The Dichotomy of Intent

The dichotomy of intent is simply this: Are you serving yourself or are you serving others? The answer to this question will dictate how you use your skills. Skills that we use every day can be used selfishly or selflessly but they remain the same skill.

An individual will assess a person and see their strengths and weaknesses. They will purposefully interact with that person in such a way that their strengths are exploited and their weaknesses are mitigated. They know how to do this well and use this skill to inspire people to action that results in the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

Leadership

An individual will assess a person and see their strengths and weaknesses. They will purposefully interact with that person in such a way that their weaknesses are exploited and their strengths are mitigated. They know how to do this well and use this skill to inspire people to action that results in the best possible outcome for themselves.

Manipulation

The leader and the manipulator have the same skill. The application of that skill results in very different outcomes depending upon the intent from which it flows. Let’s try another.

A man has strength and power. He has the ability to see the vulnerability of his wife, his children, and the people around him. He uses this awareness to serve and protect these people and make them feel safe. He will sacrifice himself in the service of others.

Masculinity

A man has strength and power. He has the ability to see the vulnerability of his wife, his children, and the people around him. He uses this awareness to serve and protect his ego by ensuring he is the most powerful person around by exploiting the vulnerability of others. He will sacrifice others in the service of himself.

Misogyny

Such is the nature of the world we live in. There are a finite number of skills and behaviors. Each one can be exercised in the service of others or of self. The selfish application is always the one that results in a negative outcome.

But wait! Hold the phone! This means that anything I do for myself is wrong, doesn’t it?

Not at all.

I have had a tough experience doing something for someone else. I’m tired, frustrated, and hungry. I deserve a break so I can feel better. I’ll eat some good healthy calories, move my body some and then sit quietly and breathe. This will take me no more than 90 minutes and I will get back to being productive.

Self-care

I have had a tough experience doing something for someone else. I’m tired, frustrated, and hungry. I deserve a break so I can feel better. I’ll eat some good tasty calories, rest my body and watch some tv. I’ll do this until I feel better. That sure was a hard experience. I totally deserve this break. Just a little longer… where has the day gone? Maybe I’ll be able to be productive tomorrow.

Self-indulgence

Self-care allows you to perform at optimal levels. This results in there being more of you available to serve others. Self-indulgence gives into behavior patterns that perpetuate poor self-image, fears, insecurities, and undesirable results. The stem from the same need and require the same skill and awareness but the results are vastly different.

We are all designed with a purpose. That purpose is always geared toward serving others. The reason for this is that we are also designed to be in relationships with others. Selfishness is not conducive to healthy relationships. Good relationships require selfless service and so it stands to reason that every person’s purpose in this world requires the same.

Use your skills, knowledge, and behaviors for the good of others and you will learn that the natural byproduct is the approval and success that you desire. Zig Ziglar said,


“You can have everything in life that you want if you just help enough other people get what they want”


We all have ingrained behaviors and responses in certain situations. The fastest way to revert to self-serving behavior is to be afraid or stressed. Take time to slow down and be aware of how you feel. Start with situations that leave you feeling frustration, anger, sadness, or self-loathing. Ask yourself what skills you were using in that situation and look for ways to turn that skill around to benefit others.