“Maybe that’s all demons ever are.
People like us, doing things without even knowing what we’re doing.”
Orson Scott Card
“Do not imagine that the good you intend will balance the evil you perform.”
Norman Mac Donald
Intentions matter a shitload.
I could even argue that intentions are all that matters.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. People are gonna start coming out of the woodwork to point out all the bad things that have happened despite, or even because of, people with good intentions.
Stay in the woodwork.
I guess my view is good is good when it comes to intentions … even if bad happens. I would take someone who behaved day in and day out guided with good intentions on my team, or call a friend, any day of the week and be quite happy. And I would remain happy if something bad happened or mistakes happened.
I have said this before and I will say it again … at the end of anything … project, life, day, mistake, success, whatever … you are often left with nothing tangible in hand. All you have is something intangible … how you played the game and what were your intentions.
Sorry about that … but that is truth. Sometimes we lay down at the end of the day, put our head on the pillow and all we have is “but I had the best of intentions.”
Some people will say a voice in your head should respond … “intentions are not good enough.”
I disagree <with a caveat>.
My caveat? If you truly did put forth the effort and truly did act with the best of intentions … well … you know what?
You go to sleep. Sleep soundly. And get up the next day and say “I am starting all over again putting forth the effort and with good intentions.”
“<Dad> So your intentions were good. That’s what matters.
<Anthony> But isn’t, like, the road to hell paved with good intentions?
<D> Yeah, well, so’s the road to heaven. And if you spend too much time thinking about where those good intentions are taking you, you know where you end up?
I was thinking ‘nowhere,’ but you get the point.”
Here is a truth.
An unfortunate truth but a real one nonetheless.
For most of us … 99% of the things you have done were done with best intentions by taking the best view of the situation at hand and, most likely, done in the range of best decisions available.
You do your best.
You make the best decisions you can.
You act with good intentions.
You accept what you did as neither stupid nor smart … but rather the best in that time and place and done with the best intentions in mind.
And 99% of the time you just accept what you actually did and not invest time going back over ‘should haves’ and instead invest that 99% of your time moving forward or making some progress.
That last thought is hard. It is difficult. Accepting what you have done, the bad and the good, is … well … difficult. Accepting that you have learned that lesson in the moment and do not have to retrace steps to ‘learn’ is difficult.
All I can really say is this is where ‘good intentions’ really matters.
It matters because if you act with good intentions … accepting what you have done, the bad and the good, actually becomes a lighter burden than carrying along a shitload of heavy lack-of-good-intention ‘should haves.’
Acceptance with good intentions is a light load and makes you nimbler for the future. And if that isn’t the ultimate argument for good intentions I don’t know what is … because in today’s world having some agility to adapt may be the single most survival skill anyone can have.
I think 99% of us know we are imperfect, have some bad as well our good, and we don’t summarily throw ourselves away as useless and unusable despite that knowledge.
I think we all know while 100% ‘good’ and 100% ‘good will be the outcome of good intentions’ is an admirable goal … but not really an attainable goal <because, ultimately, we are human>.
I think 99% of us actually realize the complex mix of bad and good … done with good intentions … well … makes us good people to have around.