I was listening to Russ Ruffino’s podcast this morning about intention. The word intention easily becomes ambiguous, since it is so hard to prove. We often use the word ‘intention’ to defend ourselves: ‘it wasn’t my intention to hurt you.’ Of course it isn’t. People seldom go about their day deliberately looking to hurt others. Or “I didn’t intend on going to a certain place, or solving a problem.” What we mean is that we ended up going off on a tangent and did not actually do what we originally set out to do.
When I think about this, ‘intention’ is a very powerful word. It really determines how far we will go with our life, or anything that we do in general.
Think about it. Throughout our lives, most of us really ended up going off on a tangent. Most of us never ended up doing what we originally set out to do. Consider the person who goes travelling to explore the world, and ends up finding their soul mate in Brazil, when his original intention was just to get away from the humdrum of his life in North America.
Or like me, who started off in Accounting, and ended up in IT, and working for myself, no less…. something which I never remotely imagined.
The Ability to Surprise Ourselves
Is going off on a tangent a bad thing? Not necessarily.. sometimes we end up… beyond our wildest dreams. Or is this really the destiny that we were meant to do?
I don’t believe in them. Either they are so vague that you can apply their words to any situation in your life, or you end up limiting yourself to what they said. It’s like they set a parameter for you. Then, it gets down to what kind of person you are, and what you do with that information.
Are you the type of person who will accept the parameters that you given? Or are you a like my friend Henry? He was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. His medical team advised him to go into this experimental treatment. The catch was that there is only a 9% success rate. Here’s the rub. When someone says that to you, what would you say to yourself? Would you accept the doom of the 93% chance of death? Well, Henry did the opposite. He considered it, but then said to himself, “Someone has to be in the 9%. Why couldn’t it be me?” He completed his treatments. Soon after, 9% or not, in classic Henry style, he said, “F*ck it. I’m going to live my life to the fullest” He left on a fabulous Italian vacation with the love of his life.
That was upwards of two years ago. Henry’s still kicking around, travelling the world, celebrating his children’s school graduations, living life to the fullest. His intention made it for him. Instead of identifying himself with the doomed 93% group, he made… No, he committed his intention to be a part of the 9%. Why not? It’s not like it cost anymore to be in the 9%. His intention bought his life back. At the end of the treatment, and multiple worldwide trips later, his doctors told him that he should start saving money again… which meant that he was going to live.
We have a lot to be inspired from Henry. But mostly today, it’s his intention that we ought to emulate. Most of the people on this planet go about their lives without a single intention. Most of the people on this planet do nothing to set goals. Most of the people on this planet, especially if they make a decent income, lead a comfortable life, spend more time planning their next vacation than they do planning their life. And Far too many of us simply go about living our lives without a single iota of intention. (Is that the unit of measure for intention??)
Yet, so many of us have proven that with an intention, you can create amazing things, not only in your life, but in the world. Think of the giants that lived before us: Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and countless others. They had an intention. They knew without a shadow of doubt what they intended to accomplish. And the results?… guarenteed beyond what they ever thought possible.
If you were to have asked Walt Disney when he completed his first drawing of a little black and white cartoon mouse that he would eventually have theme parks all over world, blockbuster movies, what do you think he would say?
What if you were meet to ask Steve Jobs back in that garage when he was tinkering with a box trying to put together the very first wooden crate Apple. What if you asked him if his vision was launch a worldwide historic transformation such that people worldwide line up nights before in front of his stores waiting… no begging to pay him thousands of dollars for his latest creation, what do you think he would say? Actually, he’d probably say “I know.” But he likely wouldn’t even fathom that he and his company would one day have retail stores world-wide. He wouldn’t even expect that he would at one point lead the world’s most valuable company, and head up a juggernaut movie studio at the same time.
And yet, here we are.
It occurs to me that if we set an intention, and we do everything and anything only with that intention in mind, the results blow us away. The results can be massive. They can completely and utterly dwarf what we originally expected. That is the power of our intention. That is the power of our mind.
So I invite you to set an intention for your immediate future. It doesn’t have to be as grand as Walt Disney’s (but then again remember, he started out with a pencil sketch of a rodent). It doesn’t have to change the world. You don’t have to invent the next cure for cancer.. or whatever pandemic plagues our world. Just define your intention.
What is it that you can contribute?