Do intentions matter?



On Saturday I did something that I haven’t done in years; I ran out of petrol. Just as I was getting a rightful ‘talking to’ by the good lady wife I found myself uttering the words “I intended to…..’

Luckily, I caught myself and let the sentence die, thus preventing my stupidity from being completely confirmed.

My defense that I intended to put petrol in the car was about as feeble and pathetic as a car with no petrol. You see, in the real world, intentions are completely useless. Actions are the only things that count.

In my workshop with students I ask them what their teacher may say if their excuse for not doing homework was ‘I intended to do it’. So far I haven’t come across one class with a teacher that forgiving or naïve. When I talk to business groups I ask how many sales they made through intending to call a prospect. The answer is always none.

The truth is the concept of intentions or intending to do something is completely useless. Nothing is ever achieved, accomplished, completed or realized by intending to do something.

In a game of AFL we don’t award a player 6 points for intending to kick a goal and we don’t let a golfer not count his last shot because he intended to get the previous shot in the hole. The only thing that counts on the sports field is actions, and the same thing applies to life.

It reminds me of the first piece of advice given to me by the great Darrell Baldock. ‘Son, he said, if your career lasts 1 game or 10 years make sure you have done everything you can to be successful. Then you can sit back for the rest of your life, content that you gave your all’. Nowhere in this piece of wisdom did he give me an out and say as long as you intend to do the right thing it would be good enough. For Doc, it was all about the actions.

Some people however have different opinions. Who am I to argue with Gandhi who apparently once said, “Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts”…but I’m gonna. I prefer the proverb that states, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

The lesson here is simple yet profound.

If you want to be a better person, simply intending to be one will not do any good.

If you want to be a happier person – do something that makes you happy.

If you want to be a kinder person – go out of your way to help someone.

If you want to be a more generous person – sign up to be a helper or volunteer.

If you want to be a more grateful person – take The Thankful Plans 21 day challenge.

Remember an inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intentions.


If you have a team with high intentions but low actions, please contact us on 0439858758 to discuss how Nathan can help. For further information on The Thankful Plan please click here