One theme that I come back to frequently is that Intent really matters. When you are working with someone, you could have the greatest expertise in the world, but if you do not have the right intent – forget it. People can tell what your intent is, it comes out. Intent leaks out of us and betrays us all the time. If you have the right intent, it shows and people notice. Intent is the first an most important consideration of any relationship. With your spouse, with your children, with you clients, with you employees and even your constituents. If you do not have the right intent, or a good intent, eventually people will detect it and you will never have a relationship of trust. Intent matters, more than anything. Give me a person with the right intent, and I will take them over any one with skills. Skills can be picked up or sometimes even faked. You cannot learn intent, and you definitely cannot fake it.
However, there is another aspect of intent that I would like to focus on. It is doing things with intent. Too many times we wake up and go about our day an react to things or have things act upon us. We are constantly being acted upon. Pushed this way and that. We are reacting, like a pinball in a pinball machine (when is the last time you played one of those)? So we are acted upon, doing things at the whim of others. Do this exercise. The result will shake you awake for sure. Look at your day very carefully, go in 15 minute or 30 minute chunks. In a 12 hour period of time, you might have 24 chunks of time in which you were doing something concrete that you can remember or identify. Now, out of those 24 things you did how many of them were things that you intended to do? Where you were exerting your will on the world, rather than the other way around? How many of them were reactions? Things put in your schedule by others? Things other people asked you to do?
You will never get through life with doing things asked of by others. You will always be subject to the will of other people and in many instances you are ok with that. I have no qualm that my wife wanted me to do something today, I love her and I want to do things that she needs me to do. My kids, my boss, my employees are in that category. If they need something, I am very likely to be ok with their will being imposed on me. However, how much should you be doing things with your own intent? 90%, 80%, 60% of the time. I would argue that it should be at least 51% of the time. Something above half your day should be doing things that you want to do, that you intend to do. This is where you are the actor. The one that is acting, rather than being acted upon.
When you do life with intent, you get what you want out of it. When you only respond and react to other people’s will then you get out of life what they want, which almost always is not in your best interest. Sure we can draw exception with family, but even then, I can tell you this for absolutely certain. The only person that really cares about your intent is you. Not even God does, which is why God gave you free will. Choose what you will do with your time. If you intent is to serve God, then there you go. That is your choice. If you do not think there is a God, then you still have to accept that you have a choice with what you do or do not do with your time. What you intend defines who you are. If you never do anything with intent, then you are nothing more than a puppet, strings controlled by someone. Who knows who that person’s intent may or may not be.
So when you wake up tomorrow morning think about this. What do you intend to do today? What is your intention?