S:0203 Distinction: Intentional vs. Reasonable

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


John F. Kennedy has been quoted as saying “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

What keeps you from taking action? Generally it’s because you try to be reasonable. You think it through. You stick your toe in the water. You check out how others react. All very reasonable steps to take and I’m certainly not advocating that you do dangerous things. It’s just that by being reasonable you run the risk of being distracted by other items that have more passion or short-term importance and you get off track.

When you are intentional you deal with what’s most important to you in your life.

For example, imagine knocking on a house door and getting no response, though you feel sure someone is home. You wait a reasonable amount of time, then leave.

Now imagine there is a raging fire being driven by the wind across the yard towards the house. You bang on the door while shouting, “Fire! Come out!” Your level of intentionality brings them quickly to the door and their lives are saved.

But what if there is no emergency in your life? What if no external force shouts you into action consistent with your priorities?

Then where does your intention come from?

(Thanks to Coach Barbara Hannah for the original idea and language for today’s S3MC. She can be reached at bhcoach@mindspring.com where you may subscribe to her free weekly email publication called “Carpe Diem”.)


Copyright 1999 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.