Intention vs. Message


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A show called ‘What Not to Wear’ on TLC brought my attention to the idea of intent vs. message.  The title of the show does exactly what it purports. It shows women What Not to Wear.  Me thinks there should also be a show helping men dress better too, and  preferably target the prevailing high-waisted stonewash jeans that continue to wreak havoc in small Midwestern towns. On the day that the phrase caught my attention, I was deeply engaged in a laborious workout I was trying out when the fashion victim of the episode said that she was a doctor and wanted to be taken seriously and hence the fashion faux pas she was committing.

Glad to pause from my workout which had taken a rather painful turn, I looked up and was met with a conglomeration of bad judgment on the screen. Not only was every piece of clothing the lady was wearing ill-fitting and effectively washed her out; but the message her entire ensemble communicated was anything but serious. In fact, meeting this would be doctor would evoke thoughts that bore no relation to the serious.

This was one case where intention certainly did not match up with message. Of course, being a show the lady (and I am sure her patients and coworkers were grateful for it) finally got the much needed help she needed.

Intentions drive our actions.  How we present ourselves to the world will communicate our intention. The message being received ideally should match the intention. I am sure we can all think of an example where an  intention was not received as we wanted it to. How we dress, like in the example above  is just one way intention is communicated.  The message of our intention is communicated through other ways such as:

  1. How we speak – the words we say are the vehicles carrying our intentions to the would be recipients.
  2. How we think– our  thoughts engineer the  intentions ultimately driving our words and actions.
  3. How we act-our choices and actions  are the physical manifestations of the intentions we want to communicate.
  4. How we relate-our attitude towards our thoughts and how we feel about our experiences will drive what we think, say and do

For the message to clearly carry your intention, you have to objectively see  yourself the way you want the world to see you. Ask yourself, “what does the world see or understand when I do or say something?”  “What is being communicated?” “Did my intention come across?”  Ergo there is the possibility that whoever receives your message may also have contradictory intentions so there is no guarantee that if you do everything in your power to communicate your intention you will actually achieve your object.

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