central to my work. This morning, as I walked across Seattle pondering how my life and work has changed, I came back to this phrase and wondered if it was still central. Here’s the original explanation:

Many people live their entire lives pushing against what they don’t want. Usually this is a sign that they’ve forgotten what they do want and can’t see what they desire to walk toward. Pushing against what you don’t want is called a negative direction of intention.

There’s a lot of fear behind a negative direction of intention. With fear comes eyes that see the world in black/white. Fear does not like color or variance. Fear prefers a limited palette and fewer choices. With such a restricted mindset it’s difficult to see the available choices. Eventually in a negative direction of intention everything looks like an obstacle or an enemy. Planting flags, claiming territory, stuffing your fingers in your ears or shouting down the voices of opposing points of view are all common aspects of a negative direction of intention. Staying in your comfort zone is a sure sign of a negative direction of intention.

Conversely, a positive direction of intention is defined by moving toward something, it is a creative action. It inspires a walk into the unknown. The path of passion is always through the unknown. Passion grows with engaging the unknown. Exploration, discovery, and experience are words describing a positive direction of intention. This is also called learning. Learning is never found in the known or the rote answer. Learning is never delivered. Learning is pursued.

A positive direction of intention requires embracing choice. Choice is varied and multicolored. A positive direction of intention is characterized by Both/And thinking. A positive direction of intention considers as valid opposing perspectives. In fact, opposing points of view are necessary. This too is called learning. Opposing points of view qualify as the unknown. Without them, people are trapped in perpetual agreement. Innovation needs a crossroads. Stepping into other peoples’ shoes pops open new horizons. This is sometimes called empathy. It is called perspective. It requires a capacity to say, “I don’t know.”

The concept of the direction of intention remains central although I have a simpler language now. I ask clearer questions. Are you orienting according to the answer or the question? Are you orienting according to what you get or what you bring? Are you nailed safely to the dock or on an adventure?

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