Intent is the state of one’s mind at the time one carries out an action.
The power of the right intent is often underestimated because what you see are actions and what you can rarely see is intent.
However, common sense shows us that intent influences actions and competent people can notice actions to get a sense of underlying intent.
When you have the right intent, you ensure that all parties involved (including you) are fairly treated. When you don’t have the right intent, there is a bias towards a bigger slice for yourself. There is bound to be some amount of unfairness to (mostly) others.
The vicious cycle
The vicious cycle begins the first time you get by with a bad intent camouflaged with seemingly good actions. If on the other end, there are people who trust you by default, things get worse.
What follows is a short-term gain almost like winning a prize for bad behavior
If you get an idea that you can get by once, you try to repeat it and soon this becomes a habit.
Now, rather than focusing on fixing the intent, you focus on becoming better at the art of camouflage.
You can only go so far…
You can only get by so far with broken intent. As you grow, you will start meeting with people who are way more competent in seeing your intent just by watching your actions. They have no time to deal with people with “broken” intents and without much ado, they start moving away from your life. Of course, you may say, there are so many people to go after so if some people walk away, you will just be fine. Don’t be so sure. The world gets smaller and more networked as you move higher up.
You don’t lose people, you lose networks of people
People move in tribes and the tribes get closer and stronger as people move to the higher echelons. You take advantage of one person and you don’t lose that person, you probably lose that tribe. Why? Simply because in a close-knit tribe, members take care of each other and they want to ensure that no member gets hurt.
The result is what you might expect – either a prolonged sideways moment or a permanent fixture on a plateau or in many cases a rapid slide that ends in a thud.
The fix is in the intent and not the actions. Once you fix the intent, the actions will follow. Long-term success can’t happen with broken intents. Bad intent hurts, if only with a time delay.
Photo Courtesy: Cuba Gallery on Flickr