I often talk about the power of setting daily intentions to help shape our attitudes and behaviour for the day ahead. Although often overlooked, the intentions we choose at the start of the day can lead to major changes, forming or reinforcing mental habits that positively impact on our lives over time. We can use intentions to change the way others perceive us, decide how we are going to treat others, and shape our actions in specific situations.
One of the daily intentions that I set is to be present and kind with the people I meet. I don’t always succeed with everyone everyday, but I have found that it’s opened up life in ways that I never expected and also helps to reduce my stress and anxiety. I also keep in mind that not everyone I meet will be kind towards me. I’m not living in cloud-cuckoo-land. When people are rude, angry, or selfish, I remind myself that I have no idea what is happening in their world, let it go, and silently wish them well anyway. When this happens I’ve taught myself to pause and ask myself, “What happened to this person?" We are all a sum of our genetics and experiences. The small gap of awareness this gives you is enough to appreciate that we can’t control how other people react to us and makes it easier to let it go.
So what has this got to do with a legal sex worker? Well I just listened to one of the favourite interviews I have ever heard on the The Tim Ferriss Show podcast. Tim interviewed legal sex worker Alice Little, who works at Nevada’s world famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch. There was lots of wisdom throughout the interview from Alice, who is breathtakingly open and authentic. You may not agree with everything she says but you can’t help but like and respect her. Her compassion, curiosity and kindness shone through.
The most striking part of the interview for me was towards the end, when Tim asked her what would she teach to adolescents if she had the opportunity to do a weekly class. This was Alice’s reply:
“I think I would give lectures about interpersonal relationships and connectivity as it relates to our society as a whole. Why we should be more cognisant of how we treat our service staff; waitresses, hotel concierges, people of that nature. How we we interact with humanity around us as a whole. How do we treat, say, the McDonald’s worker, or the person checking us out at Walmart? How do we interact with our classmates and our colleagues? What about the interpersonal relationship between the student and the teacher? I think I’d want to talk about the depths and meanings of those different connections and how they can be used to better enrich our lives and our society.
If we are able to change that generational mindset of the youth and get them to put their phones down and sit down and have a meal where they're talking amongst their peers, that’s going to generate new ideas, new innovations, and that’s going to take us to the next point in our society where all these things we’d say we’d like to accomplish within our society will actually be achievable through that unified mind. That cognitive collection of everyone contributing, interacting and working together and forming this unity and this bond. Human relationship is vital to humankind.”
This is what purposeful intentions can be all about. Being present with, attentive, and kind to everyone we meet, whatever their role. Don’t ignore people, or treat them as if they’re invisible. It’ll change your day and often change their day too, and will probably cause a chain reaction and knock on effect on many others throughout the days, weeks, and years.