I notice many people who say, something along the following lines:
“I intended to do this, but,”
“That was my intention and the result was different!”
“I wanted to do this, but”
“I’d like to thank you / inform you / invite you”
(Let me say this as well – I used to be one such person, until I became aware! And with awareness, I have changed my actions at least in a majority of the time.)
I have had many interactions with people on this, and especially with my clients. And when I say,
“Whatever it is that a person has, is really what that person intended and not the other way around!”
there is a very strong, determined and sometimes indignant reaction from most people.
We have all come across persons who come in late to meetings, and they often say, “I intended to be here on time, but the traffic was so bad!” Maybe you have also said this sometimes.
And to the person who is late, they are convinced that:
they intended to be on time
external factors (traffic etc) were beyond their control
these contributed, if not totally controlled the result
and therefore, they were delayed
and, along with it comes overtly or covertly, “what could I do?”
And on the same lines, an interaction took place when a few of us were on an overnight motorcycling ride to the foothills of the Nilgiri hills. And in the evening, sitting down together and sipping our favourite beverages, the topics went from one to another beautifully. As always during such get-togethers, there was much sharing of knowledge and learning, and of course much laughter and leg pulling that is common amongst good friends.
And the talk somehow moved on to “figures of speech” and common usages as people call them. One friend, who has also been on this journey of learning, commented how we hear people say,
“I’d like to thank you” or
“I’d like to welcome Mrs. Or Mr.” or
“I’d like to say sorry” or
“I’d like to invite” and so on
And this friend said, “People don’t realize that it is not enough to say ‘like to’ and it does not really do what they say they want to!”
There is a big difference between, “I’d like to thank you!” and “I thank you!”
I added, “I’d like to” is a statement of what a person WOULD LIKE to do. Many a time, people just say “I’d like to” and don’t actually do what they say they’d like to. For example, when someone says, “I’d like to thank you” they have NOT thanked the person. When they say, “Thank you!” is when they have actually thanked!
Another friend, a very good human that I am grateful to call a friend, then stated, with a smile, “Well, that is common parlance and usage! I think you are being too nit picky and finicky about these small things. A relationship is based on trust – are you saying that the person does not really mean to thank you when they say, I’d like to thank you? You ought to believe and trust them when they say they want to thank you – they truly intend to. You can’t be so distrusting.”
I then attempted to (I say attempted to, because I didn’t complete it appropriately) to explain to my friend the difference in the two statements. In short I said, “Just because something has become the norm, does not make it correct.” The conversation didn’t conclude appropriately with my friend, and maybe this is closure, at least for ME! 🙂
Common usage reminds me of the story of “Barber’s Bridge” in Madras (Chennai). The bridge was originally named Hamilton Bridge after the then Mayor of Madras. The local people couldn’t quite pronounce the name correctly and pronounced it as Ambilton Bridge. Over time, it came to be called “Ambattan” (Thamizh – Tamil as most know it – for Barber) Bridge. And when another Englishman came later, to take stock of all roads and bridges, he asked the name for this bridge and when he heard that it had a local language name, he renamed it to “Barber’s bridge.” Many “common usages” probably have evolved like this.
Just because something has become the norm, most likely erroneously, does not make it right. So, just because both the person saying it, and the person to whom it is spoken to, think that “I’d like to thank you!” is the same as “I thank you!” does not make it right. And along with the other common usage that I have already written about (Responsibility begins with I, Me, Myself) this supposed “wanting to do something” cannot be taken for having done it.
If I owed someone money, and I kept on saying, “I’d like to pay you,” my creditor would not certainly think that I have paid off my debt! They’d want the debt paid off!
If I owed someone money, and I kept on saying, “I’d like to pay you,” my creditor would not certainly think that I have paid off my debt! They would want the debt paid off! In this situation, a creditor would certainly want me to complete the action, and expect that I pay them the money owed. Similarly, saying “I want to,” or “I’d like to,” by no stretch of imagination would be equal to actually doing what I say I want to or I’d like to.
“How does all this link to Intention, Process and Results?” might be the question on your mind as you read this.
Most people seem to think that their intention could be different from what they end up with.
The First part in this is when people say that they want something. This they state to be their intention. Example, “I Intend to be at the venue by 10.30 AM”
The Second part is what most people do not talk about, which is the “Process” that needs to be followed, to achieve their stated objective. Example, “I need to provide for 45 minutes to get to the venue.”
The Third part of this is the actual results they achieve. This sometimes is different from the original stated objective. Example, “I reached the venue at 11.00 AM.”
And when that happens, most people start blaming external circumstances, other people, luck, and sometimes fate, for the fact that they have not achieved their stated objective.
For example, “I intended to be at the venue by 10.30 AM BUT, there was a huge traffic jam and I ended up being at the venue only at 11.00 AM.”
Now, let us take a different view of the same process – in the reverse order.
Part 1 – What do I have in terms of results? Example, “I reached the venue at 11.00 AM.”
Part 2 – What did I do to have this? Example – I provided for 45 minutes for travel, and did not provide for a traffic jam. I did not have a buffer at all in my planning. So, I left at 9.45 AM, which turned out to be peak traffic time.
Part 3 – Therefore, what I have is really what I intended to have – I really intended to reach the venue only at 11.00 AM.
“Intention does not guarantee results, Results obtained reveal true intention!”
If someone were expected to do something for you (the reader), I am sure that you will not be satisfied with a mere statement that they wanted to, and did not.
Maya Angelou said, “Remember, people will judge you by your actions not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg.”
If something were due to me, I am most certainly going by the results and not with a mere intention. An intention is useful ONLY when it translates into useful action.
I mention to my clients, and in some workshops that I am privileged to conduct, something that gets people quite intrigued, thoughtful and sometimes angry and indignant –
“EVERYTHING in my life is EXACTLY as I INTENDED it to be!”
And if something exists in one’s life, it is because that person INTENDED for it to be that way. I know that there will be some who will ask how a child could be responsible for something that happens to it, when it does not possess the ability to do anything about it. This is, to the common view, “unfair” and how can one say that the child intended for something to happen? And that is the matter for another article involving “karma.”
So, stay happy, stay healthy, stay blessed. Whatever it is that exists in each of our lives, is exactly the way each of us intended that to be!