Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully
by David Amerland
GENRE: Non-fiction/smart book
Live your life the way you want to. Manage stress better. Be more resilient and enjoy meaningful relationships and better health. We all want that. Such life leads to better choices, better jobs, loving romantic partners, more rewarding careers and decisions that are fully aligned with our aims.
What stops us from getting all that is the complexity of our brain and the complicated way in which the external world comes together. The misalignment between the internal states we experience and the external circumstances we encounter often leads to confusion, a lack of clarity in our thinking and actions that are not consistent with our professed values.
Intentional is a gameplan. It helps us connect the pieces of our mind to the pieces of our life. It shows us how to map what we feel to what has caused those feelings, understand what affects us and what effects it has on us and determine what we want, why we want it and what we need to do to get it.
When we know what to do, we know how to behave. When we know how to behave we know how to act. When we know how to act, we know how to live. Our actions, each day, become our lives. Drawn from the latest research from the fields of neuroscience, behavioral and social psychology and evolutionary anthropology, Intentional shows you how to add meaning to your actions and lead a meaningful, happier, more fulfilling life on your terms.
Whether we realize it or not, we all feel the need for this kind of guidance that gives us a deep sense of purpose. Because we are born physically helpless we have evolved to latch onto and work hard to understand our immediate environment and the people around us. This makes us, as we grow older, intensely pro-social. At the same time it provides us with a ready-made set of expectations, rules and guidelines to guide our behavior that arise from the collective behavior of those around us.
That behavior is the culture we experience and the traditions we abide by. The problem with this is that rather than defining for ourselves what is important to us we accept that which is given to us. That which is given to us is rarely what we want, but it can very easily become what we settle for.
Settling is an evolutionary-programmed trait. Let me explain: Life is hard. It really is. Even if we happen to have the extraordinary luck to be born into a very rich family whose legacy gives us everything we need to live comfortably for the rest of our life, maintaining that fortune and navigating through life is going to be fraught with risks, traps and constant upheavals.
We need other people. Other people need us. That is a truth. But the reasons for this mutual need are usually contradictory or, at the very least, sufficiently at odds with each other to make trust an issue and turn cooperation into a risk-assessment exercise.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
David Amerland is a Chemical Engineer with an MSc. in quantum dynamics in laminar flow processes. He converted his knowledge of science and understanding of mathematics into a business writing career that’s helped him demystify, for his readers, the complexity of subjects such as search engine optimization (SEO), search marketing, social media, decision-making, communication and personal development. The diversity of the subjects is held together by the underlying fundamental of human behavior and the way this is expressed online and offline. Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully is the latest addition to a thread that explores what to do in order to thrive. A lifelong martial arts practitioner, David Amerland is found punching and kicking sparring dummies and punch bags when he’s not behind his keyboard.
Email & Social Media Accounts
Reach David via email: email@example.com
Represented by The Knight Agency
For Goodreads Reviews and where to buy the book follow this link: https://davidamerland.com/seo-blog/1429-where-you-can-buy-a-copy-of-intentional-how-to-live-love-work-and-play-meaningfully.html
David Amerland will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Interview With …..
Tell us about you as a person.
I’m an oddity, even to myself. I am a hard-sciences student (I studied Chemical Engineering and did my MSc on Quantum Mechanical Perturbations In Laminar Flow Processes) who loves to write. I’m an academically inclined writer who loves to popularize and demystify complex subjects. And I am the arch-outsider who found himself working with some of the world’s biggest corporate entities. To be OK with myself I had to learn to be comfortable with discomfort, although at the time for me this was simply a personal survival strategy. By the time I was 40 I’d lived in five countries on three continents and each time I had to re-learn how to fit-in, socialize and function in a manner that added value to who I was and what I was doing. The insights I gleamed along the way inadvertently influenced the choices I made, as a writer, in Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully.
These days, I am a lot less sensitive about being wrong which means that I have, hopefully, matured enough to not need the constant, external validation of always being right. This makes me more adventurous in my speaking, writing and public commenting. It also allows me to listen a lot more carefully to comments and responses and learn from them.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
In my career I’ve had my share of positions of power and I have been closely associated with people who were either famous or had some sort of position where others looked up to them to know that we are all fundamentally flawed and truly capable only within the narrow context of our unique skillset.
Hanging out with someone famous used to be a 20th century fantasy because we fetishized celebrity and social status and wanted to feel, even briefly, what it’s like. We also, secretly, hoped that spending a day with the would give us a glimpse of some secret recipe they used to gain their success.
We know a lot better these days. We understand that hard work is not enough if you don’t also have access to opportunities and possess some talent. We know that success is something you engineer when you plan your steps from the present to the future you want to attain. Still, it’s fascinating to hang out with someone famous just to see if they can maintain all day the perfect public façade they usually project and to determine if they are truly as likeable as we think, in our imagination, they are.
With that in mind I’d love to spend a day with stand-up comedian and television host Seth Meyers. I find his particular brand of humor really connects with me and getting to know him as a person, even for a day, would be rewarding.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
How do you know how to behave? Like, truly? How did you learn? How do you know it’s the correct way to behave? And, does it change from one moment to the next depending on context? And if it does, then are morality, ethics, beliefs and values equally fluid and relative? These are the questions that became the prompt for Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully.
Of course, this is a glib answer that’s obvious only in retrospect. The seeds for Intentional were sown while I was writing my last book: The Sniper Mind which is a guide to making better business decisions under pressure. During many interviews I had with military and ex-military personnel and research neuroscientists it became apparent that some things which we take for granted, like the ability to behave in specific circumstances and engage in actions that lead to specific outcomes is not as easy as we think it is. Those who have been trained to do it better or have learnt to behave better by observing people who are exceptionally good at it, have a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to succeeding in life. Intentional then became an effort to level the playing field.
What is your writing process?
This is the most common question I am asked by writers and aspiring writers. I suppose the reason most people ask is to get a hint of something that will help them also in their writing, be it on an aspiring professional basis or something that is occasional. I plan my books but I let the research I do create the plan.
So, basically, I come up with an idea, usually a question like “How do we behave in every different situation we encounter so that we can succeed in life?” which is the basis of Intentional, I research to see what else is out there that might be covering the same topic. If there are competing books the deciding question is what’s the unique angle I bring to it? The publishing world is too competitive to adequately support purely derivative writing, no matter how good the writing might be. Once I have a skeleton outline in my mind, I carry out the preliminary research that shows me just where the science that supports what I want to write is at. I have a scientific background so I find my way around most research studies published. When I am in doubt or have follow-up questions I reach out to the researchers.
This is a process that can take anywhere from a few months to a year. I then check with my agent to see if she feels she can sell the idea and the manuscript that’ll follow it. She gets back to me quickly at this stage. If the answer is no it’s fine. Although I might have spent up to a year on it I have always learnt new things and have fresh ideas as a result, plus, these days I’m wise enough to never work on just one idea at a time. So, I will shelve that idea and send her the next one.
If the answer is yes then I write up a sales document that fleshes out each chapter and its contents, do several drafts and send it off for my agent to shop around. I make it sound easy but this also may take up to six-eight months and a few drafts will go back and forth. By the time the manuscript treatment is finished I will have written probably more words than the book itself. Once an editor says yes I get down and start to write.
That’s the easy bit. I start each day with an hour’s exercise and then I write for three hours straight, take a break to play some video games or watch a film and then write for two more hours. During the writing process I find gaps in my knowledge or understanding of something and that necessitates more research and more interviews.
I edit what I have written once I have finished everything and that makes the editing process for my editor a little easier too. Start to finish a book takes me up to three years to complete.
If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role(s) and why.
Hah! Well, it’s non-fiction so with some notable exceptions like “the best little whorehouse in Texas” which started life as an article published in Playboy magazine, and “The Perfect Storm” that has passed its title into mainstream language now, non-fiction books translate into film adaptations with difficulty, especially when the subject matter is self-development and, as in the case of Intentional, modular in presentation, which means you can read the book from any chapter you want.
Nevertheless, if I was allowed to dream I think Ryan Reynolds would be perfect because he is just incredibly versatile and manages to combine both comedic and dramatic roles in the same persona and still have you believe in the role he presents. How to be more intentional in life is not without its risks and it requires a growing-up of sorts in the maturity of the person.
What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their latest book?
A book, once picked up, will stand or fall on the quality of its writing but until the moment it gets picked up it needs to be seen. Getting that visibility today is really, really hard. A publisher does do a lot but despite that, unless they’ve paid a six figure sum for the advance the marketing budget will be small and the marketing team will be shared with a great many other titles that come out at the time. So, it is up to the writer to do all the heavy lifting.
You need to leverage what you know, what you’re passionate about that reflects the title of the book you’ve written and work to promote it. Use every platform available to you and be prepared to spend up to eighteen months marketing your book.
List 5 things on your bucket list.
These days, my bucket list tends to be both personal and modest.
• To get to sprint 100m again in under 12 seconds
• To meditate every day for a year
• To spend more time helping friends with their problems
• To improve my Greek which I struggle with still
• To start writing fiction before I am too old to do so
In what way do you think that this current pandemic has changed the book & publishing industry?
This pandemic has done what every major, global stressor does: it stripped us of our pretenses (because they’re truly superficial and valueless) and it has focused our mind on things we truly value which also tend to have lasting value. So, relationships and authenticity, honesty and transparency have come to be more than words we pay lip service to. They now represent attributes and concepts we actively hunger after because we truly value them.
This has changed the books that are popular right now and the way the publishing industry works. It’s not just fresh voices that are needed, for instance, when writing a book. You also need to resonate with the reader at more than just an intellectual level. This is making writers focus on more than just the craft of writing. We need to also focus on the truth of our words.
I can’t stress this enough. Whether writing fiction or non-fiction we must now absolutely abide by Hemingway’s golden rule of writing: “write one true sentence”. It is no accident that Hemingway was himself writing in a post-global stressor period, after WWII.
Any final thoughts?
I wrote Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully to help my readers change their lives. The lives we live are made up of moments. If those moments are full of meaning then our lives become meaningful. On our own, none of us amounts to much no matter how brilliant we may be or how talented. It is in our connection with others that we begin to thrive, to acquire value, to matter. That connection however has to be intentional, guided by our own beliefs and values. Then it too acquires meaning. Meaningful connections with others change our behavior. It is our behavior that makes the world what it is.