Good intentions, bad outcomes – good intentions alone no longer work

I am interested in a person’s core intention for taking an action. What is their why? Their deep bones why?

For even if someone does something for the ‘good’ intention, many times the outcome has a ‘bad’ effect. Often the ‘bad’ effect hurts the very people we are hoping to support.

You might try to buy local and organic, but the farmer who simply cannot get the 100% certified organic pass because he lives beside a farm that is not organic then suffers.

To blame someone for taking an action with ‘good’ intention for the ‘bad’ effect that action has created is perhaps the wrong response. Perhaps we would be wiser to ask a better set of questions? After all, their action, just like our ‘good’ intended actions, were ultimately taken in ignorance and possibly thoughtlessness. We have all done this at some time.

Part of the requirement to grow up as humanity is to be mindful that we do now live in a world were everyone is affected in some way by every action. The people of Tuvalu through zero fault of their own are paying for the West’s ‘good’ intentions to keep people in energy and jobs and the lovely lifestyles that we have become accustomed to.

We simply cannot afford to make decisions in isolation of the rest of the world. We must practice, as a foundational practice, considering the whole FIRST.

This last weekend just up the road from me the leaders of the world gathered for the G20  Brisbane Summit. Biggest event of world leaders in Australia’s history.

Our Prime Minister, Mr. Abbot, a ‘good’ man, truly believes that his job is to support growth and therefore get people into employment, and that to focus on climate change as perhaps the way to do this is wrong. That we must stay on fossil fuels, particularly coal, for at least another 20-30 years.

Many might agree with him. Coal is one of Australia’s largest industries, so I can well understand how many might see the impossibility of being able to get off coal quickly without a massive number of people suffering from job losses and other co-lateral damage.

I am reminded of President Kennedy’s speech delivered at Rice University September 12th 1962…”We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

And on July 20th, 1969, a mere 7 years later, that goal was achieved. When you think about it, in an age prior to the full use of computers, it was a stunning achievement.

I am attempting to make two points. Most people I know do things with good intentions. The CEO burning rubber to make the biggest profit possible is doing what he thinks is right. Indeed what he has been charged to do. Shareholders, the you and me’s of the world, love it as our retirement package grows fat.

Trouble is, good intentions is not enough any more. We have to have our heart centred in the right intention, and our body mind clearly seeing the biggest picture possible, both short and long term.

This requires training in systems thinking, vigilance, curiosity, asking really great questions, and deeply caring about the whole. It will also require a new set of support systems that level the playing field and make it easier for us to choose a more whole path. (Such as the Law of Ecocide)

It is not easy. But it will ask the best of us. And in asking us to rise to that, humanity might approach a moment of greatness that will be steeped in good intentions and have a really wonderful outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Business for all human thriving

13119

Relevant. Provocative. At the frontier of human enterprise for a better world. Join us.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*