When a person does anything, they always have a purpose for doing that thing. There is something they want to achieve and there is a reason why they want to achieve it. There is an objective and there is an intent. We can therefore say that a person has an intention for doing anything that they do. That intention can be conscious or that intention can be subconscious. It can also be both. A person can also have multiple intentions as well as mixed or contradictory intentions.
Universally speaking, intention is what sets things in motion down a certain path. It is the initial movement. It is a proclamation to the universe. It focuses energy in a certain direction. So, from this perspective, it is easy to see that a specific intention initiates movement in a specific direction. And a different intention sets things in motion in a totally different direction. If you can understand this, then you will understand the following truth: The intention behind a decision or an action dictates the direction that decision or action goes. And therefore, intention plays a major role regarding how something will ultimately turn out. If two people have two different intentions, but make the same decision and take the exact same action, they will experience different results.
So many people miss the factor of the reality of their intention when they are making decisions and taking actions and are not seeing the results that they want. Intention influences everything that comes after it, whether you realize it or not.
So that you can understand this clearly, I’ll give you a couple of examples. Judy has a friend that is moving. Judy offers to help her move. Her intention for doing this is to feel more connected to her friend. It is an opportunity to create a deeper bond and further sense of rapport with her. So, she helps her friend move. Because there is no conflict between Judy’s intention and her friend’s needs, the day goes well. They sing out loud to the pop music they play at full blast. They laugh like crazy about some of the stuff the friend is deciding to keep. They devour two pizzas together. And at the end of the day, they have established a deeper bond.
Michelle has a friend that is moving. Michelle offers to help her move. Her intention for doing this is to gain more security for herself in the relationship by using it as leverage. Essentially, she imagines that if she helps her friend move, there is less of a likelihood that her friend will act against her best interests because she has more pressure on her to behave in a nice way towards Michelle, given that Michelle did something nice for her. So, she helps her friend move. But there is a conflict between Michelle’s intention and her friend. So, the day does not go well. Michelle’s friend doesn’t feel “right” about it while they are moving. She doesn’t consciously realize that the reason she doesn’t feel right is because, like a snake in the grass, she can feel the pressure and indebtedness that Michelle is putting on her by helping her move. Michelle’s friend spends most of the time in a different room. She stops directing Michelle regarding what to do. And they have an awkward hug at the end of the night. Michelle’s doesn’t get the gratitude that she was expecting. So, Michelle now decides that her friend is ungrateful and entitled. The two are now at odds. They start to triangulate mutual friends against each other. Essentially, due to intention, a totally different outcome came as a result of Judy’s action than came as a result of Michelle’s action. Even though they did the exact same thing.
As we have seen, intention can make it so that the same action leads to drastically different results. Intention can also make it so that totally different actions are taken, which obviously leads to drastically different results.
To give you another example, Rafael is a tennis player. His intention for playing a tournament in California is the pursuit of excellence. He has a rage to master. He is looking for the challenge so that he can test himself against the competition with the intention of winning. Winning is his favorite feeling on earth. So, he enters into the tournament and he plays. His intention causes him to take high risk, high reward shots. Most of which turn out. It causes him to be totally present in the arena, as if nothing exists outside of it, which means all of his awareness and energy is available to the game he is playing. It causes him to hold nothing back. It causes him to put incredible aggressive pressure on his opponent, which causes his opponents to buckle. And it causes him to not care how long the match lasts, which increases his endurance and decreases his mental resistance. As a result, Rafael wins the entire tournament.
Taylor is also a tennis player and is also attending the same tournament in California. Taylor’s intention for playing the tournament in California is to make his father proud of him. What he wants most in the world is his father’s closeness and approval. He likes tennis for the most part, especially because he is good at it (which boosts his ego) and because Tennis is the way that he connects with his dad. This has been the case since Taylor was 3 years old and his dad decided he would be a professional player. The California tournament is a big deal tournament for him. So, he enters into the tournament and he plays. His intention causes him to be anxious about losing, so he becomes tense and plays conservatively. His focus is split between being present in the arena, on the game he is playing, and what his dad is thinking and what the social consequences will be if he wins or if he loses. Because not all of his energy and focus is in the arena, he makes a few mistakes, something he cannot afford to do against such skilled opponents. His insecurity, due to the pressure of playing for his father’s approval and trying to avoid his disapproval, is super uncomfortable and it makes him want the game to be over as quick as possible. He feels a surge of resistance any time his opponent scores a point and makes it so the game has a higher chance of needing to going on. All of this decreases his resilience and effectiveness on the court. Taylor goes out in the quarter finals of the tournament.
Your intention is SUCH an important element in your life, especially regarding how things in your life turn out. Which is why so many spiritual teachers and self-help gurus and business success experts and psychologists etc. teach about the importance of intention setting.
It is critical to be aware and conscious of the intention or intentions (plural) that you have for anything that you do. That way, you can see the potential pitfalls of your intention. That way, you can see if your intention and the decision or action you are about to take are a match. That way you can take a more conscious and effective action regarding your intention. And that way you are not as surprised by the results that you end up getting.