I believe it is important to be intentional in every aspect of life. There are at least a couple of Bible scriptures that deal with this. They teach us that what differentiate us from animals is that we are able to reason- to be intentional about our decisions.
2 Peter 2:12 says, “But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.”
And again in Jude 1:10, “Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct–as irrational animals do–will destroy them.”
We need to use this difference to our advantage!
Even if you do not find the Bible trustworthy or believable, there is still plenty of scientific evidence that points toward us human folk being different than animals. Interestingly, one is that we are the only species known to be able to blush, according to Charles Q. Choi, contributor to livescience.com. This theoretically holds us more accountable and makes us more likely to be honest to each other. However, the main difference most scientists agree on is our superior brains- we can use them to reason to make decisions. In other words, we can be intentional about things- or everything, it’s your choice- and luckily, instinct is not the only tool available to us to make our ways through life.
Animals, on the other hand, cannot be intentional or reason. They live to eat, then to defecate, and then to sleep. Of course, they play and reproduce, and all that other fun stuff, but it is all instinctual to them. Sure, some species are very complicated, and some individual animals are super smart, but have any of them advanced into a complex civilization with buildings, cars, and jobs? No, they haven’t, because they aren’t able to. Only we are! We are called to do something with our lives, or if you don’t believe in the higher calling to do something, then, at the very least, we are ABLE to do something more with our lives- just like the people who advanced society, invented cars, and built the buildings and cities in the first place.
Need another reason to be more intentional in everyday life? According to Dr. Sonja Lyubornsky, a psychologist at the University of California Riverside, there are 3 components to happiness. Fifty percent is a genetically predetermined happiness set point, meaning you will ultimately end up at around the same happiness level no matter what- it is uncontrollable to you. Another 10 percent is comprised of the things around you: i.e. the things you own. But, the research also warns that you adjust to new toys very quickly, so the happiness you can get from buying new things wares off very quickly.
So, what’s the remaining 40% you may be asking, if you are a mathematical whiz, and can we actually do something to affect it? Or is it just plain worthless to keep pursuing happiness? Well, we are in luck: 40% of your happiness is being intentional! There are specific, intentional things we can do to increase our happiness quotient! Woo hoo! That’s reason to celebrate right there!
Dr. Lyubornsky suggested these tactics below to help you achieve more happiness:
- Doing random acts of kindness for others.
- Expressing gratitude- Have a list of things you are grateful for, and be diligent about thanking people verbally and/or with thank you cards.
- Being optimistic- Don’t always assume the worst, whether it’s about people or about any outcome.
- Thinking about and processing life events- in a journal or just via thinking, whatever you prefer.
These all help us find happiness. But, it’s up to us to be intentional to find out what our specific calling or ability is that we are meant to do for a living. If you’re feeling inspired to do just that, but need help with pinpointing where you need to go from here, just start by answering: What have you always loved? What is important to you? What are you passionate about? What is your unique talent? When you figure these things out, also consider your unique personality to figure out what could be the best fit for you. It’s definitely not meant to be comprehensive, just a quick jump start to help get your juices flowing.
If you have found what you are meant to do and it took a lot of soul searching, as in, it wasn’t just obvious to you since you were born, I’d love to hear your story! How are you achieving what you were meant to accomplish?