The Strange Truth About The Power of Intention
This post is almost a follow on from my previous one, ‘Why Positive Thinking Sucks’, because, like that post I’m going to take a look at an area of self development which is often misunderstood.
There are a lot of books in the self development space starting with, ‘The Power’.
There’s ‘The Power of Now’, ‘The Power of Story, ‘The Power of Habit’, ‘The Power of Full Engagement’, and probably The Power of Using Power At The Beginning Of A Book Title To Sell More Copies’.
There is also, ‘The Power of Intention’ by Wayne Dyer.
This is a book I read the better part of ten years ago and to be honest, I think I enjoyed it.
I say I think I enjoyed it, because I liked most of Dyers earlier books until it dawned on me at about number four, that they were largely the same material regurgitated, and he was drifting a tad too far into Unicorn stroking country for my tastes.
Then on reading other material I started to notice that Dyer was occasionally being somewhat economical with the truth when trying to make a point.
As such, I started to tire of his “if you believe it – you can have it” bullshit approach.
The Power of Intention
It’s easy to think that intention is indeed a powerful force.
After all, unless you intend to lose weight, get fit, eat healthily, run a marathon or stop reading books that are all largely the same, then it’s unlikely to happen.
Nobody accidentally finds themselves signed up to a gym and on a treadmill.
Few people got lost on the way to MacDonald’s and found themselves at a farmers market discussing the merits of organic lettuce and inquiring as to the nearest purveyor of fine sandals.
And I never once logged into my Amazon account, did a search for Wayne Dyer and inadvertently ordered one of his books without even knowing I’d done it.
All of the above require the intention to make changes for them to happen because they are highly unlikely to happen organically.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the intent is that important, other than of course, to start the process moving.
Intention Isn’t Very Powerful
In fact, there is plenty of proof to suggest that intention plays a very small role in making beneficial change.
Think about it for a moment.
How many people do you know who are overweight, who intend to drop a few pounds?
How many people do you know who intend to quit smoking or get fit?
And how many people do you know who have set news years resolutions that have given up on them before the calendar has turned over to February?
News years resolutions are a classic example of people setting off with all good intentions that are then forgotten within weeks, sometimes even days.
Of course you need to intend to change if you are to do so, and as such intentions are the starting point, but that’s about all.
The real power of making change isn’t in the intention, there is no real power of intention any more than there is a power in day dreaming about a better life – it’s yet another self development urban myth.
As I mentioned above, anybody can have positive intentions when it comes to improving the quality of their lives and most people do – but few come to fruition.
If you look at some of the book titles at the beginning you can see how many of them make sense.
There maybe plankton with more charisma and better sweaters than Eckhart Tolle, but he pretty much nailed that ‘now’ is the most powerful moment in your life, and it always will be because it’s all you have,
Stories shape our lives in every conceivable way and allow us to communicate our ideas (both to others and to ourselves) – so there’s no doubting the power story.
The same goes for the power of full engagement.
It’s ok being super fit and healthy, but you’re never going to maximize your life if that is coupled with being apathetic and unmotivated for everything else.
But unless we’re drifting into the murky waters of manifesting and the Law of Attraction (let’s not, eh?), then what you intend to make happen has little effect on the overall outcome.
It’s a bit dispiriting to know that.
That we are all – if not lying to ourselves – then certainly misleading ourselves into believing that because we intend to make something happen, that it probably will.
It probably won’t.
But knowing that can make a huge difference.
So How Can We Use Intention?
If you know your intention is merely a first very easy step on the path to whatever it is that you want to achieve, then you can plan accordingly.
You can remind yourself, that intending to write a best seller means absolutely nothing (millions of people have that aspiration), until you take action.
Intending to spend more time with family and friends when you get more time, is just an idle thought designed to stop you feeling guilty and taking action. So acknowledge it as such.
And intending to get fit next year is all well and good, but the reality is, that nothing magical happens at midnight on December 31st 2104, unless you take action.
If you don’t have a plan that intention will go the same way as the hundreds before.
The path to disappointment and failure is littered with good intentions.
Whereas the path to success has an intention at the beginning to get the ball rolling, and then comes lot’s of commitment, tenacity, determination, belief and planning to maintain that initial intent.
So what have you been intending to do, that you just haven’t got around to yet?
And more importantly, what are you going to do about it? Hold on to the belief that because you have positive intentions all will come to fruition, or use those intentions as a starting point for some epic shit?