Your Behavior is Judged Not by Your Intentions, But by Your Results
I should be a multi-billionaire. That’s right, billionaire — with a “B.” The reason I should be a billionaire is because I invented the Frisbee when I was four or five years old and picnicking with my family at a park. I took a paper plate off the table and winged it with all my might. It was amazing. It flew! I had just invented the Frisbee. My mother was not impressed with my aeronautical skills and growled at me to stop making a mess. This scared me so much that I ran off whimpering. The newly invented Frisbee was lost in the confusion of my mind. So, if the truth be told, it is my mom’s fault that I am not a multi-billionaire. Years later, some guy named, uh, Wham-o I guess, wasn’t traumatized by his mother and went on to market a flying disc. He is probably a multi-billionaire.
I think it is a fair assumption that if I happened to meet Mr. Wham-o one day he would not recognize my accomplishments. I suppose he would not share his wealth with me, the true (kind of) inventor. He would probably point out that if I really was the inventor I should have patented my idea. Then I should have developed the plastic molds. I should have figured out the packaging, marketing, and the distribution of my product. I did none of that. I simply whimpered off into the poor house of obscurity.
I once heard an inventor talk about the difficulty of getting a product to market. He said, “The ideas are easy, I have them all the time. The hard part is getting others to back you with cold hard cash so you can bring the ideas to the marketplace.”
The same is true in most parts of an individual’s life. I have heard it a million times (at least). “I was going to ....” You know what I’m talking about, the Indian tribes: the Shouldas, the Couldas, and the Wouldas. “I should have ...” “I could have ...” “I would have ...” Probably the three leading openings of the excuse sentence.
“The road of life is paved with good intentions.”
“I meant to ...”
“I was going to ...”
“I forgot ...”
“I didn’t know how to start ...”
“I would have done it but ...”
The list is huge. We love to let ourselves off the hook if we do not accomplish. Excuse making is an international pastime. I am very strict on this subject with myself. Either I did it, or I didn’t do it. I am on time, or I am late. No excuses. If I am late, I messed up. It wasn’t traffic or anything else. It was my lack of awareness or self understanding. I am responsible for my life. I take this responsibility seriously.
I am frequently told by parents, “My child doesn’t act his age.” The key word in this sentence is the word act. The root of the word action. Life is action. We are judged by our completed actions. You either do or you don’t. Do is an action, Didn’t Do is an inaction. An inaction is a nothing. You are judged not by your intentions, but by your results. If someone runs into your car, do you care that he intended to stop? I doubt it. You judge the person by his action. (Using your car as a brake!) If your friend told you that she would pay back your loan by the end of the month so you could pay rent, does it help you pay rent if she meant to? We are all judged by our actions.
“What have you done for me lately?” is the real world. If you come home on time sixty seven times in a row, great. When you’re late, does anyone really care about your sixty seven wins? Probably not. Would your landlord care that your friend really did mean to pay you back? Or, does the landlord judge you by your actions (You don’t pay your rent on time and you loaned his money to some idiot who didn’t pay you back).
Excerpted from my book: Life's Laws For New Adults: Mastering Your Social I.Q.