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Pure intent can persuade others to follow you

Having a pure and heartfelt intent and being able to communicate it can make all the difference in whether you get to your goal or have to quit before the finish line.


Whether conscious or not, every action we take springs from intent.

And intent goes two ways.

There is the intent of the person initiating the exchange or action, and the intent of the person receiving.

This is true even when people are speaking across cultural lines.

The principle of Intent in The Bridging PrinciplesTM teaches us that to build effective relationships we must first know our own intent, and secondly, we must embrace it. Then we must discern the intent of others.

Consider the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright, two brothers who had a passion to build a flying machine. In 1899, Wilbur sent a letter to the Smithsonian Institution, asking for any papers they had on the subject of flight. He also wanted a list of recommended books for reading about this subject.

In the letter, he shared his intent that his observations to date had convinced him firmly that human flight is possible.

The Wright Brothers funded their flight experiments with the profits of their modest bicycle shop. Neither of them had any additional money, any influential backers, or a college education.

They convinced a team of people to work with them. None of the team members were rich or famous and none of them had a college education either. They all worked in obscurity.

Dr. Tom D. Crouch and Dr. Peter L Jakab, Smithsonian curators and co-authors of the book The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age, pose the perplexing question about these sibling aviators:

“How did these quintessential middle Americans, working essentially alone, with little formal scientific or technical training, solve a complex and demanding problem that had defied better known experimenters for centuries?”

They suggest that the brothers saw the airplane as a scientific system that had to be solved.

But Simon Sinek, in his TED talk “How great leaders inspire action” has another explanation.

In contrasting the humble work environment of the Wright Brothers was Samuel Pierpont Langley, who was also striving to be the first man to fly. He was everything they were not: a gifted academic (both an astronomer and a physicist), well connected (he was the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute), and he had both money and impressive connections to people in positions of power.

But his intent was different. He wanted to fly so he would be richer and more famous. The Wright Brothers wanted to fly because they believed it would change the world for everybody.

The followers of the Wright Brothers stayed with them because they shared that intent

The story illustrates that while accumulating riches is a reasonable goal for a business person, looking for the means to add value to the world as a result of your work is a purer intent that is more apt to inspire others.

Having a pure, heartfelt intent and being able to communicate it can make all the difference in achieving your goal or having to quit. You intent needs to be clear and visible and communicated to whoever you are speaking with.

Specifically, a good intent allows you to achieve five things:

  1. To articulate the connection between your intent and your actions to yourself and others.
  2. To assess the value of a potential partnership or opportunity to achieve your goal.
  3. To provide the groundwork for successful partnerships based upon clean communication.
  4. To prevent mismatched business partnerships.
  5. To produce powerful, effective relationships, such as business partnerships and client relationships.


The most successful intentions spring from a place of personal honesty and integrity.

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