Intention and Regret

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It’s Christmas eve. A tweet from the head of the Shamhala Buddhist lineage comes across my screen. Yes, he tweets…

 

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche or “The Sakyong” is an interesting guy. A husband, dad and leader of a global spiritual community and lineage, he’s also a real “renaissance lama.” He bridges two worlds—one of ancient wisdom and one of modern reality—with astonishing ease.

The word “Sakyong,” in his name, by the way, is actually a title and it translates to “Earth Protector.” The New Yorker in me thinks “if that was my job, I’d have t-shirts and FBI-style parkas printed with the words ‘EARTH PROTECTOR’ in big white block letters.” I’m guessing that’s one reason titles like that go to people like him.

Back to the mysterious Christmas tweet. He offers something that, from the mouth or touchscreen of another, might sound like a platitude, but it’s him, so I listen because I know there’s something deeper going on.

Here’s what he tweets:

It is said that if our intention is to help others…we will never have any regret. Regret is a result of trying to make “me” happy.

It makes me wonder. I think about things I’ve done in the past that had outcomes “other than desired.”

Where was MY intention? Was it to “help others?”

Would the outcomes really have been different if my intention was more “pure?” And even if the outcomes had stayed the same, would I have been more at peace with the way things unfolded because my intention was cleaner?

My recent conversation with Simon Sinek comes to mind where he shares how, before stepping on stage to keynote, he reminds himself “I’m here to give,” and releases any expectation beyond that. I’ve started doing that, too, and it changes the way I operate, though it’s not always easy to lead with the level of purity invited by Sinek and the Sakyong (seriously, that needs to be a cartoon).

Hmmm. Curious.

What do YOU think?

Truly “doable” in the real world?

How have you experienced both sides of living and not living into this ethic?

Share your thoughts below…

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44 responses

44 responses to “Intention and Regret”

  1. Adaeze Diana says:

    It’s quite funny that you posted this because it is the issue that has been on my mind for the past year or so. I grew up in a world surrounded by people, words, and imagery that all sent me the same message, “life is about making oneself happy”. I tried that; focusing on me, myself, my family, my friends, etc. I did the things I enjoyed and did the things my family and close ones enjoyed that brought me great pleasure. The problem? It wasn’t enough.

    I felt like something was missing. I had a severe yearning to feel connected to the world at large in a much deeper way than anyone had ever taught or encouraged me to be. So, I started researching and looking for people that had what I wanted: a satisfyingly peaceful, purposeful, and joyous life. People like you Jonathan (I am a HUGE fan of ‘The Good Life Project’ on YouTube), Simon Sinek, spiritual leaders and teachers (like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vanzant, Michael Singer, and a host of others). And then I figured out what was missing: FULFILLMENT.

    Very different from happiness. While happiness has to do with serving oneself, fulfillment has to do with serving OTHERS. I like to think that there are two empty buckets we are born with in our souls, each named ‘happiness’ and ‘fulfillment’. As we go through life, the more we serve ourselves, the more we fill up the happiness bucket. The more we serve others, the more we fill up the fulfillment bucket. The problem is most people have become so focused on filling up the happiness bucket that the fulfillment bucket is near-empty and there is an imbalance in our souls…which results in an imbalance in our lives. We feel unfulfilled yet we think what we need to do is find more ways to be happy.

    It won’t work. We’re designed to connect…with ourselves, the world, and people. We’re designed to care about ourselves AND others. This life is not just about ‘me’ or ‘you’…it’s about US. If we try to have it any other way, there’ll always be “something missing”.

    • Excellent comment about happiness vs fufillment, Adaeze. Also it seems we might include family as “others” in the sense that serving or caring for a family member can be as valuable and fulfilling as any other giving of one’s self. We are ALL part of the larger community of beings, whether “related” or not. And that includes our own self as well..

      • Adaeze Diana says:

        Thank you Diana! I’m interested in your perspective of “others” including family and loved ones. I had figured that since I considered them ‘mine’ anything done for them was essentially done for ‘me’ and I couldn’t objectively count that as fulfillment. I see the validity in your way of looking at it and I’ll definitely reflect on it further.

  2. Mary says:

    I struggle with this a lot. I love to serve others, but often I find that at some point I want more out of it than helping them…payment, love, appreciation. Trying to find a way to help with a pure heart.

  3. Ragnar says:

    I went through a long period of a sort of identity crisis where I just couldn’t locate what I had to give. What I could do for others, for the community for the whole world. I felt like a chronic underachiever that was destined for despair and misery. Through embracing my few and humble strengths, I embraced my love of learning, and I’ve started to become more like someone that has something to contribute. Something of value to someone.

    I started blogging in the hope that someone in my position would see it and realize that they weren’t alone, and I ended up realizing that I wasn’t alone at all. That my worries were quite common.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve been part of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage since 2000, and have met the Sakyong, seen him speak on numerous occasions, and received blessings from him. I’ve been astonished and humbled by his deep commitment and growth as a leader, and become more and more “impressed” by him each year. I put impressed in quotes because it’s not quite the right word.

    I also took vows many years ago that set the lifelong intention of benefitting others, and working to reduce suffering. Yet, when it comes to business, and particularly within our culture, this can so easily slip from our awareness.

    My inbox is filled every day with emails telling me how *I* can win in life, how *I* can succeed. Bookstore shelves are lined with self-help books on how *I* can be happy, and even Buddhism is put forth as a means to an end – *my* happiness.

    Trying to hold onto the intention of helping others in this culture can be as tricky as trying to hold onto a bar slathered in grease. This is why we need reminders.

    I have no specific examples, but there is no doubt for me that I do my best work when I am focused on helping. Everything is easier, and my clients immediately feel at ease trusting me because it’s obvious I’m in it because I care about helping them realize their passions. The area where I find it hardest, or rather that it doesn’t flow as naturally, is in self-promotion. I’m never satisfied with my LinkedIn profile or my website, and this post just turned on a light bulb as to why that probably is.

  5. Marcia says:

    The interesting partnership in this dance is the curious piece about taking CARE of me and how that directly relates to ‘being’ – to be totally THERE i.e. present in the moment capable to give. The aspects of this care range from a healthy body to a focused mind. Only when these pieces are in sync am I offering to boogie on down with others happily, meaningfully, in such a way that produces a lasting ripple effect.

  6. I see much of this as part of simply taking responsibility for what you do, and having clear expectations. My mom was telling me the other day how it dismayed her when people she had helped had turned around and done harm to her in return. We talked about the fact that, even though it was mean of them, she had helped them simply from the desire to help them, and that she must separate that from her own expectation of receiving something in return (or not receiving harm in return). It was also simply a lesson for the future: if you give, give with ABSOLUTELY no expectation of anything in return, or don’t give at all.

    It’s also something that can completely change the way you work. Every time I work with a client, I go through a mind-cleansing routine beforehand to take my mind off of what I want and be completely open and dedicated to them, so the focus is all on giving. I find that not only the most fulfilling, but also the most happiness-inducing.

    True happiness can be found that feeling of surrender, compassion, and love where there are no expectations to be found.

  7. I know my Mom had good intentions when she tried to teach me to cook but, since she’s been the recipient of dishes where I confused red pepper for paprika, I think she does in fact have regrets! (Just a little humor, here).

    This is my first newsletter from you and I’m so happy I signed up. I like that Simon takes a moment to pause and remind himself of his goal. It’s a tip that I’ll try to use.

    Also, I love the comments. I never noticed just how many “I” messages we receive. Thankfully, I suspect you can accomplish “I” if what makes you happy is trying your best to help others.

    Anyway, thank you and I look forward to more from you and your “tribe”.

  8. Paz says:

    A couple of months ago, I decided to start writing to prisoners on death row, after seeing a film that touched me (Too Young To Die?). The whole thing feels a bit weird to be honest, because I don’t know how I will handle the execution of those I may end up getting close to (we are all human afterall).

    The first one I chose was because his execution date was the closest, I figured he might appreciate a friendly ear more than the others right now.

    I have only just sent my first letter so I am not sure how it will be received yet, but I hope it will help – them, not me. I’ll deal with my feelings as and when they arise.

    So, yes I completely get what that chap was saying. The action I am taking has nothing to do with me and how it’s going to make me feel – trust me, there’s nothing to feel good about writing to people who are being put to death – and everything to do with reaching out where it may be needed.

    I do believe taking actions here and there that are for the good of others is the way forward to truly make a difference in this world. Whether that will also bring me fulfillment I don’t know yet. My main purpose isn’t to be fulfilled, it is to lend a hand where it is needed, fulfillment might be an added bonus 🙂

  9. Valter Viglietti says:

    > “It is said that if our intention is to help others… we will never have any regret.”

    Maybe, but we also have to remember that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
    I’m sure we all know mothers who are/were full of good intentions (the archetypical Jewish mother comes to mind), and yet the outcome… :-/

    Besides, I believe that, most of the times, we can’t just let go of our needs and desires. Humans don’t work like that.

    I think the best approach is considering BOTH our wellbeing and others’ wellbeing.
    It’s more complex, sure, but I see it as more honest and effective than “pie in the sky” ideals (unless you happen to be a lama… but I’m not ;-).

  10. Basic truths…
    Happiness doesn’t depend on outer circumstances.
    We have to love ourselves first.
    From that fullness we’ll get our most fulfilling results from acting generously to others.

    If we calculate how much to give or hold back while we wait for approval, we cripple our ability to contribute to the world.

    When we give with a generous heart, we go beyond fear and neediness. We raise ourselves and those we contribute to to a higher level of giving and receiving.

  11. Perhaps this is a semantic issue, but the idea that there is an “other” is an assumption, and for me, a false one . The greatest spiritual hearts I know do not see others as separate from themselves. They emphasize the literal and actual connectedness of us all, both in body and spirit. This tenet is the basis of the Golden Rule. Some say that believing ourselves separate is the root of unhappiness, violence, and more. So, maybe it is more the awareness of the already ever present unity that is needed rather than a shift from me vs another because if there is no other there is only I AM.

    • Jurga says:

      On an absolute level you’re right, but the discussion takes place on a relative level since on the absolute level this world is a mere illusion and nothing more 🙂
      Anyway, speaking as we see the world today the motivation of helping others is the greatest one to bring the best results. And yet I agree with the post saying that one should not calculate, what is to be given and what is to be withheld to oneself. Give with a generous heart. I would add – just do the best you can in the current circumstances and remember about cause and effect principle. Check if your motivation is pure and your actions will not harm others. The rest should happen by itself. And love yourself as well – sharing stems from inner abundance (outer abundance may of course make things much easier :). Since our minds are not clear enough to see, what is really beneficial for others and what is merely our own projection of their benefit (which might as well be absolutely incorrect), having a pure view and positive motivation is probably the only option we have if we intend to be the ones making a difference..
      As for living up to those principles in a business world I personally find it very difficult to employ them if you’re an employee and not the owner. Most businesses in my home market are ‘profit only’ oriented and still far away even from the principles of simple social responsibility. Thus I have currently taken a break to be in the most ‘giving’ of all the jobs – being a mother for my fourth child – and later have a vision for creating a small family business of our own, where every person from the service provider/employee to the client can feel he/she matters and is cared for.

  12. John James O'Brien says:

    Happiness is a balancing act, methinks. Like Diana Adaeze (above), I have shifted my consciousness toward fulfillment from “happy”, all the wile recognizing that I am still that self-interested human seeking happiness, but that happiness through fulfillment is meaningful and is happiness in a way that the promise of things, or differentiation from others, etc. can never be.

    Like Mary, I wrestled with “what is this…really” and came through feeling that there is nothing at all wrong with wanting to be happy. Should we want to be sad? Rather, it is about how we invest ourselves in finding that happiness. If I cook you a greal mea, of course I hope you will appreciate it. But the pleasure I gain is actually in the effort and sharing that is integral to the experience, not in you kind thanks for the meal.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about terminology and meaning in language. It seems easy to miss deeper meaning when we use common terms that convey a popular, simplistic meaning. Reflection on deeper meaning is satisfying, thought provoking. An example is the word “trustworthy”. The word “fulfilling” demands such reflection and search for meaning.

    Happy is simply too easily misunderstood as something less than it could be.

    • Adaeze Diana says:

      I agree with you John. A lot of times we miss the mark on the deeper meaning of words and become too comfortable with the oversimplified secular definitions. ‘Happy’ has definitely been a victim of that.

  13. As a Shambhalian myself, I’m used to the Sakyong dropping zen bombs & this is a tricky one for me. I’ve actually had the complete opposite experience where I have had deep regret of not giving to myself. I worked as a counselor for several years & sincerely loved my clients. I gave & gave & gave until I was completely burnt out. My own personal & creative life was barren. I thought, how did this happen? All along I thought I was living this good life giving to the community doing great work. But then I learned something.

    Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should be doing it. And for me, being the counselor or teacher were tasks that were acts of giving, and I was good at it I think because I genuinely cared about people. But I wasn’t taking care of myself. So I had to explore that, and ultimately I found all of the giving was a way that I kind of numbed myself from the fears I had around living the creative life that I’ve always wanted to live as a writer & filmmaker. Somewhere in my head I learned that only giving to others deemed a worthy life pursuit. Of course, now I realize I can do that through creativity.

    So, no, I don’t regret making “me” happy. A happy me produces a rich life & meaningful creative work!

    Thanks Jonathan for offering us these tidbits of soul exploration & the new mini jam sessions!

    • Some very insightful comments to a profound blog post. I particularly liked Adaeze and Asata’s responses. Put them together, and we get a reminder to strive for a healthy dose of balance in our lives. Spend some time focusing on yourself, spend some time focused on others. Do your best to keep the scales balanced. Extreme lifestyles never seem to fare well anyway. 🙂

  14. I like the simplicity of the original saying. We all seem to try to hard. The only goal is to see a need and help. Nothing more, nothing less. Happiness is a choice; a place to put our heart in the giving process. Today in a store I saw a woman buying about 20 loaves of bread. I asked what she was doing with them and she said feeding the poor. I helped pay for her purchase and gave her some leftovers from things I was buying. It felt good. I did not need to know the particulars. I just accepted the opportunity as it was presented. And then I let it be.

  15. I find the most effective thing I can do when presenting is to enjoy myself. Reminding myself to enjoy the process allows me to open up more, be more genuine and create a sense of inclusion.

    It’s not always easy. As a singer and keynote speaker I am used to the stage but extremely critical of my own performances. On one occasion I was complaining to a friend between sets that people weren’t dancing. She looked at me and said, “You haven’t smiled once. Why do you expect them to have fun?”. I was blown away.

    For the rest of the concert I smiled as I sang. Within ten minutes people were crowding the stage and dancing and I had a great time too. Loving what you do as you do it serves other’s as well.

  16. I listened to your interview with Simon Sinek and have adopted his, “I’m here to serve” attitude about speaking, presenting and leading. I have to say it has RADICALLY changed my life. Even if I only impact one person, I consider it a job well done. Afterall, speaking/presenting/leading are never about me – it’s about my audience. And that feels so, so good.

  17. Dave Kramer says:

    This is spot on. Reminds me of the work of Adam Grant and his book, Give and Take, featured here: http://www.inc.com/ss/jeff-haden/best-2013-books-entrepreneurs

  18. Megan says:

    “Martyrs are selfish because they’re helping others to make themselves feel good”. I remember hearing that when I was a kid. It floored me. Thoughts?

    • Adaeze Diana says:

      I believe all people are self-ish to a degree. I don’t believe in completely selfless acts (except from God). However, it seems that whoever made that statement might have come from a place of animosity. I’m not.

      When we do things for the sake of our enjoyment or need, it is because of the good feeling we know we’ll get from it. When we do things for the sake of other people’s enjoyment or need, we are responding to our strong desire to help because subconsciously we know there will be a good feeling for us afterwards (fulfillment), that only comes from uplifting another person. It’s not ‘bad’. It’s what I like to call, ‘serviceable self-ishness.’

      It’s an exchange of personal service (through time, money, resources, opportunities, advice, etc) for spiritual joy.

      If we honestly got nothing out of helping someone else, we would not be as inclined to do it. Simple and short. I want more people to be invested in the good of others so I want more people to always feel fulfilled and worthy when they help someone so that they will have the continual desire to help more people.

  19. Jonathan you used my one word for 2014 – purity. Funny how I knew it was going to pop up from reading your email. It is as we are drawn to our own internal dialogue.

    Being guided by asking about my level of purity in all situations this year has brought about an interesting level of enlightenment for me.

    Being able to see myself in others makes this journey a fascinating one.

    Love the new look on your blog.

  20. Chiara Wood says:

    My take and belief? Holding the Intention to Help Others is doable. Does it always occur? Not always. Could there be regret? In my experience, yes. Why? I was not “asked” nor was my help desired for the help I gave. Nuff said. I think the purely Doable thing is standing before an audience or anyone and telling myself: “I’m here to give” and then releasing expectation. I am now vowing to do that. Right now. I am going to do that as I stand before my work, my projects(s) my loved ones. I am going to do that from now on. Blessings on All.

  21. Carmen says:

    To be a better person would be to value these same words coming from a homeless “nobody” as well as The Sakyong. The words are just as meaningful, but your judgment of who says it is what’s wrong with society today.

  22. Jennifer says:

    I always appreciate being reminded to take the focus off of me–it’s a place the spirit needs to be.

  23. David says:

    Here is a passage you may want to consider from the book ‘Education’ by E.G. White.

    “All things both in heaven and on earth declare that the great law of life is a law of service. The infinite Father ministers to the life of every living thing. Christ came to the earth “as He that serveth.” Luke 22:27. The angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1:14. The same law of service is written upon all things in nature. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the trees of the forest, the leaves, the grass, and the flowers, the sun in the heavens and the stars of light – all have their ministry. Lake and ocean, river and water spring – each takes to give.”

  24. melissa says:

    Help. Give. Contribute. “Help” to me has always felt weird, so I decided to look up the real definition of “help” and here’s what I found on dictionary.com:
    1. to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; cooperate effectively with; aid; assist:
    2.to save; rescue; succor:
    3.to make easier or less difficult; contribute to; facilitate:
    4.to be useful or profitable to:

    My relationship with “help” has always been in the camp of #2 and I think that’s where I get scratchy about it. But, when I think about it as “contributing” or “giving” or even “in service”, this seems to make more sense to me in the context of living my everyday life. Each and every morning I wake up with the intention to contribute to the world in a way that leaves it a more beautiful place, and this of course comes in many different forms, some as simple as lighting a candle or flashing smile to an unexpecting passerby to lending an ear to a friend in need.

    Can you imagine what would happen if we all entered the day with this intention with the purest of hearts and even if we did one simple easy thing that made this world more beautiful, touched another’s life in even the most wistful way.

    But I have to say it’s not just all about the giving, we also need to learn how to receive, which is a whole other story.

  25. This is giving unconditionally. I love the intent behind it – it’s key to the whole experience. I’ve always believed that if I encounter a homeless person on the street, no matter the appearance (drugs, alcohol, etc.) – if I choose to give him or her money, I need to bless and release the outcome. If I give with negative thoughts of how that person might use the money, I will no doubt have regrets.
    If my intention is to purely be generous, or to send a message of “you are not alone”, or that we are all connected…no regrets.
    I love this. Thanks Jonathan for sharing. I’ve been thinking about it all day.

    • I love that you feel that way, Linda. I completely agree. I had a friend who gave money to a homeless lady and said “now don’t spend it on drugs”. I was thrown by that and told him so (I blurt sometimes!). Thankfully he agreed.

  26. Clarity says:

    I’m restating the tweet, in essence: Help someone…and you will have no regrets. Regret is due to focusing on self.

    Let’s look at the first half – simplified more: Make ‘whatever’ easier for Person A [Help]; and you will never Regret [feel bad for action or inaction].

    My thoughts: Many…many people have helped others and then regretted it: Fact. If you can’t think of a personal example…think broader, think…Welfare. However, when this happens…do we ask – Why?! Was the help not wanted? Was the help not in alignment with the receiver’s real need? Did the “gift” of help today cause some burden [unintended result] for the recipient tomorrow? I have learned that helping someone is not ALWAYS as easy, nor as rewarding, as intended. The challenge: Don’t let that be an excuse for NOT helping.

    Let’s look at the second part – also more simplified: I will feel bad [regret] when I focus on me.

    My thoughts: I find it interesting that a negative concept – Regret – has been used to – is it “shame?” – people away from the concept of focus on self. I find it my responsibility to focus on me, and take care of me. If I do that, you won’t need to take care of me. If you do the same, I won’t need to take care of you. [Think what change global, individual responsibility would bring?] Is that selfish? No, insofar as by doing so it doesn’t exclude me from respecting you…and even potentially helping you – if needed. And, as one last point, if I don’t take care of me first…I can’t help you. [Oxygen mask, anyone?]

    So… after chewing on the possible intention of the original tweet, I’ve come to consider it a call to positive action…A call to help those with a need greater than my own. I’ve also realized I feel saddened at the thought that a spiritual leader feels people still need to be shamed into action…as if we still need “fixing” instead of just a permission slip to let our best selves free in the world to be good – and do good.

  27. Hannah says:

    To me, the meaning of this falls into focus when I think about a situation I could potentially regret (because it’s less than completely flattering to my self-image or public image) but place my attention on my goodwill towards others. Then what I feel is gladness and celebration about the ways that situation helped others – whether I looked good or not doesn’t matter.

  28. Marijke says:

    Stimulating people to think about others more than themselves is a great goal, but I’m not sure if I agree with the statement that you will never regret an action when it was intended to help others.
    I find that even when I try to do something for others, my actions don’t always have the intended effect (e.g., giving someone advice that doesn’t help or even works out badly for them) and that can leave me feeling really bad afterwards. Perhaps regret is not the right word here, maybe it’s more like guilt about not being able to help them more effectively, but it can still leave me doubting my own actions and going over them again and again to see where I’ve failed. Perhaps even more than when I have “only” failed to serve myself.

    • Wayne says:

      I can relate to your feeling that things might have turned out differently if you had been more effective at helping someone.
      I have recently been in situations where I had good intentions but my lack of skill led to an outcome that was less than desirable. Unfortunately, I only have my intentions to examine in one of the situations; upon reflection I found that my actions did not match up with my intention; that is what I regret and what I will take responsibility for.

  29. There is nothing more or less “selfish” than serving others. It’s incredibly gratifying, even when there’s no “credit” to be given, and yet, ultimately the intention isn’t on one’s self. It’s ultimately about doing your best to improve someone else’s situation. And whether or not we see the result WE want, we always get the gratification because our intended gets the result they need.

  30. Liza says:

    Timely writing…which often happens with you and I! Kizmit : )

    “It is said that if our intention is to help others… we will never have any regret.”

    The more I “get” this, the happier I feel inside! It’s a win-win!

    Thank You for sharing…

  31. Lisa Shelley says:

    I love this post – really makes you think, and I really love all of the discussion in the comments. Many have described perfectly what I call a “yes, and” opportunity – the need to embrace an apparent duality. We all have a natural inclination to take care of our own needs, happiness being one of them. However, we also have a strong inclination toward finding meaning – living a life of purpose, service and connection. The problem arises when we allow ourselves to see those needs as opposing each other, rather than as coexisting or even collaborating needs.

    Our culture of “stuff=happiness” has sent many on a path which they found ultimately to be lacking due to the imbalance in their need for meaning. At the same time, the idea that meaning comes only from complete self-sacrifice, has left many feeling resentful and ultimately disappointed in their apparent inability to find happiness through a fully altruistic life. As is so often the case, the answer lies in the balance of these seemingly opposing ideas.

    Relative to the specific tweet, for me I see this as a reminder that when engaging with others, an over-focus on your own self-interest can only limit possibility, thus leading to regret. When we focus on how we can help or serve another, it forces us to stay open, allowing us to hear them and connect with their situation – therefore allowing our perspective to grow. It is in this place of enhanced awareness that we can find the opportunity that serves us both.

  32. Wayne says:

    I am part owner of a small, independent grocery store. My intention in getting into the business is to bring healthy food to and under-served area. My business partner and I try to bring in and retain customers by offering them some control over what we bring in. Though I believe my intentions are good I regret that much of our profit comes from selling, repeatedly to the same people, lots of beer and soda. Many of those customers are regulars who, no doubt, come in again and again because of our welcoming attitude, they almost never come in for food. It seems to me that intention and regret in my case are at odds with each other.

    • Gina says:

      Hi Wayne,
      I used to work at a gas station on the graveyard shift every weekend. Taxi drivers would fill up at 4:00 am to hand over their cars to the next driver. These are hard working family men. ( I didn’t have any women drivers). They would come by sometimes beaten up and wounded by clients, or asking to use the hose to hose out vomit from their cars, or agitated by the long night, or plain tired. After a few months of working there, I started baking cookies and cakes for the drivers as a token of appreciation for working so hard to feed and clothe their families. At first they were taken aback and wondered what I wanted. Eventually they willingly accepted the treats and smiles at 4:00 am. This took time. Some started asking me for the recipes. The word got out in the taxi network, and more taxis arrived every night. Smiles were received and given. My boss didn’t understand what I was doing or why? A good feeling was shared, only that. After 18 months I left the job. That was 5 years ago. Every once and a while I’ll see a familiar face in a taxi driving by and the biggest smile comes over their faces, or in a coffee shop, “How are you? Thanks again. We miss you.” Wayne, maybe you can offer some home-made delectables made in your shop for tasters, maybe it will lead to conversations about food, maybe they will start asking for recipes, maybe they will by more food. Maybe they won’t, but for sure you will have shared genuine love.

  33. Gretl Dixon says:

    I think in our day and age it is hard to just purely help others. There have been many times when I know my intentions have been in the right place but get thrown back in my face. I have run into many who don’t appreciate it when someone does something for them. They don’t want to be receivers which makes it hard to be a giver.

    I have learned to give and to be satisfied. Once I give it I can’t take it back so it is up to other individual to do with it what they want.

  34. Scott says:

    This actually makes a lot of sense. Take for example your talents. They’re really not for you, they’re “yours” to benefit others. I think people only looking out for themselves eventually get “caught.” That’s why a lot of the times those who are trying to help others, the money takes care of itself because that wasn’t the main focus in the first place.

  35. This article really resonated for me. I’ve been holding it and mulling it over as I wrote my own article on intentional–my word for 2014. Article will be live tomorrow on my blog! Thank you for the insight and inspiration.