Brain Hacks

How to Harness the Power of Intention

When you hear people talk about “setting intentions” and “creating your reality,” it’s easy to dismiss it as a bunch New Age hocus pocus. But the truth is, the world around us is not nearly as solid as we tend to think. And the way that we experience it, and interact with it, is determined largely by our beliefs, our expectations, and – you guessed it – our intentions.

The Science of Intention

Science has made many discoveries that turn our old model of the universe upside down and inside out. For instance, the famous quantum slit experiment shows that tiny particles, like electrons, actually behave like waves. They can be in many places at once, until they are seen or measured by an observer, which forces them to collapse into one location and act like a particle should.

Even more well known is the so-called “placebo effect,” which demonstrates the power of mind over matter. Time and again, researchers have shown that patients who are simply told they are receiving treatment experience nearly all the same benefits as those who actually do. And we’re not just talking about sugar pills here; one experiment involved faking a knee surgery. The patients who received the fake procedure recovered just as well as two other groups, who underwent two different types of corrective surgery.

Perhaps most fascinating of all is the research done by Dr. Bill Tiller. He has shown that the human mind can “imprint” an intention into an electrical device, which will then carry out that intention. In his experiments, he shows that these “intention host devices” measurably change the pH balance of water. What’s more, over time these devices actually change the thermodynamic properties of the space in which these experiments are carried out, creating harmonic conditions that increase the effectiveness of the device.

These examples, and many others, clearly show that our consciousness can and does influence physical reality. An intention held in mind shapes and orders the events of our lives. Our state of mind determines our state of affairs. The real question is, how does intention work outside the lab? How can we make it practical, and use it to consciously direct our day-to-day experience?

How to Put the Power of Intention to Work for You

There are two kinds of intentions: short term and long term. Career ambitions and other life goals are long term intentions, which dictate the overall direction of our lives. These must be held over long periods of time, and continually clarified and revisited. But we can also use our intention for more short term situations, like a first date, a business meeting or a job interview.

Whether short term or long term, you can follow these seven steps to set clear and powerful intentions, and help create the outcomes you want in your life.

1. Clear Your Mind.

We can’t focus on our goals when our thoughts are racing, and our minds are full of random content. Before you try and set your intentions, take a few minutes to sit quietly and clear your head of any mental clutter. Just relax and take deep breaths, and let all your cares and worries drift away…

2. Let Go Of Limits.

We are only limited by what we think we can or can’t do. So the first step in to achieving any goal is believing that we can. Whenever you think about what you want most in life, notice any fears, blocks or negative beliefs that keep coming up. These self-imposed limitations have got to go. Don’t let anything restrict your dreams. Practice limitless thinking. Ask yourself, “What truly makes me happy? What do I want more than anything else? What would I do if I could do absolutely anything?”

3. Focus.

After brainstorming and considering the limitless possibilities, it’s time to make a decision. Hone in on exactly what it is you want. Where do you want to be? What do you want to do? Who do you want to become?

4.  Visualize It.

See yourself already there. What does it look and smell like? How does it feel? Be as detailed as possible. Bring it to life in your mind. Make it real. If you are preparing for a specific situation, focus on how you want to show up. See yourself relaxed and confident. What do you want to accomplish? How do you want it to unfold? What do you want to learn from it?

5. Release It.

Once you are clear about what you want, and you have set your intention, then you let it go. This can be the hardest part, because it runs against all of our instincts. We want to micro-manage life, and control how and when things happen. But life doesn’t work that way. Set your goal, then let it go. Trust in the power of intention to affect your circumstances and bring the right opportunities to you. Trust in your instincts, and your subconscious, to guide you to know what to do.

6. Get Busy.

Now it’s time to get to work. No matter how big your dream, or how distant your goal, it begins with the little steps you take right now. Get busy doing whatever it is that you can. Start taking steps, no matter how small they might seem. Because what you get tomorrow is what you work toward today. Make progress, or make excuses – the choice is yours.

7. Repeat Often.

Like any skill, harnessing the power of intention improves with practice. The more you use it, the better it works. Make it a habit every morning to set your intentions for the day, and set clear intentions for important events as they come up. And make it a habit to regularly take stock of your life, to step back and see the bigger picture. Do you know what you want? Are you headed in the right direction? Keep a clear vision in mind, and you can make it real – one step, one day at a time.



  1. Antonio Fernandez

    17/02/2015 at 2:16 am

    I totally believe in everything in this article. Nice way to lay it out. Part of what is missing is the idea of being aware of you intentions when they do start to come to fruition and knowing that that miracle that is unfolding is part of a plan you might’ve set in place years ago. Great job, Benjamin!

  2. Chilldad

    04/03/2015 at 10:54 pm

    Great article, Ben. I have studied intention for 15 years and think you did a beautiful job outlining the major points without scaring anyone off with too many details. Nice overview. (BTW, I run and I think this same article could work well on my site as “How To Teach Kids About The Power Of Intention”; if you are ever interested in changing the intro a little, geared towards parents, I’d love to have you guest post this over there. you can reach me at if interested). Again, excellent overview of Intention!

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