Have you ever seen someone do something after which you ask yourself, "Did he really do that on purpose?" My son and I were backing out of our driveway one day to run an errand when we witnessed a neighbor's child take a nasty spill on his bicycle. As we rushed up to check on his physical condition the young dare devil quickly dusted off his pants and asked, "How'd you like my new trick?" As we drove off my son asked me, "Do you think he meant to do that on purpose?" Good question.

Living life with purpose is the first step toward avoiding IDD. Recognizing the real purpose behind everything we do or say adds a qualitative dimension to our daily routines that would otherwise be lost. By applying intentionality to our life we can successfully circumvent the negative consequences that often accompany our "mistakes." Living life with purpose is about focusing on the process, not the product. Doing so can help us develop a greater appreciation for what we do have versus letting everything else bring us down. It is all about making a choice. We can either be resentful and angry for having to work at a job we do not like and let that effect the way we feel about our self or the way we treat our loved ones, or we can intentionally focus on the purpose of the job and be appreciative that, at least for now, it helps put food on our family's table.

Learning to respond to a situation instead of reacting to it is another way to avoid IDD. When we react to a situation we are in the "fight-or-flight" mode which is devoid of intentionality. Reaction is about instantaneously defending and protecting, quite possibly at the expense of someone else, without any consideration for assessment or choice. Response, on the other hand, involves consciously choosing how to interact in a situation or with another person. By choosing to respond, we avoid the typical knee-jerk defensiveness that drives reaction. Responding allows us to be more intentional about what we say or do, taking into consideration the different consequences and/or benefits of our actions. In doing so we are less likely to regret those actions.

Choosing to be more intentional about focusing on living life with purpose can help us to be more responsive and less reactionary with our words and our actions. Try this exercise for a day and see what you think: Before beginning an action or verbalizing your thoughts in a given situation, ask yourself "What is the real purpose behind what I am about to do/say? Is this responsive or reactionary? What might be the consequences/benefits?"

May we all learn to respond to life's situations with a passionate intentionality for recognizing the purpose behind our choices.