How to tie shoelaces?
(wishes vs intentions)
All of us seek an answer to the question: how to make things right. How can I reach an understanding with my child or my sweetheart, start my own business without losing it all, build the house of my dream, become rich and successful, get a well-paid job, write a bestseller; build my own most effective workout program? We try to plan all our steps and to avoid any possible mistakes. We make all kinds of plans and preparations, imagining what difficulties may await us on our way. Guided by the newborn wish we make new goals and carefully plan our route. But too often we don’t go any further, don’t we? Real goals turn into castles in the air, while our plans remain unfulfilled. And one of the main reasons for it is the fear of the Unknown. We realize that it is impossible to take everything into account, and therefore we get defeated by the fear of failure and put our wishes and dreams aside. It causes frustration and may lead to prolonged depressions. Internal self-doubt grows inside us: it starts as a benign lack of confidence to turn into malign inferiority complex. Dreams remain dreams and the unfulfilled wish begins to destroy you like termites gnawing wood from the inside, causing it to be sick and weak.
Once you deter from your goals and plans, you hide behind a resignation cover and find a reason for your mediocrity: I’m just incapable to do it. There’s still a tiny ray of hope inside but the stark reality, on examples of other dreamers defeated by the Unknown, passes the final verdict: you are too weak to do this. It seems there’s nothing more to be said. If you are not a natural leader or if you lack the natural strength of character, then you should accept your weakness as a fact in order to avoid overestimation of your capabilities and not to get involved in any big problems, which you, most likely, will have to solve on your own. But does it really happen this way?
I’ve got wonderful news for you. Despite the popular belief, a human, in most cases, is ready to face all challenges and is capable to overcome any path, to achieve any goal and to make any dream come true. The fear to face the Unknown, fear of failure and acceptance of weakness are not products of our own paradigms or patterns – they are caused by the environment.
The key part in provocation of our inferiority complexes is actually played by the society. If you don’t believe it, think of a small child who is, owing to age, free from any generally accepted paradigms or patterns imposed by the society. Unaware of any possible failures, which are supposed to become inevitable once the border of the Unknown is crossed, the child fearlessly stands up to make the first step, however weak or fragile the legs are. Indeed most often the child falls but only to stand up again and make two, then three more steps, which finally turn into a confident walk through life. This is done by each physically healthy child on this planet without any exception, by which I mean that both morally strong people and people who have learnt to accept their inferiority complex once make their first step. They both fall to stand up again. But their walks through life are different. The question is why does one of them achieve the desired goal while the other is limited in capacity? And here’s the answer: the first is sure that anything is possible to achieve and the world is open to everyone, while the other thinks that that the world is full of frontiers, which this person particularly is not allowed to cross. Living in society means that you have to accept and follow all the laws, rules, directions and paradigms imposed by this society. If you don’t have your own constitution, your inner laws and rules, in other words, your personal credo, you’ll automatically accept and follow all these rules and directions imposed from the outside.
I hope this article becomes a push for you to make your own rules and laws, which will not only give you the direction you need for your walk through life but will also define the freedoms and boundaries, which you find most comfortable for yourself. One of the fundamental principles of your personal credo is the Principle of Intention. Intention is the very thing that forms the basis for all our actions without any exception. Creating your personal constitution and credo starts with an intention too.
We tend to think that an intention is a wish to do or have something. But this belief is not quite true. Wishing and intending are completely different things. A wish is just an imaginary picture in your mind, while an intention is a wish plus readiness to act. For example, so many people want to be rich and make tons of money but very few achieve this goal. The difference is obvious, isn’t it? We wish to live in a beautiful house by the seaside, we even imagine what pictures there would be on the walls of this house. Some of us have a picture of such house as a wallpaper on their laptop: they enjoy imagining themselves to be there in this house, lying in a cool blue swimming pool, with the sun gently touching their skin – a most beautiful picture, but alas, for many people it’s nothing more than a picture if the wish is not followed by any action.
An example from your daily life. Your shoelaces are untied. Let’s make a wish: I want my shoelaces to be tied. You may do as much imagination as you can, your face may even turn red with small vessels bursting from the highest mental strain but the shoelaces will still be untied. One wish is not enough. When you have an intention to tie your shoelaces, it’s another job: your wish turns into action. As a result your wish comes true: your shoelaces are tied!
My younger son has recently turned 10. Before that he used to ride a kick scooter. A couple of years ago he said he’d love to have a bicycle and so we bought one. But at that time my son had only a wish to ride it. So the bicycle had had to wait for these two years in the cellar, gathering dust, until recently my son came up to me to say he’d love to learn riding a bicycle. At that time his wish had already turned into an intention. Now my son was ready to act. We took the bicycle out in the yard and the teaching began. The boy could hardly hide his fears: he had no skill and riding a bicycle was a new thing for him. I saw how anxious he was. “I’m afraid it may take rather too long. I may never learn,” he said several times. “Do you remember how you learnt to walk?” I asked. “Was it difficult? Did it take too much time?” He spread his hands in surprise and said, “I don’t even remember it. It seems I’ve learnt this immediately.” And I asked him again, “Then what makes you think you may never learn to ride a bicycle? Why do you think you can’t learn doing this immediately?” The boy spread his hands again and it was clear to me: my question showed that there was no reason for his fear of the Unknown. His anxiety seemed to have vanished into the warm summer air. Now I could see how confident he was. He mounted his bicycle without any fear, put the foot on the pedal and pressed down. The bicycle moved forward. Of course, at first I held him up, gave him advice, helped him to steer on bends. But I let him free from time to time so that he could feel his body and bicycle. You may not believe this but about two hours later he could ride freely. His ride was not steady yet. He had to stop a lot to have rest. He needed to shake his hands up after the tension of holding the wheel and trying to keep his balance. But each time his riding gave his less strain: he was developing a new skill. It’s been only two weeks after that day but now we’ve been out on a bike ride together every day. A few days ago he even told me, “Why did I not ride a bicycle before? This is such fun!”
A wish will never bring any result! But there’s one more trick: a wish is not just fruitless – it may also be destructive to the one who makes it. If a wish fails to turn into action, it becomes a source of inner tension. Imagine a person who desires to be a yachtsman but the fear of the Unknown prevents this person from making any step towards this dream. At first the wish, not turned into action, will heighten the inner tension, but later the unreleased energy will at best turn into a regret for the unfulfilled dream, and at worst – into psychosis, anger, bitterness towards the whole world, self-hatred and self-reproach for the weakness and hesitancy.
What would happen to the same dreamer if this yachting dream were turned into an intention? The energy caused by the wish would not be locked inside – instead it would be released in action. If this dreamer started to study sailing, read something and find information on it, joined sailing societies, met people engaged in this sport, in the end, sooner or later, this dreamer would do sailing too.
Once you replace a wish with an intention, a world of unlimited possibilities will open to you and your complexes and fears will begin to come to an end - they’ll simply vanish in your action. My parents were scientists. As a child I often accompanied them in their expeditions. At that time we lived in Asia and so I spent my childhood in places of remarkable beauty: Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. My mother was a gold prospector and her expeditions often took place in inaccessible mountainous places of the Hissar Range and Pamir-Alay, Caspian steppes and red sands of the Kyzylkum Desert. Since that time I’ve been utterly and everlastingly in love with mountains. We often had to travel for 20-25 miles on foot, collecting rock samples and making a detailed documentation of the terrain. Sometimes we had to climb up the mountains to collect rocks emerging from the bowels of the earth at plate boundaries. As I remember, while approaching a mountain we could only see the top but we were unable to know for sure how we would get there. All we could do was to stick to the direction. Sometimes we had to make many miles to the top with numerous obstacles in our way: gullies, mountain streams, screes (so we had to go around thus changing our route), inaccessible sheer cliffs. And the way we made from the foot to the top of the mountain was almost never the same as the originally planned one. And yet we always reached our goals, and, more than that, our route was filled with numerous discoveries: mountain sceneries, waterfalls, small mountain lakes with crystal clear and extremely cold water, snowfields, wild animals and birds usually hidden from humans. So the Unknown, which, according to laws and paradigms of society, was supposed to scare us away and bring difficulties, in fact became a most exciting adventure full of discoveries.
Do you wish to get acquainted with a girl? Turn your wish into an intention and say: “Hi!” Your action will cause a reaction and reveal the next step, which was previously hidden from you. If you wish to start your own business, you should learn more about it to understand what you are to do next. If you want to play the guitar, you should buy it first and start with learning the easiest chords. If you dream of having a beautiful slim body, you should start doing morning exercises and going to the gym. If your shoelaces are undone, you should bend over and tie them. You should realize and accept the fact that a wish without any action is a harmful load you have to carry. A rather heavy load!
Imagine a situation: you want to give up smoking. If you don’t transform you wish into an intention, a burden of this unfulfilled wish falls on your shoulders. At the same time there was a rather nasty argument with your mom or dad last time you saw them, you said too many unpleasant things in the heat of the moment and now you want to make it up to them. If this wish is not followed by any action either, you add more weight to the backpack of your unfulfilled or pure wishes. If you’ve always dreamt of living close to the seaside but haven’t done anything for this, you add even more weight to the load you have to carry on your back. Each wish unturned into action becomes a load, big or small. And you have to carry this load all your life, your vital energy has to be spent on holding this load, getting heavier each day, though you might as well spend this energy on action and self-realization. But one day, sooner or later, there will be no vital energy left and this load will squash you. Replacing your wish with an intention, you either get rid of your wishes, throwing them away into an imaginary wastepaper basket, or you turn your wish into action.
Intention is a wonderful tool. It has one more feature, which is not that obvious, but really most remarkable because it may bring your life to a much higher level. Intention makes you self-confident because it acts as a magnet for additional vital energy coming from motivation. Imagine a person willing to reduce weight and take up sport. By replacing a wish to go to the gym with an intention, turning a pure wish into action, this person leaves the comfort zone and faces new and pleasant discoveries. The muscle tone is enhanced, the body becomes strong and flexible, sleep and blood pressure are now better too. The body changes its shape and becomes more attractive. This person meets new friends. Love life is improved too. The quality of life changes for the better. Feeling all these positive improvements, the person feels confident now. Understanding personal attractiveness helps to overcome former shyness and awkwardness. No more need to spend vital energy on forcing self-confidence – now this is a natural and a very exciting feeling. Both the goal and the way to it bring joy motivating to go on. This motivation attracts new energy, one begins to feel alive. In other words, it’s a mistake to believe that on the starting point to your goal you need to get as much vital energy as it takes for the fulfillment of your wish – you’ll find this energy on your way; this energy will be bringing strength to you, like water for a plant for the whole of its life.
Everything without an exception starts with an intention. All our actions and decisions, which guide us on our way, result from intentions. So if we replaces wishes with intentions, we turn our life into an endless stream of dreams come true because our thinking is transformed into action.
Life based on wishes is a life based on tension, getting stronger each time; it is a life burdened with a load of unfulfilled plans, getting heavier and heavier. Life based on the Principle of Intention is a constant motion, with an unending supply of energy and vitality; it is a way of confidence, full of new discoveries, new skills and constant self-realization.