Be great in act,
as you have been in thought.
The expression “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” has weathered the years for a reason.
It means nothing to your children that you “intended” to pick them up after school. Your father does not place any value on your excuse that you “intended” to call him on his birthday.
Your boss couldn’t care less that you “intended” to deliver the report on time. The police officer will not appreciate as much as you’d like them to that you “intended” to pay for the book before you walked out of Barnes & Noble.
People read you, relate to you, trust you (or don’t), and react to you based on only one thing: your actions.
When you see the word “in-ten-tion,” think “in-ten minutes,” “in-ten hours,” “in-ten years”—the road to hell is paved with good intentions because in-ten-tions don’t receive immediate at-ten-tion.
Intentions don’t cause change; actions do.
You are what you give your attention to now, not what you intend for later.
We don’t have racial integration in the United States because Martin Luther King Jr. had the in-ten-tion to march from Selma to Montgomery. We share the same sinks and buses because MLK put his immediate at-ten-tion to working toward change in the present—not in ten days, ten years, or whenever.
This week, place immediate at-ten-tion on your foremost in-tent-ions.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.