A thing intended; an aim or plan.
The act or power of carefully thinking about, listening to, or watching someone or something.
Drawing more awareness to our habitual thought patterns allows us to become more familiar with how we operate in different environments throughout the day. Instead of randomly letting our day-to-day actions (and interactions) pass blindly before us or not being fully present in these moments, we can choose to act and think differently.
Gary Nicol and Karl Morris, authors of the book, The Lost Art of Putting, share a simple, yet profoundly important piece of advice when working with their clients and it has to do with intention and attention.
Although this is a golf book and most of the work that Gary and Karl do falls within the capacity of coaching golfers, there is much greater meaning attached to the advice that they offer that is applicable across a wide range of contexts, not just in golf, but in life.
Asking ourselves two simple, but important questions can create a new kind of momentum for us that can shift our thinking. The two questions are:
What is my intention?
Where will I place my attention?
Having a specific intention allows us to focus on what we want to happen. For example, my intention is to genuinely connect with my children today or my intention is to be more patient with my students. Whatever your intention is doesn’t matter, the most important thing is being specific with what this intention actually is.
The second question, “Where will I place my attention.”, is an important reminder to be present with our intention and wholeheartedly place our attention on what it is we set out to do. Being present requires us to tune into the sensations, feelings, thoughts, and words we use in the moment. If we set specific intentions and then let our minds wander and lose attention, our focus is shot and chances are very high that we will not succeed in meeting the intention we had set forth.
As Gary and Karl state on pg. 37 in their book:
“You will either have your attention on something useful to you, or you will allow your attention to drift off in the direction of something useless. Attention on something useful to the task you want to perform or useless to that task.”
Gary and Karl emphasize the need to become aware of where our attention is.
Whether you play golf or not, paying very close attention to where our actual attention is requires a great degree of presence and self-awareness. Two essential skills that can be developed with daily practice.
However, we must first begin by setting meaningful intentions in order to practice the art of paying attention more closely.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily