In U.S. culture, when we claim to “intend” something, we’re usually making a conscious pledge — such as a stated goal. However, “intentionality” is always both conscious and unconscious, and the majority of our behavior is actually controlled unconsciously.
If you doubt this, just recall the last time you consciously sent blood to your gastro-intestinal system to grab some sugar or protein and report to your muscles with it.
Unconscious drives, goals, desires, visions, dreams, urges, fears, feelings, sensations, and intuitions operate in all of us all of the time. They form the basis of our unconscious intentions and are extremely powerful.
To illustrate, have you ever pledged to do something (i.e., set a conscious intention) to get along with a sibling, keep a New Year’s resolution, or resolve a conflict with an associate — and then completely blown it?
The failure might not have been because your intention was not good. It might have been that your counter-intentions — conscious or unconscious — overpowered the equation.
When, after announcing an intention, someone reminds you that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” they could be signaling that they perceive more about your unconscious intentions than you do!
People who practice their Leadership Gift build awareness of their unconscious as well as conscious intentions. They use this awareness as a source of self-discovery and re-alignment, and to build extraordinary integrity.
For my money, time spent looking inward to reflect on all our true intentions is better spent than routine goal setting or planning that only addresses our conscious objectives.
Do you want more guidance to learn a great deal more about intention? Check out How To Teach Responsibility To Anyone (Audio CD or MP3) that will teach you the following:
- Getting clear about the relationship between generating intentions, having your intentions met, and feeling like you are winning
- Getting clear about counter-intentions, unconscious intentions, not getting your intentions met, and feeling like you are losing
Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Stretch
This week, examine and clarify your intentions for several upcoming meetings, relationship encounters, or even solo activities.
Get specific and focused on your intentions. What ideal result do you intend to achieve with each activity? Attention to our own specificity and clarity helps us communicate with and program the unconscious.
After each activity, check in with yourself to see whether your intentions were met. If not, ask yourself what counter-intentions you might also have been holding. Or were someone else’s intentions (conscious or not) more powerful than yours?
What issues do you deal with at work? Dialogue is a powerful tool for clarification! Share your insights here or ask a question about this post in the comments!
Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. For more on topics discussed in this post, consider his executive report Responsible Change, and download the Responsibility Process™ poster PDF in a more than a dozen languages. CEO’s desiring a culture of ownership may want to investigate the proven Managed Leadership Gift Adoption program.
Break through problems, accelerate your growth, and skyrocket performance with The Leadership Gift Program.