Intent and Impact

We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.


Some wise author said that. The source is slipping my mind at the moment, but the saying has always stuck with me.

Directly related to it, I recently came across this beautiful question*:

How might the impact of your words or actions differ from your intent?

After reading this question, I pictured this in my head:

intent impact table one

It goes a level deeper than this too. Let's zoom in on the top-right quadrant:

intent impact table two

How do we solve for this?

Let's go back to the idea that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.

Rather than exploring the complicated reasons why we do such a silly thing, why don't we try the relatively simple solution of overtly stating our intentions as clearly as possible before we act.

Maybe this isn't actually simple to do, but trying would surely help bridge the gap wouldn't it?

blue background with two inverted yellow triangles on either side

*Source: Calling In and Calling Out Guide by Harvard Office for Diversity Inclusion & Belonging