Avoiding Unintentional Intentions

Author Steven Cribbs    Category Life     Tags

A fellow blogger, Josh Hood, recently wrote about avoiding the dangers of distraction in leadership. He used this video that powerfully shows the dangers of distraction while driving…

If you are like me, this video was emotionally intense. It may be causing you to rethink decisions you make while driving. I have been like those kids – thinking that there really won’t be a problem if I focus on various other things for short periods of time while driving.

We are all like those kids. Maybe not with texting and driving; but, in other significant areas of our lives where unintentional intentions can distract us from the more important things.

Unintentionally Intentional

We do things intentionally that have unintended effects. We choose to do something. We don’t expect, or don’t think about, the other things that are affected by the choice. I call this unintentional intentions; or, being unintentionally intentional. Sometimes the unintended effects are harmless; and, sometimes they are disastrous.

Identify Misplaced Priorities

Often times, the unintended effects are the results of misplaced priorities. Texting while driving is a misplaced priority. Driving is more important. The intention to communication should wait.

This example may seem extreme. However, the point is made vividly clear: we have to keep the main thing, the main thing.

Misplaced priorities can be disastrous within our families, in our work place, and amongst those we have community with.  When we stop to identify misplaced priorities, we can begin to avoid those unwanted results.

Keep Your Eyes on the Bigger Picture

It is so easy to have tunnel vision, losing site of the bigger picture, focusing only on the specific thing we want at that moment. So, we need to stop and ask ourselves if we are being intentional about the right things at the right time. Could our intentions on one thing cause us to be distracted from something else that should, that must, be more important at that moment.

Stop for a moment to realize that all of your actions are the results of intentions – some that may be misplaced or unintentional intentions. Start to make conscious efforts to look for the bigger picture in the choices (intentions) that you make.

Question: How do you keep your priorities on the right things at the right times?

8 Comments to “Avoiding Unintentional Intentions”

  • Brandon May 10, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Number 3 mentioned here is very important…

    • Steven Cribbs May 10, 2011 at 10:00 am

      I am a big fan of Louie Giglio. I once heard him paint a setting describing our choice of being the star of our own small picture or a small part of God’s bigger picture. The concept has stuck with me ever since. It is easy to focus on the little picture – there is always something in the moment of that little picture that we want to focus on. However, focusing on the bigger picture serves you so much better in so many ways.

  • Adam May 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    For me it is keeping my eyes on the end goal. It makes me focus on what has to be done and work toward it. I am also a list maker and it seems to do a pretty good job of keeping me on track and working towards the goal.

    • Steven Cribbs May 11, 2011 at 12:10 am

      Lists are a great way to keep up with things. I wish I could do a better job of getting things written down.

  • JD Eddins May 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    “Begin with the end in mind” as Stephen Covey would say. I think many of us become unintentional because we have no plan for our desired future. When we haven’t even thought about what the desired result is we have a major difficulty in trying to reach it.
    I am in the process of revising my life plan right now, so I have been thinking about this a lot. I know that a major key for me is to look at plan at least once a week and sometimes, especially on days when I am struggling, to look at it everyday.

    • Steven Cribbs May 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      That’s a great point and a great reminder – we’ve got to know where we are headed if we ever want to get there.

  • TNeal May 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I often think in terms of beyond, that which happens after something. No better example than the saying, “Save room for dessert.”

    Whatever is happening now, whatever choices I make now, each has a beyond. The act is now. The results may not come in until much later.

    The ultimate beyond is what happens beyond this life. I want to make choices that line up with His character and will, choices that go beyond today and extend into eternity.

    • Steven Cribbs May 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      Your description makes me think about the phrase “immediate gratification”. All we can think about is what we want right now.

      Interesting word you included – character. I think a lot of things in this world would look different if we focused a little more on God’s character and developing our character to match.

      Great words!

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