- Do You Have the Right Intent?
By Joe Giordano
While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. – – Thomas Knierim, Editor & Webmaster, TheBigView.com
In this article, the second in this series (see links below), we examine how you, your team and your organization can foster collaboration and agility through Right Intent.
In my first blog on the 8-Fold Plan we talked about the First Fold (or step) as having the Right View or understanding; seeing the world and everything in it as it really is, not as we are. The second fold, Right Intent (which enables us to get to the Right View) is about looking into ourselves.
Right Intention begins with looking at our personal motivations and behaviors to truly understanding why we are doing what we are doing. Within Buddhist practice, the quality of life and compassion for all that is life begins within ourselves; Right Intent urges us, compels us, to decide what our heart wants and to recognize that everything we do impacts the quality of life.
This connects with the Synectics practice of focusing on the intent of the self to the betterment of all around us. George Prince, the founder of Synectics, delved into quantum physics by saying that everybody has their own magnetic field and when magnetic fields connect, they actually have memory. If you had a good and positive connection with someone, then when meeting or talking with them again, you can anticipate something good and positive to come out of it.
Much of George Prince’s research was done studying people and interactions. He found that almost 50% of the time, there was a disconnect between the intent of the communication and how it was perceived by the person receiving it. If this is the case, then imagine how much time, physical and mental energy we waste being upset or even angry with someone when we perceive what they said or did as negative.
If, at that at the moment, you tell yourself that “this is the best possible thing that can be happening to me at this time” and you seek ways to turn what you perceive as a negative message (what the Synectics process calls a discount) into a positive experience, the result is a purely positive emotion.
Now, why is this important? When I am in a situation where I have to collaborate and I sense I cannot collaborate with you, then why am I here? On the other hand, if I treat myself well and assume that you are treating me with the utmost, highest positivity, I enable you to be positive, and us put our energy toward working together to increase our output.
Having the Right Intent helps us to increase who we are, in order to share with others.
To get to Right Intent, seek the positive intent in others, and assumes value in the exchange. Start by asking yourself:
- How am I going to feel?
- How am I going to communicate?
- How am I going to work with whoever is in the same room?
- How am I going to treat their ideas AND my own?
A simple, but highly effective tool in the Synectics process in getting to Right Intent is to eliminate the word “but” from our vocabulary and replace it with the word “and.”
- Replacing “but” with “and” actually changes our mental approach to giving feedback and leads us to think differently; I now can accept what is being thrown at me without putting on the brakes, without truly stopping the collaborative voice that we are trying to hold on to. I’m now here for the betterment of both me and the group, and building a spiraling up of cooperation.
Our behaviors have a profound impact on those around us. A study by MIT Sloan (Mary Rowe, Adjunct Professor and Ombudsman) showed we have over 2000 different micro-messages each day; a wave, a smile, or lack thereof. The study also surmised that there were positive messages and negative messages…and it took 10X the number of positive messages to cancel out the negative ones.
With the Right Intent, we can limit our negativity, manage our behaviors, and more importantly manage how our daily occurrences and interactions impact us and the world around us.
Read about all 8 Folds of Collaboration in this series of articles.