It’s useless unless intent is converted into results

There cannot be too many things that dent your drive and enthusiasm as much as having walked a mile over challenging terrain, only to find that you have placed the wrong ladder against the wrong wall.

Ladder against wall

The downside to this is the knock-on effect where future events requiring a ladder being carried down a road towards a wall, are now viewed with skepticism and a lack of commitment and enthusiasm.

We see it as a frustrating and useless waste of time, effort and energy


Our intentions can be compared to the ladder and wall analogy. Each has the same type of outcome and impact on us. Let’s say you have an intention to achieve something, and then fail to achieve this!

Just like the wrong ladder against the wrong wall, the experience leaves you feeling frustrated and will affect your perception of future events while dulling your drive, enthusiasm and decisions.

If you have the intention, then surely you will do whatever it takes to achieve the results – right?


Here’s the thing with intention – it has a price that has to be paid in order to achieve results. Just like everything else in life there is a price to be paid; nothing comes for nothing. If you have the intention, then you need to grasp that this is only the starting point – not the end point.

There is a lot more to be done in the way of putting it into motion (action) and maintaining momentum (effort) until you achieve the end results. Action and effort – this is the price you need to pay.

Intention is the small part. Just like an iceberg the real substance sits below the surface



Without the action and effort, the intention merely becomes a superficial reminder of something that was a thought, a dream or a figment of your imagination. It becomes a nagging reminder that your expectations and aspirations are failing to materialise.

Intention is like the small tip of an iceberg that you can see above the water line. Action and effort is the real substance that sits below the it that’s protruding.

Any idea, great intentions or plans that are yet to produce results – will always simply remain an intention


Every day is filled with more intentions than actual plans, action or effort to achieve the expected outcomes. In our ultra busy lives where we are bombarded with a barrage of distractions on a daily basis, we often need to be reminded of some of the fundamentals in order to stay on track – or to get the wheels moving and stay moving.

The following four points should help you focus on the things that can prevent you from being trapped in the zone of intention, and move you towards tangible results.


1 – Action is key to success – or is it?

event-13This probably seems too simplistic and obvious. But don’t be too hasty now.

For every noble intent and every set of plans to achieve goals there are thousands of people that never move beyond the realm of wishful thinking or enthusiastic intentions.

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that talking about something, brainstorming, work-shopping or drafting a set of plans is enough for it all to happen. It may seem strange, but many people forget to take action. There are reasons why this happens.

Being deceived is another reason that action is not taken. Many individuals or groups are falsely lulled into mistaking busyness as being action. Being busy with activities that are not measurably driving you towards the end objectives is just busyness. It’s a deception of major proportions.

A well thought through plan prevents this from happening as it contains action steps (Right?)

Plan your work – then work your plan


Without action, the best plans are worth nothing, they cannot achieve any results and are technically useless.

Back to the ladder against the wall. The greatest amount of time and effort expended on action can be a frustrating endeavour if the plan is totally wrong for what you are wanting to accomplish. A great plan poorly executed is going to reduce all efforts to disappointing outcomes.

Stock Photo by Sean Locke

Equally, a poor plan well executed produces efficient but ineffective results. For action to produce the desired results, it has to be the right action for the right reason, or alternately put, the right ladder against the right wall for the right reason.

Back to the question of whether action is the key to successful outcome or not. The answer is yes – only if the action is the right, and effective action.

For intent to be converted into tangible, benefit yielding results, it has to have three other elements that work in unison to produce effective action. These are covered in points 2 to 4.

Purpose, Effort & Momentum.


2 – The Power of Why

One of the most valuable questions we can ask ourselves as individuals, teams or organisations is – Why?

Related topic: The Purpose Principle

PurposewebIt is a purpose defining acid test for everything we intend to pursue. It validates the overarching reason why we are pursuing something even before we begin the journey or invest time, money and resources in it.

At any stage when something has been put in motion, purpose then serves as continual justification for an activity’s existence and helps maintain the focus of everyone involved in its pursuit.


Any ladder against any wall!


In the absence of a defined purpose, it all becomes a matter of any ladder against any wall.

Related topic: So why are you doing this

For action to be effective it has to align to a well thought through purpose for the holistic objective being pursued.


3 – Effort


Effort is the kick-start to the plan. The plan gives you confidence that you have thought things through and therefore it is a major driver to set action in motion.




  • Take the first step, and then action is set in motion,
  • Effort will take time and energy – use it wisely,
  • Make sure your effort is focussed and not just the expenditure of effort for the sake of,
  • Work hard, and smart.


4 – Momentum

Effort is only the start – you need momentum. Along your journey from intention to results you will encounter hurdles, stumbling blocks and even personal demons that threaten to stop your efforts.



Momentum is one of the harder challenges you have to deal with


The moment you give in to these hurdles your efforts will fail and leave you with intentions and then regret. Without the right elements in place momentum in our lives or ventures is very difficult to maintain.

With the right elements in place you can set yourself up to maintain momentum that is critical to success.

To keep momentum you need;

  • Know that there will be challenges to your plan,
  • Develop the ability to adjust to the changes brought about by the challenges instead of holding onto a plan that is no longer optimal for the new scenario;
  • Revisit your purpose for starting down that road in the first place. This will always rekindle the passion or reason that you ventured out in the first place, and will renew your drive in the face of adversity.


Convert intention into tangible results

It really is all useless and a waste of time, energy and emotional reserves if you fail to move your intentions towards tangible results.

When you take the journey, assign small victories that you can celebrate along the way, using the right approaches (Purpose, Action, Effort and Momentum), then the emotional, confidence and pleasure boost that is your reward is absolutely worth it.

Every new endeavour will draw on this energy and confidence. Every success will set up the next series of successes. So – before you begin the next journey, make sure you have the right ladder, against the right wall, for the right reasons.




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About the Author : Steve Vanstraaten

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