When The Sniper Mind was completed I was left with a dilemma. There were two book ideas in front of me that would take my writing to the next thing that consumed our attention. Both were pertinent in terms of the issues we faced at the time and still face today and both had the potential to be of huge practical help to a business audience.
Because I couldn’t decide at the time I did a full workup of each title writing some 80,000 words over six months, fleshing out their outlines and fully exploring the ideas each contained. In the end I wrote neither of them. At the back of my mind the mountain of research I couldn’t physically put into The Sniper Mind without making it too large a book to lift and too unprofitable for the publisher to print kept nagging at me.
Decision making is a critical ability to get right. We most often get it wrong because we are never quite aware of what it is we react to when we do react to things. Emotional regulation is hard. The environment we experience always pressures us in some way. The past we carry within us is ever present in our present. This makes the future we want that much harder to attain.
These were thoughts that bounced around in my head until they became difficult to ignore, impossible to not explore. Why do we, mostly, get the life we are given and not the life we want? Why do we make decisions that are at odds with our values? Why do we find it hard to be ourselves? These are questions that are at the core of Intentional.
The idea behind the book is simple: What is it we must understand if we are to live each day the way we want to and make decisions based on who we truly are? Over eleven chapters I then explored the fragments of the self that must come together in order for us to do just that. In the process I explored subjects such as identity, motivation, attitude, grit, beliefs and mindset deeper than I had ever managed to with The Sniper Mind.
While Intentional is a smaller, in length, book than The Sniper Mind it is in many ways much, much deeper and therefore more challenging. In writing it I found myself asking one question over and over again: How can we, as individuals, become better versions of who we are?
If this was a fitness book, like Fighter’s Codex, this would have been an easy question to answer. Incremental physical exercises each of which builds on what has been achieved before and produces a fresh challenge to overcome each time create a progression. Progressions create motivation and provide a sense of achievement.
When we talk about the mind though things are not quite so straightforward. We can’t flex our brain and see if it is smarter or more self-aware or capable of grater self-regulation. We can’t stand in front of a mirror and pat ourselves in the back for having raised our emotional intelligence or having achieved a better understanding of what drives the calculus of our personal decision making. Lacking such feedback we then become gladiators who only find out whether they are ready or not by being thrown in the arena.
That’s a challenge I had to solve. This is why each chapter of Intentional: How To Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully ends with just three, seemingly simple questions. Each of these however is a flail. It will help you peel back the layers of who you are and what you experience. Those questions, or rather the answers you provide, become the equivalent of posing in front of the mirror or stepping onto the scales each morning. They are the progression you will feel in the mental journey you’ve embarked upon and the gains you will make as you go deeper inside yourself in search of the answers of who you really are and why you are the way you are.
In the 21st century our greatest weapon is our brain. This, of course, has always been our greatest weapon but until we got to this nexus point in our history we could rely on evolution and use it fairly instinctively. What has changed for us now is complexity. Once the world becomes too large to manage instinctively and too complex to navigate by gut feeling alone we have to learn to deploy the power that is inside our head and the ability our brain has to deal with such issues.
Intentional: How To Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully then is exactly about this. In better understanding what’s under the hood of our being we become capable of steering ourselves from the present we are in to the future we seek. That, is most definitely what we need most right now.