How Intentionality Can Change Your Life

Mr. Money Mustache, Dave Ramsey and The Minimalists walk into a bar… what do they all have in common? They are all living happy, meaningful, and fulfilled lives. They have a passion for sharing their messages and helping others. But one word combines all the common themes between these people.

INTENTIONALITY

The power of intentionality, is nothing short of amazing. In my opinion it is the key to happiness. You can live an intentional life focused on your core values and beliefs and be happy.

You can also choose to see everything as negative, an obstacle, nothing ever going your way and put yourself into a negative mindset with limiting beliefs. (Again my opinion,) A surefire way to remain in a cycle of unhappiness, lack of fulfillment, and most likely depression. There is always something in your life you can find to be happy about and always something you can find to be sad about. Your mindset is at your control.

THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO INTENTIONALITY

You most likely have an idea of your core values and beliefs. This post is not about that. It’s about pushing forward to live an intentional life that aligns with your core value and beliefs.

Do you choose whether to let your limiting beliefs decide that nothing ever goes right for you, or are you going to live the life you want, on your terms? Are you ready to follow me “down the rabbit hole?”

DOES HARD WORK STILL PAY OFF IN PRESENT?

Of course it does. But not without intention. You can pick up a pile of wood and move it from one area to another. But that pile of wood does not heat your home if you just move the pile. You have to put the wood in the fire to heat the house (using a wood burning stove in this scenario). Action without intention is wasted action.

How does this apply to a working career? Well, do you know what the rat race is? Are you stuck on the hamster wheel? Living paycheck to paycheck, working to live rather than living to work? Then you may be working without intention and just moving that wood pile instead of throwing it in the fire.

There is a law of diminishing returns however. If you work so hard that your performance slips and you start feeling burnout, then you may not be focusing your intent in the right place, or even at all. Intentionality is a hell of a drug.

PUTTING INTENTIONALITY TO WORK (THE SIDE HUSTLE)

Formerly known as a 2nd part-time or full time job, a side hustle is a skill, service, or sale used outside of your primary means of making income. In simple terms, if you normally work a “9-5” career, a part-time job is to pay for a car or other items (or debts, or for savings, etc.) Intentionality is often a great motivator for the side hustle and to delay gratification.

DELAYING GRATIFICATION AND INTENTIONALITY

The teenager paying for his first car, the couple saving for their first house, the 30 year old tired of that student loan that’s been dragging around for almost 10 years. Using money from a side hustle to delay gratification, is a tool for long-term success. As Dave Ramsey says, he “doesn’t sell get rich quick microwaves, he sells get rich slow crockpots.”

COMMUNITIES OF INTENTIONAL LIVING

We’ve discussed your core values and beliefs, delayed gratification, and hard work with intentionality. Now where are how do you fit in the “big picture”? Well there are a couple of communities this article will discuss. (There are many more, these are just ones I feel familiar with and/or am a part of. I suggest researching more and finding communities that you feel comfortable with align with your values.)

Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE, FI/RE):

The Financial Independence/Retire Early community sets me ablaze (pun intended). Financial Independence is “the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities. (Wikipedia)

Talk about intentionality. These guys and gals are intentional with a capital I. They know what they want, how to get it, and are just plain genius. Those looking to becoming financially independent and/or retire early are action-oriented, amazing people. The FI/RE community has learned how to “game the system” (legally and morally) in every way. They lead some amazing and fulfilled lives and teach anyone how to jump off the hamster wheel and into an adventure.

If you’re looking for action packed tips on how get out of debt, save money, optimize your retirement savings, and be more than set in retirement I suggest a few of the links below:

 

Scott Alan Turner talks about FI/RE on the Financial Rockstar Podcast

The Pillars of Financial Independence 

Zero to Hero: Introduction to Mr. Money Mustache 

MINIMALISM

Living deliberately with less.

“Imagine a life with less; less stuff, less clutter, less stress, and debt, and discontent. A life with fewer distractions. Now imagine a life with more, more time, more meaningful relationships, more growth and contribution and contentment.”

“I’m constantly asking, is this adding value to my life?” Ryan Nicodemus – The Minimalists

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with compulsion. The problem was compulsory consumption. Buying stuff because that’s what you’re supposed to do, what advertising tells you to do.” Joshua Fields Millburn – The Minimalists

 

Minimalism (according to Joshua) is not a radical lifestyle. He states that he and Ryan are out to share a recipe. Take a few “ingredients” and see if they are helpful. He claims not to trying to “convert” people to minimalism, but to make an impact on their life with his message.  

“Minimalism was going to look the way we wanted it to look.” Joshua Becker, Author – Clutterfree with Kids

When you talk about consuming, people think that you’re trying to take something away from them. But the truth of the matter is that I think what this movement is really about is questing after a life that’s good for ourselves and good for the people around us.” Colin Beavan, Author – No Impact Man

 

I enjoyed the Minimalism documentary (available on Netflix) so much I actually did an analysis on it and dive deeper into the subject with the film and my perspective on Minimalism.

 

Related Post: Analysis of Minimalism

FRUGALITY

Frugal: adjective

1.

economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful:

What your office needs is a frugal manager who can save you money without resorting to painful cutbacks.

Synonyms: thrifty, chary, provident, careful, prudent, penny-wise, scrimping; miserly, Scotch, penny-pinching.

Antonyms: wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, prodigal, profligate.

2.

entailing little expense; requiring few resources; meager;scanty:

a frugal meal.

Synonyms: scant, slim, sparing, skimpy.

Antonyms: luxurious, lavish, profuse.

 

I found a great quote from the Frugalwoods:

Frugality is about living the life that matters most to YOU, not the life that matters most to someone else.

 

Related Post: How to Be Frugal Without Being Frugal

“LAPTOP” LIFESTYLE

Do you desire to be your own boss? Maybe travel the world with a laptop and get paid to write and/or work online, while traveling to majestic and wondrous places, across the globe or maybe in your own country? The laptop lifestyle is gaining momentum in more than just the personal finance and other intentional communities. More and more people, not just millennials, are seeking more flexible work times and stronger work/life balance. However, there are other challenges that come from this type of lifestyle (which I will discuss further in this article).

MY EXPERIENCE, THIS BLOG, AND MY FUTURE

I like to think that I’m an aspiring frugal minimalist life and personal finance coach. Am I those things? Maybe. Maybe not. Do I find value from frugality, minimalism, personal finance, mindfulness, and intentionality? More than I can share and ever give to someone.

These things are a journey and lifestyle, not a destination. Do I try to incorporate them into my life? Absolutely. Do I ever make a mistake? More often than I can count.  So what are my intentions? In life, with this blog, with the future, with everything. Honestly? I’m not sure.

Advertisements suck. Sitting here telling you about minimalism and frugality, yet sitting here trying to sell you crap you don’t need or want discredits my authenticity. I know that, you know that, the “blogosphere” knows it. How do others cope with this dilemma? The same way I intend. Recommend products and services that I enjoy and truly believe in, that I would use for free or tell others about whether I would get paid or not.

Along those same lines, I’ve gotten numerous emails about others asking to post content on my blog. Although I’d love to have others produce content, I’m still learning quite a bit and enjoy the technical aspect of running everything myself. I do really enjoy the Frugalwoods and Scott Alan Turner approach of not having ads on the blog. My intention is to keep this blog ad free until further. My current intention is to build authenticity through quality content.

My future intention is to create a “laptop lifestyle” in the future and be able to have the freedom of geographic arbitrage. The idea that I can work virtually, from anywhere, on my own schedule, with only a laptop and WiFi. I do intend to retire early, not sure exactly at what age or financial number, as the main priority right now is building my net worth to the positive. My current prediction is in the next 17 to 20 years, subject to change of course.

In the spirit of intentionality, what would make me happy? I’m not exactly sure. So what definitely would not make me happy? I won’t be happy staying in debt and not progressing towards my goals. I won’t be happy living paycheck to paycheck to buy shiny objects I really don’t want.

I will be happy enjoying my retirement, finding the balance of “enough” and reaching the financial milestone of a millionaire. Not to be a millionaire for the money, but for the financial freedom, the achievement and thrill, and to be able to have extra to help others as well.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU

Question your choices, your consumption, your happiness. What makes me happy? What are my intentions behind this decision? Does this add value to my life? What purpose does the object have? What problem does the object solve? Be more intentional.  With your money, with your life, with your choices, in all your aspects. How will an intentional life make you happy? Live an intentional life and see where it takes you. Because from what I’ve seen in some intentional lives, I’ve seen people do some extraordinary things.

Comments (4)

  1. Isabel

    Little Brother – you have good instincts and your passion and commitment comes across in this article.

    I question why you think that ” the FIRE community has learned how to game the system (legally and morally) in every way” – I strongly disagree. I achieved FIRE by following my passion for helping others in healthcare and lived a frugal lifestyle – NOT by doing anything legally or morally questionable. You might reconsider that.

    Other than that – you’re right intentionally is key. Keep up the great work …

    Reply
    1. Little Brother Life Coach (Post author)

      Hi Isabel, I say that not because things we do are legally or morally questionable, but because there is a system set up, and those not pursing FI/RE or passion or other things, are not willing to take the time to learn.

      They stay in debt, pay more in taxes, do not optimize some areas for their goals/dreams/journey and never learn to game the system so to speak (even leaving out the legally and morally).

      Reply
  2. treadlightlyretireearly

    Writing down goals and intention like you have here is definitely one of the best things to make sure you stay focused. I’m finding the more I write, the more I’m learning what I really want.

    Reply
    1. Little Brother Life Coach (Post author)

      Writing is not only a creative outlet (blogging for me) but also keeps me intentional and accountable. I definitely agree writing helps me learn what I really want.

      When I started the blog I wanted millions of readers and thousands of dollars in ad revenue so I could write full time in FI. Now I just want some quality content people enjoy and an outlet to relieve some stress and indulge my creative side, while helping others.

      Reply

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