How to Build an Intentional Life

  • “Sometimes we get so caught up in building more and more into our life that we don’t realize we’ve built a life of reaction and not intention. If we’re always in reaction we can’t win because no teams win when they only play defense.”
  • In this episode, Brendon discusses the importance of living with purpose and intention, and how it can bring clarity, fulfillment, and a sense of direction to our lives.
  • “Most of that misery we feel in life is because we feel like the world is against us and we’re being beaten down, not trained up and built up.”
  • If you’re looking for tips on how to build an intentional life, this episode is for you!
  • Watch the video to get the full teaching!


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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of Motivation With Brendon Burchard. Please note that this episode, like all episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, Motivation With Brendon Burchard has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in the Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

We are an identity. A person who is in reaction. I am a reactive person or I am an intentional person. The day that I became an intentional person for me was the car accident. When I learned that “live, love, matter” was going to become something in my life, I’m going to guide my life based on these three words. Every day I see everything through these three lenses. “Live, love, matter” is how I see things. So I’m intentionally going into the day to make sure I do these things. And at some point, at some point, I tell people,” Oh, I forgot to tell you, you know, all the misery you feel in life sometimes. Well, my watch says it’s 10:20 in the morning right now on day two. Well, by 10:20 in the morning on day two, most of that misery you feel in life, we just covered in two points.

1. Be Wary of ‘Reaction Mode’

Most of that misery we feel in life is because we feel like the world is against us and we’re being beaten down, not trained up and built up.

And we feel always in reaction mode, right? If you feel always in reaction mode, you wake up and check in the DMs and the VMs and you’re immediately in your inbox. And I always tell people like, listen, people who do that, they have no idea the misery they’re causing in their life. Like you jump up you and you immediately answer your email. You’re not even awake. You’re still in a weird consciousness in the morning and you’re putting the screen in front of you. Judgment comparison, Reaction. Judgment compares and reaction. No wonder you look like this all day. Like because you woke up, you’re like, Oh, and then you go out the kids and you’re out and you go to work. You’re like, Oh, and then you had that dream. You’re like, Oh, and you’re like, Why am I not doing anything? Because you woke up in the morning, you train your brain, you’re freaking yourself out. The misery is coming from too much reaction and too little intention, right? The more you feel like you’re just on the defensive in life all the time or miserable it feels because you never feel like you’re winning. You’re just always defending, defending, defending, Turning, fighting. Next. Fire fighting next. Fire fighting. That’s hard. And this includes the successful people. Don’t be fooling yourself. 

2. Set Boundaries For Yourself

You set yourself up for a life of reaction when you set yourself up for overwork. Highly successful people, with no boundaries, overwork, and burnout. And they think they’re so strategic. I’m like, You haven’t been strategic in five years of your life. You’ve been fighting fires and that’s why you don’t feel like you’re winning. That’s why it feels like your business is a slog. That’s why you feel like, what the hell is going on? I don’t understand. This sucks. I’m back and off. I’m going to blow it up. Screw those people. No one understands. And you’re back in the cage. Does anyone follow this? Is this too heavy for the morning? Do you like this? If you like I say, keep going. I need encouragement sometimes, too. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just in my head. But I think this stuff is important. I think. I think sometimes. Yeah.

I think sometimes what we do is we get so caught up in the building more and more and more and more into our life. We didn’t realize we just built a life of reaction, not intention. And if we’re always in reaction, always on defense, we can’t win. No teams win. Only playing defense.

3. Intention Is Offense

Even the best defense in the world cannot win without the offensive line. You still have to have offense and intention is an offense. The intention is an offense. I’m going to play this way. I’m going to play this way. This is this play today. This is what I’m doing today. This is the routine today. Here we go. I’m in it. And when I say I’m here, I’m ready. I go in strength. Woo! That’s different. That’s different. I can I love showing up in people’s lives and just seeing how they do lunch or how they talk to each other, and how they move through the world. And some people, you know, that’s their time to rest and recharge, you know, And so they’re just chillin’. I’m good at chillin’. I’m from Montana. I’m the best chillin’. I’m so good at Chillin. Oh, my God, give me a beach and a pina colada. I can chill till sunset, baby, I can chill. I have no problem. Remember, like Brennan, you’re so busy. You have all these companies and you’ve done all these things and oh, my gosh, you must. You just never relax. And I go, That’s an interesting frame. So you think successful people never relax? Do you think in any way that has prevented your brain from wanting to succeed? It’s just like a lot of people stay of a mind of lack, because when they see wealthy people or they see abundant mindedness, what they say is, Oh, well, those wealthy people, you know what they got to do? I think to become wealthy, you know, they had to cheat. They had to steal, they had to treat people badly. They had to run over people. I would never do that. And what you’re saying is I will never become wealthy. 

4. Don’t Talk Yourself Out Of Progress

You’re training your brain the oh, I don’t want those negative effects of that thing, so I don’t want the thing. So why even try and you intellectually convince yourself not to have more abundance for your family and the next generation and their children and their children? So what we do, is we tell ourselves stories. Oh, to have the next level of success. Oh, that would be terrible. I would be burned out. And I was like, “Oh, no, no.” The only people who feel like that are the people who have that. This current level of success wrecked their life because they didn’t know how to do it yet. 

If you don’t know how to do it yet, that next level is so terrifying because you’re like, I can’t even handle this one up. If I can’t even handle earning six figures as an entrepreneur, how could I earn seven? How can I earn eight If I can’t handle managing three people? How can I manage ten? And so you say, Well, people who manage ten people are stupid. They don’t understand. They could have freedom as they’re drowning in their own over work. So we do set these judgments against things. Again. It’s all perception, though, isn’t it? It’s all just a choice. It’s a perception. I want you to know, though, that what successful people are doing as they want more aliveness, connection, meaning, and growth, they’re just leading the day with so much more intention. Their intention, it’s an offense. They’re more assertive in the world than reactive, to use another word, because sometimes people think intentions to soft. I’m like, Oh no. The intention is an offense. The intention is assertiveness, right? I assert myself in the world. And if that’s too strong or too motivational for you, for all the academics and the psychologists, the rooms, we’re talking about personal agency people with higher levels of personal agency over a period of time are very clearly happier, are very clearly healthier in terms of their overall mental health in every measure from confidence to resilience. And soon as you understand that, you’re like, Oh, okay, me being on offense or in assertiveness or in personal agency or I just like the word intention much better. I like the vibe of it right then it’s very different. I need more days intentional for you, more days intentional. That’s how you get to feel the day again.