Does Intention Matter?

Hi everybody, I’m Mike Staver, this is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question:

Dear Mike, I was having a debate with a friend recently, and it was a friendly debate. The debate was about whether intention matters. To give you some context, we were talking about whether or not it helps when a person says “I didn’t mean to. I didn’t do it intentionally.”

Here’s the answer to the question. It only matters in law. Right? If you intend to hurt somebody, if you intend to kill somebody , if you intend to do something, your punishment’s going to be a lot bigger.

While I appreciate the fact that you did not ‘intend’ to hit me with your car, and while I appreciate the fact that you did not ‘intend’ to hurt my feelings, what I care about is what the outcome was. What I care about is what the result was.

So let’s skip the intention, and get to reparation. Let’s skip the intention and get to the thing that matters, which is what the result was. So yes, intention matters a little, but outcome matters a whole lot more. Focus on that.

Now, you might be thinking well what happens if somebody says “I didn’t mean to”? Here’s what I always say. “You know what? I believe you didn’t mean to. Because if I thought you meant to we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. So let’s just start with both of us agreeing that you didn’t mean to. Now let’s get to the effect of what actually happened.” That’s how I handle it, maybe that’ll help you as well.

Hope that was helpful. I’m Mike Staver, this is Mondays with Mike. Until next time, be courageous.

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