The look in your eye tells me everything I need to know. I can tell by the look in your eye if you are going to win, barely maintain, or lose.
What is it I see? I see the strength of your intention. The strength of your intention tells me how it’s going to turn out for you.
Intention is not generally well understood. Back when Noah Webster published the first American dictionary in 1828, he stated a great definition for it. He said intention is: when the mind with great earnestness fixes its view on any idea, purpose or goal, and will not be called off. To be in earnest is to be very determined and deliberate in stretching towards an objective. To fix is to establish immovably, without wandering.
To call something off means to decide it will not happen. Will not be called off means that nothing – nothing – can make you decide that the outcome you want might not happen.
The word intention comes from the Latin word intentio which meant a stretching out.
Intention is when you have decided the outcome that will happen in advance and this decision is so strong, the only outcome possible is the outcome that you decided.
Intention is certainty.
I first saw Stephen Curry play basketball in March 4, 2013. I knew nothing about the Warriors. The last basketball game I went to before this one was before the turn of the century. I went to this game because it was a special event for Lithuanians (I’m Lithuanian – the relationship between that and basketball is a story for another day). That night the Warriors were 2 years from winning the 2015 NBA Championship … with no sign they would win.
I saw the look in Stephan Curry’s eyes and knew. I knew he was a star. I knew the Warriors would go on to win the NBA Championship and that it wouldn’t happen right away (because I didn’t see the same look in everyone else’s eye). I knew he would uplift the team. I knew he would uplift the city of Oakland (which you know he did in a big way if you were at the amazing celebration after they won). I saw that much intention in his eyes.
I wasn’t watching how he played … I was watching the look in his eye. The intention was unmistakable. I rarely see that much intention in others and was powerfully impressed. Look at those eyes. You can see from the look in his eyes: he will not be called off.
So, I did something I have never done in my life …. On March 4, 2013 I started following a sports team. I’ve enjoyed every moment, but I have not been the least bit surprised as the story unfolded and we’ve witnessed the Warriors become one of the best teams in NBA history. With Stephen Curry as one of the best players ever.
Earlier this week they lost the 1st game of the NBA Western Conference finals to Oklahoma City Thunder. I wasn’t surprised when this happened either. I saw the look in their eyes before the game. I wasn’t looking at anything physical or how they were playing. Just the look in their eyes. Intention had diminished.
Yesterday morning, hours before their 2nd game, I read an article by local Sports writer, Tim Kawakami. He saw the Warriors at practice the day before and wrote: “Stephen Curry had the look, Draymond Green had the look, Andrew Bogut had the look, Andre Iguodala had the look, Steve Kerr had the look. Even team Consultant Steve Nash, in a rare practice visit had a unique kind of focused/relaxed/super-alert look on his face at Warriors headquarters.”
I thought, “Ahhhhh …. They’re going to win tonight ….” And they did. What a game.
How does this relate to you? How do you get enough intention to give you that look in your eye? How do you become the Stephen Curry of your world?
It’s not physical. It comes from within.
What kills it is uncertainty, doubt, indecision. Most people have a hard time completely eliminating these from their thoughts. But that is what it takes. Making an unwavering decision about an objective and not allowing yourself to be called off. Very simply, you make a decision and the decision is that strong. No “maybe yes, but maybe no”.
Don’t confuse this with stubbornness, aggressiveness, force or bullying. Intention is none of these. People with these qualities (qualities that drive others away) always have very little, if any, true intention. Intention is a decision and a consideration – it’s at the level of thought, not energy - and has nothing to do with force. People with high intention are also capable of extremely gentle and warm communication and very respectful listening – as you can also see with Stephen Curry.
No one can diminish your intention but you. No one can increase your intention but you. Your degree of intention has nothing to do with your environment or your circumstances. We would like to assign responsibility for what happens to us elsewhere because it lets us off the hook. But it’s not the truth. People had told Stephen Curry he wasn’t going to make it as a basketball player. He never let it monitor his intention.
His certainty about winning is so great, he doesn’t even turn around to look to see if his shot went in.
The general population doesn’t fully realize how vital intention is. They don’t realize they didn’t succeed because they didn’t have enough intention.
I’ve worked with losers, mediocre performers and rock stars in their profession, including the world’s foremost experts in their field. The biggest distinguishing factor is their intention. I’ve seen amazing stories (and I know you have too) of people, when the world was against them and intention is ALL they had … and they won.
Intention is like a muscle. It’s one of your greatest capabilities. The more you exercise it, the bigger it will grow. You have it in unlimited quantity. You create it.
There is nothing you can’t do. There is no dream that is unattainable for you. Your intention is powerful magic. Stretch toward that objective you want. Make that decision to win. Decide to have certainty and confidence, complete freedom from doubt about winning. Don’t be called off. Use your intention to make it happen. And win.
The world will see it in the look in your eye … and know that you are a winner.
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