Living With Good Intentions

Ken Blanchard is an American author and speaker. And his book The One Minute Manager has sold over 13 million copies. Yet Ken Blanchard is a frustrated man. People read his books and attend his seminars by the thousands. What aggravates him is that only a small percentage put into practice what he teaches. When he asks people why they fail to apply what they learn he never gets a very reasonable answer.

Bob Buford describes this as a knowing/doing gap. He says there seems to be a chasm between our knowledge and our willingness to act upon what we know to be true.

This explains why there are such discrepancies between what we actually desire in our hearts and what we end up doing with our lives. I think author Frank Clark said it best: “What great accomplishments we would have in the world if everybody had done what they had intended to do.” This is our problem, we live with great intentions.

I watch so many people lean hard on their intentions and dreams but pay little attention to the actual path they are going down. If all you do is live with good intentions, you will end up with a great deal of disappointment in your life, because good intentions are worthless.

I founded The Center for Executive Leadership when I began to notice a similar pattern in the lives of so many men. Once they had graduated from college, business school, or law school, most seemed to know what they wanted for their lives. They all anticipated a rewarding career and hoped to earn a great deal of money over their lifetime. Each desired to marry a beautiful woman and enjoy a fulfilling marriage. All wanted to have perfect children and live the American dream.

Now fast-forward fifteen or twenty years and it begins to dawn on them: their lives had not turned out the way they had imagined. The American dream had not happened for them. While it’s natural to want to have a good career, a wonderful marriage, and healthy children who flourish, the problem for so many is that the dream never becomes a reality. Very few people ask themselves at the outset of their journey “What is the path that will take me to this destination?”

No one has a deliberate strategy to begin his adult life only to end up with a wasted life, but this is what so often happens. We all have good intentions, but at the end of the day, most people do not have a plan that will enable them to reach their dreams.

So it strikes me that the ultimate outcome of your life is not determined by the dreams you dream but by the choices and decisions you make. As the legendary basketball coach John Wooden put it, “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choices you make will ultimately make you.” They will determine how your life turns out.

Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.


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