Block 9, Intentness - Bottom of the Ninth #122


Bottom of the 9th - Intentness

Intentness - Block 9, John Wooden's Pyramid of Success by Keith Wahl

The final block in the second row of Pyramid of Success is Intentness. Wooden says the following about Intentness - a basketball coach who throws in a little baseball humor:

"Without intentness we can't possibly become all we can be. However, assuming our ability warrants it, we can approach the pinnacle of our profession, position or title if we have the resolve to plow through whatever life throws at us - even if it is a curve."

Have you ever browsed a Twitter news feed? An endless stream of random thoughts, retweets, and shallow focus. Coach Wooden would call these Tweets, "rabbit trails of distraction." In a world of impatience and immediate gratification, modern media is designed to send your brain down as many short, shallow "rabbit trails" as possible. This presents a challenge for us as it attacks the spirit's desire to develop Intentness.Viktor Frankel, a man who developed Intentness in the most extreme of circumstances - a Nazi concentration camp - gave the following advice about happiness. His words speak to the essence of Intentness:

"Again and again I therefore admonish my students in Europe and America: Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run - in the long-run, I say! - success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it."

The fact of the matter is that the better the reward, the more time it takes to acquire it. Short-term distractions like personal happiness and success feed the ego and satisfies the soul as much as a cookie satisfies one's nutritional needs. I once told one of the parents in our baseball program that we built a program like a weed at our first school. Our desire was to build an oak tree where we are now. Building something that is God honoring, and is built to stand with eternal significance takes more time to acquire. Being Intent on one's purpose will bring happiness and success, but only when we choose to release them. Christ spoke of this difficult truth in Matthew 16:25:

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV)

May we spend time finding ways to loosen our grip on life so that we may find it.

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